A study has found that married couples who first met online are six times more likely to get a divorce than other couples who had met at university, through family, or friends, in the first three years of their marriage.
The study was undertaken by the Marriage Foundation, a think tank established in 2012, which seeks to improve public understanding of marriage. The study, titled Relative Strangers – The importance of social capital for marriage, surveyed 2,000 married adults over the ages of 30. The participants were asked where or how they met their partners, before being divided by decade.
With the exponential growth of dating apps and websites over the last few years, it comes as no surprise that the study found that online sources are the most popular place to ‘meet’ a husband or wife. According to the research, 32 per cent of those marrying in the past two years met online. In the 1990s this figure was just one per cent, and seven per cent in 2000.
It makes sense, particularly in a world which has adapted so drastically due to COVID-19. You have a seemingly endless catalogue of potential suitors at your fingertips, with apps like Tinder removing the need for people to physically go out to a public place and strike up a conversation with someone.
But as the report finds and states, this does not come without risk. Research commissioned by the Marriage Foundation, alongside data from Savanta ComRes, found that couples who have met online and subsequently married since the year 2000 had the highest risk of divorce during the first three years of their marriage. Some 12 per cent of them ended up in divorce, significantly higher than the two per cent of couples who had met via family, friends, or neighbours. But what about after a longer period of time? Well, 17 per cent of those who had been married for more than seven years ended in divorce, compared to the 10 per cent of those who had met another way.
It is not good news for those who have met their partner through the workplace, either. Sadly, the research showed that by ten years of marriage, those who met via work had a divorce rate of 24 per cent. This is higher than the 20 per cent who met online, 19 per cent from a bar or restaurant, and 15 per cent through family, friends, or neighbours.
Harry Benson, Marriage Foundation’s Research Director commented: “These figures are troubling given the increasing popularity of couples meeting online. It suggests that in the early years of marriage, couples who meet this way, might lack sufficient social capital or close support networks around them to deal with all the challenges they face when compared to those who met via friends, family or neighbours. Over time this disparity disappears, but the question is why does it exist in the first place?”
One reason given by Benson and survey was that “gathering reliable information about the long-term character of the person you are dating or marrying is quite obviously more difficult for couples who meet online without input from mutual friends or family or other community.” The harsh reality is that a great number of us will be affected by divorce in our lifetimes. For the sake of yourself, your family, and loved ones, it is important to ensure that you have the best possible support and guidance during a divorce. Speak to a member of the CWC Solicitors team today to see how our matrimonial and family matters team can help you.
Image Credit: Priscilla Du Preez