back to article Longer, stronger love starts online, finds 19,000-marriage study

A study that asked 19,000 couples how they met and how long satisfied they are with married life has found that those whose first encounters take place online have stronger relationships. Marital satisfaction and break-ups differ across on-line and off-line meeting venues (PDF) , appearing this week in the Proceedings of the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    78% of them find out later that their partner lied on their profile page, 58% used someone else's photograph.

    And so they have more divorces, is there a correlation?

    1. Nuke
      Thumb Down

      @AC 4th June, 07:03

      Wrote :- "78% of them find out later that their partner lied on their profile page, 58% used someone else's photograph .... And so they have more divorces"

      You seem to be referring to people who meet online (but TFA says they have *fewer* divorces).

      It is no big deal if they use somone elses picture, because when you meet them in meatspace (meetspace?), which presumably you plan to do before you actually marry them, it is going to be obvious. If they are really that bad, you walk away. It only matters if you are going to waste months or years chatting on-line first, but I generally progressed to meetspace within 2 weeks of first contact, and always kept within a 30 mile range.

      And their partner LIED on their profile??!! Well blow me down. I'm sure that no-one you meet in a club would EVER do that.

  2. jake Silver badge

    I've been using "the internet" (whatever that is) ...

    ... for over a third of a century.

    One thing I've learned in all that time is that nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, takes the place of real-life human-human contact when it comes to relationships.

    1. Roguetech

      Re: I've been using "the internet" (whatever that is) ...

      Oh, I assumed they got married in "real-life" and just met online.

    2. lozhurst

      Re: I've been using "the internet" (whatever that is) ...

      Absolutely nothing can replace real-life human contact when it comes to relationships but online dating allows one to perform a certain amount of "vetting" before decided whether or not one wishes to meet the other person and also means that physical attraction, although undeniably important for a sexual relationship, is no longer the key deciding factor on whether or not to engage in a real-life meeting with another person versus, for example, spotting someone you like the look of across a bar.

      Disclaimer: Although I do not work for nor am I affiliated with any online dating site, I am currently in a relationship with a wonderful lady I met online.

    3. Nuke
      Thumb Down

      @Jake - Re: I've been using "the internet" (whatever that is) ...

      Jake wrote - "nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, takes the place of real-life human-human contact when it comes to relationships"

      This is an example of the silly ideas that people get about dating clubs and online dating. You do not seem to get it Jake, that an online dating club is only a way to facilitate the physical meeting that you are so keen about. People (with some nutty exceptions) do not generally meet and get married over the internet without ever meeting physically.

      The online part is not only a way of getting to meet people physically, it can also be a filter such as to eliminate single mothers, horse riding fanatics, or born-again Christians (if those aren't your thing). Yes, people can lie or not reveal things on line (as they can in a bar), but is is better than nothing, and if the girl I meet starts telling me I need salvation from Hell, I can always make the date brief and leave it at that.

      Personally, I only EVER met girls this way (but lots), so I do not even know what the supposed "real life" way of meeting is.

  3. DPR

    You can't beat the real thing

    On line sex is OK but face to face is better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can't beat the real thing

      ... or : face to back-of-head ;)

  4. Roguetech

    No links for eHarmony and Yahoo!, but a link for PoF?

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      We want to protect Reg readers from such potentially distressing websites, y'see.

  5. Roguetech


    "For those wondering which online venues generated the most matches, e-Harmony and were streets ahead of Yahoo! and"

    Strictly speaking, this is true in that eHarmony and Match "generated" more matches, however, that doesn't mean they were more satisfied. It most probably means that eHarmony and Match have more members. The study states:

    In some cases, a given mean difference in a pairwise comparison based on a relatively large sample size

    (e.g., eHarmony vs. Match) reaches statistical significance even though a nominally larger mean difference in a pairwise comparison involving fewer observations (e.g., eHarmony vs. Plenty of Fish) does not reach statistical significance

    So eHarmony is statistically better than Match based on marital satisfaction, but PoF is just too dinky to tell. Also, Yahoo! (Yahoo! Personals) no longer exists, and Yahoo! now uses Match.

    Also, note that of the authors, one is an advisor to eHarmony, one is married to an advisor to eHarmony and one is a former director of eHarmony.

    1. SoaG

      Re: Misrepresented

      Speaking of misrepresented...PoF isn't dinky, it's larger than all the other sites combined. However, there is some self-selection when using marriage as a yardstick in that sites with a fee (match/eHarmony/Lavalife) tend to be perceived as having a higher concentration of 'serious' members than free sites (PoF/OKCupid).

      Sites also vary greatly depending where you're located. I gather Match is very popular and thus useful in some large metropolitan areas, but in my region w/ total population ~500k, it has less than 20 active women in my age range vs 200+ that PoF does. So not worth paying for here, but could be in NYC or London. I wouldn't be surprised if which site is best in a given area varies by age as well.

      Both meeting and dating women were very different when I started again. In terms of being 2011 vs 1995 and 38 vs 22 years old. So for anyone that really wants to geek-out on the topic, I refer you to where they get into all kinds of data and analysis. Some of it's Captain Obvious stuff, some of it's US-centric, most of it's interesting but unimportant, but for someone like me that was married and out of circulation for 16 years there were some real eye-openers.

  6. Nuke

    Real Life? WTF is that ?

    "Those who separated from partners did so at a lower rate compared to those who meet in REAL LIFE [my capitals], at 5.96 per cent compared to 7.67 per cent for those who get together after a more traditional random meeting (... in bars or clubs [or] at a 'social gathering').

    That "real life" attitude really gets me. So "real life" is supposed to be life in bars and 'social gatherings' - whatever they are. Personally, when single I was never once invited to any 'social gathering' apart from the occasional family funeral. Nothing stopping me going into bars of course, and have even been approached and propositioned by 'hostessess' in the more up-market ones, but I never identified anything that looked like "real life" in them, let alone any suitable dating partner.

    Found all my GFs in dating clubs of one sort or another, and I do know they were real.

  7. Charles Manning

    The reason for fewer divorces

    Far too people can find the "unhitch me now" link on FB.

    Anyway, the average length of a marriage (in USA anyway) is 8 years. The whole immersive internet life hasn't been going for long enough to draw any conclusions yet.

    Come back in 20 years when there has been enough evidence to support any theory making.

  8. Nick Pettefar

    13 Years and a Baby Later...

    We met online in September 2000 and are still tolerating each other. The new baby is a bit annoying though.

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