Is Your Marriage Stronger If It Started Online?

Alexey Ivanov/Getty Images

Alexey Ivanov/Getty Images

You have a slightly better chance of staying together if you meet online: That’s the finding of a recent collaboration between a dating website and a respected University of Chicago psychologist, and to me it’s Big News.

Why?

Because it’s a promising first span across online dating’s credibility gap. Or should I say credibility canyon? Plenty of people meet online – in fact, the study suggests one in three married couples now meet online – but until now they’ve tended to keep that venue in the closet. “How’d the two of us get together? Oh, well, uh, to be perfectly honest with you [lowers voice to a hissing whisper], we met online.”

Our reluctance to admit we met in cyberspace has stemmed from the stigma – antiquated, if you ask me! – surrounding introductions not made by Aunt Betsy at the church social.

But now, thanks to Professor John Cacioppo and eHarmony.com, you can brag that you did the smart thing: “I upped my chances for marital longevity by going online!”

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Unconvinced? Though the difference is small – “Marriage breakups were reported in about 6 percent of the people who met online, compared with 7.6 percent of the people who met offline,” writes William Harms of futurity.org – it makes triple sense because online daters:

  1. are motivated to “get it right” this time around;
  2. enjoy a wealth of very specific data about their dating options; and
  3. may proceed more cautiously as they get to know a stranger.

 

Overall, then, a very heartening study! I believe in online dating because, as an industry consultant, I’ve seen how several sites work from the inside out.

Oh yes – and I just got engaged to a guy I met online! (I blogged about it, too.) In fact, let me go text him right now with this good news about our higher chances for a long and happy marriage!

Dr. Schwartz answers questions every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Submit your question here. Read more of her columns here. And be sure to follow Pepper on Twitter @pepperschwartz.