Meeting a potential partner through social networking sites and dating-specific sites carries less of a stigma than it used to. And many of these online interactions do lead to marriage.
Last year, an eHarmony sponsored study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences determined one-third of married couples in the US had met online. The research was based on a national sampling survey of 19,131 people.
Respondents were recruited through an online survey; specifically those who had been married once between 2005 and 2012, and who were not currently engaged to another person.
This research suggested these pairs were more likely to be happier and have longer-lasting and more satisfying marriages in comparison to those who coupled through more traditional means, because they were better suited for one another based on the manner of introduction i.e. online.
Again, the study was funded by a dating site, so take from it what you will. Still, the number of people meeting online through social media sites like Facebook, or social smartphone apps like Tinder continues to gain popularity.
In a more recent article, published by Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, titled “First Comes Social Networking, Then Comes Marriage,” researchers evaluated the same data of those who were married between 2005 and 2012, focusing more on those who met through social networking sites (SNS).
Researchers used a weighted national sample of 18,527 individuals from the 19,131, and were able to determine the common, identifiable characteristics of those who met using social networking.
While the survey did not ask respondents to identify on which SNS they met, they did provide three examples of social networking: Facebook, MySpace, and ClassMates.
According to the study’s abstract, when comparing other online introductions (via dating sites, online communities, one-on-one communication), individuals who met through social networking sites specifically were younger, married more recently, and were more likely to be African American.
When compared to those who met offline, individuals who met through SNS were still more likely to be younger, African American and or Hispanic males, married more recently, who were considered frequent Internet users, and had higher incomes.
This research found that nearly 21 percent of Americans who married between 2005 and 2012, who met online, met through social networking sites specifically.
Be mindful that while social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can bring a couple together, the continued use after marriage can also promote an increased risk of infidelity and divorce.
[Photo Credit: Nina Matthews Photography]