Relationships that began online are a growing trend today, especially among divorcees, but there are pitfalls that people entering into these relationships should be aware of. A new joint study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and Stanford reveals that relationships that begin online are more likely to end in divorce than comparable relationships that began traditionally. This new research, which is being published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, contradicts older research that was done on the subject at the University of Chicago, which was sponsored by the online matchmaking service eHarmony.
What the Study Found
The study examined the love lives of over 4,000 people over a two-year period. Of the people surveyed, almost 3,000 were either married or in a romantic relationship. Of those, almost 10 percent had met online. The participants were surveyed over the course of the study as well as at its beginning and end. The researchers compared the relationship statuses of those couples during the duration of the study. Over the first year, the couples that began online were 28 percent more likely to end the relationship than those that began using more traditional methods. As for divorce, by the end of the two-year study, eight percent of married couples who had met online had divorced. By comparison, only two percent of offline marriages had ended.
The study's authors, as well as other commentators, have put forward a variety of potential theories that may explain the reasons for this wide gap in divorce rates. One theory centers around the fact that many online dating profiles contain false or exaggerated information. This high rate of dishonesty in the dating process may mean that there are trust issues that emerge early in the relationship, something that can often signal a relationship's eventual end. Additionally, this can also slow the development of online relationships because there is a general stigma of dishonesty over the process; 86 percent of people who date online report concerns about false information on the profiles.
The researchers also believe that this disparity might be explained by the number of options that online dating provides. Many people can find it difficult to commit to one partner when there are so many readily available on the website.
Another similar potential explanation relates to the ease of online dating. The CEO of Match.com believes that people who date online are more willing to end relationships that they are not happy with quickly because they can more easily find a new partner.
If issues with your relationship have led to your wanting a divorce, contact a dedicated DuPage County divorce lawyer today. Our firm's experienced professionals can help guide you through this complex and important process.