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.
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!"
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:
- are motivated to "get it right" this time around;
- enjoy a wealth of very specific data about their dating options; and
- 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.