Online Dating
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Is online dating changing marriage?

More than a third of couples in the US meet their wife or husband online and have a love marriage, and those who do have happier, longer marriages, a large study found.

Are they maybe taking a more ‘Eastern’ approach, screening likely partners for a sensible match, and losing faith in the standard Western scenario: ‘boy meets girl and they fall in love’ and have a happy love marriage? Going by the research results, online spouse-hunting seems to work. 

Indian matrimony sites are an increasingly popular way for people to find their future spouse. In the US, the emphasis is on dating, but if the dating gets as far as love marriage, the online approach seems to have benefits.

US couples who meet online say they’re happier in their marriage compared to those who meet in real life, according to the study of 19,131 American couples who got married between 2005 and 2012. What’s more, couples who meet on the internet are also more likely to still be together.

Nearly half the people who meet their sweetheart online in the US do so through dating sites like PlentyofFish or eHarmony, and another 20 percent find their special someone via social networks. When it comes to hooking up offline, the most common ways for people to meet the person they marry are through work or friends.

Matrimony sites

Online dating isn’t just changing the way Americans meet and marry. In India, matrimony sites like Shaadi and Jeevansathi are now hugely popular in metros and even among Indians living abroad. In 2008, more than 12 million Indians visited over 100 matrimony sites, and looking for a partner online was the 13th most popular activity on the Web. They all wanted to fall in love on these sites and have a love marriage

Positives and negatives

What is it about meeting online that makes it so appealing? One of the main advantages of dating sites is the sheer number of people out there looking for a partner. In Western society, there just aren’t many ways for people to meet singles offline nowadays, especially once they finish school, explain the authors of a major US report on online dating. And compared to asking someone out on a date in real life, doing so via the Web is a pretty non-threatening way to start a relationship.

But having so many options to choose from online can also be a disadvantage, encouraging people to enter into shopping mode, perhaps skipping a compatible partner in favour of someone they find super attractive. And no matter how great a person’s online profile seems, there’s either chemistry with them, or there’s not, and there’s no way to tell before meeting face to face.

Suitable girl/boy

What is it about meeting a partner online that could make for a happier, longer marriage? The large number of online daters means that people can screen for qualities they know just won’t work for them, possibly avoiding problems down the road, say the study’s authors. So the online daters are hunting for a ‘suitable boy/girl’, instead of waiting for romance to blossom of its own accord.

It could also be a question of motivation – for people who visit online dating sites, marriage may simply be more of a priority. One final option has to do with how much information people share when they meet. People seem to reveal more about themselves when they connect online compared to face to face, which could make a difference in how well things go later on, hypothesise the researchers.

*Person in the picture is a model. 

Have you got experience of online dating or matrimonial sites? Would you use one? Did you have a love marriage? Leave a comment below or on Facebook.

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