eHarmony funded a study comparing marriage satisfaction and longevity for those couples who met offline VS those who met online. The research was designed and conducted by John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago who emailed a questionnaire to nearly a half million people, with almost 200,000 people responding- and 19,131 of them who were married between 2005 and 2012 were selected to have their replies analyzed.
More than a third of the respondents reported meeting their spouse online- and a third of those online connections were made through online dating (as opposed to a chat room or other virtual world for the rest.)They were asked to rate their overall marital satisfaction, and this along with the group’s divorce rate was compared to the other group who met in a more traditional way. To make the study more legitimate, two statisticians from the Harvard School of Public Health were recruited to analyze the results and eHarmony agreed to publish the study- regardless of what the findings revealed about the success or failure of online dating.
The results were surprising. They found that those who met online were slightly happier than the traditional dating group and were also found to have a slightly lower divorce rate.
It’s important to note that all research is only as good as its design, and what factors are controlled for. For instance, the study did not include things like mental health issues, substance abuse or personality. If they had, the results may have been different. Either way, it is enlightening and will be good news to all those singles looking for love online who often ask; “Does this really work and can I really meet “the one” online?”