What’s the best place to meet your spouse? Online. The worst place? The bar.

At least, that’s what a new University of Chicago study commissioned by online dating website eHarmony would like you to believe.

The research, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that that approximately one-third of 19,131 American couples who married between 2005 – 2012 met their spouse online. And while this research was based on U.S. data, there is no reason to believe the trend is significantly different in Canada.

“We found evidence for a dramatic shift since the advent of the Internet in how people are meeting their spouse,” lead author and psychology professor, John Cacioppo from the University of Chicago, tells Agence France-Presse.

The researchers found that marriage breakups were reported in about 6 per cent of the people who met online, compared with 7.6 per cent of the people who met offline. This was noted to be a statistically significant difference.

They also discovered that marriages for people who met online reported a mean score of 5.64 for relationship satisfaction, compared with a score of 5.48 for people who met offline.

The difference remained statistically significant even after controlling for variables like year of marriage, sex, age, education, ethnicity, household income, religion and employment status.

People who met online were more likely to be older (between 30 to 39) and have a higher income. The group was diverse racially and ethnically.

Among the least successful marriages were those in which people met at bars, through blind dates and in virtual online worlds where people communicate through avatars.


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