Marriage and Divorce: The Changing Landscape of Online Dating

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Online dating is everywhere these days. As I hear more and more stories from friends and family members who meeting their significant others online; I receive a wedding invitation for my college roommate’s wedding to a man she met online; and my TV becomes increasingly flooded with eHarmony and Match.com commercials; it is inescapable! And, I don’t doubt that you have experienced the same or similar things I have. Although online dating intrigues me on many levels, as a divorce attorney, I can’t help but wonder what, if any, impact the rise of online dating in our society has had on marriages and divorces today.

The sheer amount of studies that have been done about online dating show that I’m not the only one intrigued by this phenomenon. However, I have found the varying results of different research studies to be a bit confusing. There seems to be a general consensus among researchers that approximately 1/3 of marriages nowadays originated online, although the exact percentages vary from study to study. Beyond that, statistics tend to vary depending on who performed the research.

For example, a 2013 USA Today article reports research indicating that people whose relationships began online are actually happier and less likely to split up than their offline counterparts….read on and find out that this study was actually funded by eHarmony. The article also cited another study that found couples who meet online are twice as likely to get married that couples who meet by other means.

An article in The Atlantic muses over the threat that online dating poses to commitment and monogamy. Because online dating makes it so easy for single people to find other single people, it could encourage people to leave relationships much more quickly than they would have in the past. Most people know that marriage is hard work, but historically people made more efforts to make their marriages last. Now, however, knowing how easy it is to find another person may make people less likely to put in the hard work it takes to make a marriage work. All of the experts interviewed for the article (albeit one) seem to suggest the same thing; that online dating has changed peoples’ views on commitment, which is likely to lead to increasing divorce rates in the future.

Online dating is fantastic because it allows people to connect with other people who they would probably never have the opportunity to meet otherwise. But, as the use of online dating continues to increase, it will be interesting to see how it changes the landscape of commitment and ultimately what effect it has on divorce rates in the future.

Regardless of where or how your relationship originated, any number of reasons may play into your decision to part ways with your spouse. Feel free to contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse, a legal separation, or have questions regarding child custody and visitation. Nancy J. Bickford is the only Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) in San Diego County who is also a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with a Master of Business Administration (MBA). Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.

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