If you’re struggling to find your soulmate, or at least someone to attend that next holiday family dinner with, you may want to give online dating a whirl.

When I was single, I always had a love-hate relationship with the holidays. I loved our family traditions and seeing my loved ones, at least most of them, but hated when well-meaning friends and family seemed obsessed with my singleness.

Every holiday dinner that I would attend without a significant other, the dreaded interrogation about my dating life (or lack thereof) would come up before the pumpkin pie would be served. 

A lot has changed in the dating world, mostly due to smartphone apps and dating websites. 

When I started researching dating apps, I was shocked to learn that couples that met digitally through popular dating service apps or website dating services had a lower rate of divorce and higher marital satisfaction, as noted in a study by the National Academy of Sciences, which surveyed people who married between 2005 and 2012.  

Met OnlineMet Offline
Divorced By End of Study
Higher Satisfaction in Marriage5.64%5.48%

More than one-third of all marriages begin online now. Online dating apps and websites are the second most popular way to meet a partner for heterosexual couples and, by far, the most popular option for homosexual couples. 

Maybe those proprietary “dating algorithms” actually do produce better matches than the traditional ways people have met?

Meeting a spouse on-line is on average associated with slightly higher marital satisfaction and lower rates of marital break-up than meeting a spouse through traditional (off-line) venues. - National Academy of Sciences survey

How People Use Dating Apps

The online dating business is a $3 billion industry, so most likely you already know someone in your inner circle who has met their spouse or is interacting with someone though a dating app.

Dating apps and sites like OK Cupid, Match, TinderHinge, POF, and Bumble  are drastically changing how people date today. The Pew Research Center estimates that the following percentages of people have used online dating apps or websites:

  • 22% of Americans age 25-34
  • 17% of those aged 35-44

Online Daters Are More Satisfied in Their Marriage

If you’re struggling to find your soulmate, or at least someone to attend that next holiday family dinner with, you may want to give online dating a whirl.

A study published in the MIT Technology Review shared that online daters who marry are less likely to divorce and are more satisfied in their marriage. 

Of the 19,000 online daters in the survey who met online and got married, only 7% were either separated or divorced (compare that to the overall U.S. divorce rate that is between 40-50%). 

Most likely, the dating site questionnaires and match-making algorithms played a role in the success rate, as well as the fact that most people signing up for a dating service are ready for a more serious commitment like marriage.

Transitioning from Dating to Marriage Faster

A separate study, published in the journal Sociological Science in 2017, found that heterosexual couples who met online made a quicker transition to marriage than couples who met offline (4-years versus 10-years for 50% of the couples in the study). Most likely, this quicker transition is in part due to:

  • Larger Pool to Pre-select. Most online dating tools allow the user to select specific characteristics that you know you will prefer; this cuts down on the first-date surprises.
  • More Communication Prior to First Date. Daters can gather a lot of information about their partner from information in their profile and connecting via chat or email prior to any face-to-face meeting.
  • Motivated to be in a Relationship. Some people participating in online dating tend to be more marriage-ready than individuals than walking into your neighborhood bar. This Tinder survey states that even 80% of their users publicize that they are looking for a meaningful relationship. 
  • Matching Algorithms Enhance Selection Process. Dating companies have invested a great deal into their proprietary algorithms to help connect you with your preferred partner.

Dating Apps Are Creating New Social Circles

The pool of potential daters is no longer merely connected to our existing social circles. Online dating is now creating social links that previously were nonexistent. A study from Cornell University published in the journal Physics and Society, suggests online dating is going as far as changing the shape of our society.

Previously, most couples only dated and married within their own social circle from work, school, friends of friends, or organizations such as churches. 

Online dating expanded users’ personal network to include complete strangers creating social links that would have been virtually impossible to create previously. Online dating is now connecting social networks of varying backgrounds and subcultures.

For a single mother who’s looking for someone with very specific criteria, such as someone who is open to dating someone with a child, many of the dating apps provide filters so you can search for exactly what you are seeking. 

Additionally, users can review responses to questionnaires to ensure that you’re only connecting with individuals who have common interests, goals, and values. 

For daters who find it challenging to find a partner in their current social network, online dating introduces them to a significantly larger partner pool of prospects.

Dating apps don’t just have the advantage of creating a stream of potential dates to consider, but it’s also easy to block an unwanted suiter with just a single tap. For a single mom who may be security sensitive, this a great safety feature to limit exposure and stop someone from following you even within app.

Want More Info on Online Dating?

If you think you might want to give online dating a try, visit our App Advisor for descriptions and videos on some of the most popular dating apps. 

Some of the popular dating apps even offer a trial subscription and you never know… your soulmate just may be waiting to respond to your profile!

About Kristin MacLaughlin

Mom of three, fosters rescued dogs, and is helping to drive the conversation about digital parenting as VP of Consumer Marketing for Zift.

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