Online dating has come a
long, long way: Up until recently, signing up for Match.com was considered the
last-ditch resort for the rejects of the romantic world. Yet a new study
argues quite the opposite may be true today.
A study published in the
journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimated than 35 percent of married couples now meet online. Of those,
45 percent met on dating sites, the rest met via online social networks, chat
rooms, or other virtual venues.
But here’s what really surprised us:
The study also found that relationships sparked
online were slightly happier and less likely to split up than couples who met
the “traditional” way—at parties, at work, or other face-to-face social
functions. What’s up with that? The study’s lead author, John
Cacioppo, a psychologist and director of the Center for Cognitive and Social
Neuroscience at the University of Chicago, theorizes that dating sites may “attract
people who are serious about getting married.” So, as a result, they’re more
grateful once they get hitched.
Still, we’re skeptical, only because the study was commissioned
by online dating site eHarmony, which paid Harris Interactive $130,000 to spin
the numbers. What’s more, Cacioppo is a member of eHarmony’s Scientific
Advisory Board. Nonetheless, we think this research is well worth pondering if
you’ve pooh-poohed Internet dating in the past, for yourself or others. Many couples
are still embarrassed to admit that they met online. We say go ahead and take
heart in the fact that your relationship may be stronger as a result.