Stop being embarrassed about online dating.
I recently asked my good friend and his new girlfriend how they met, at which point they both abashedly looked down at the floor. My friend kicked his foot against the ground, adjusted his uneasy stance, and apologetically uttered “Match.com” under his breath. Then they both returned their avoidant eye contact back to me, perhaps waiting for a fit of mocking laughter.
But, I’m a nice guy, so I waited until later.
According to a brand new report, one in three marriages between 2005 and 2012 began online. This may not surprise you, as the Internet is bursting at the seams with websites dedicated to matchmaking—Wikipedia even has an entry comparing some of the most popular. I personally think tastebuds.fm as well as AnastasiaDate.com sound intriguing, but I’m already spoken for (as if there aren’t sites for the unfaithful).
Even though a ton of couples are meeting online today, there’s no doubt that social stigma still surrounds the notion. Like my friends, many seem hesitant to divulge the secret of their online affiliation. Perhaps not for long though…
Couples who met online might be fairing better than those who met the old-fashioned way, at least according to this newly published study. Researchers found that of over 19,000 people who responded to their survey, those who met their spouse online reported higher levels of marital satisfaction and fewer tickets to Splitsville.
Of these couples, about half met on sites dedicated to the very purpose of fostering relationships (e.g., eHarmony, J-Date, etc.), however a large number actually met elsewhere. For example, about 3.5% met on multi-player gaming sites, and about 2% in virtual worlds like Second Life (see the figure from the article, below, for more of the breakdown). Among the traditional in-person rendezvous, the study also found that marital satisfaction was lower for people who met at places like bars compared to school or religious functions.
Breakdown of Internet hook-up spots. (Source: Cacioppo et al., 2013)
Meanwhile, a recent news article described what I can only imagine is a very happy couple in California, both enthralled with the online role-playing game World of Warcraft, while their children suffered from serious neglect. Perhaps future research should investigate the happiness levels of the offspring of such couples.
Without further digression… the moral of the story? More and more people are meeting online and it seems to be a positive alternative to cheesy pick up lines delivered after two pints of liquid courage. Stop being embarrassed, and own your online persona with the picture from 3 years ago. Because 10 years from now, the majority of couples may meet on the Internet, in which case you’ll be considered a trendsetter.