A new study by the University of Chicago that surveyed over 19,000 couples who met online and then got married found that their breakup rate was 1.7 percent lower than for those who met offline, reports the Wall Street Journal. Also, the overall marital satisfaction rate for couples who met online and later married was slightly higher than for those who met offline. The same study found that over one third of couples who married between 2005 and 2012 met online, a staggering percentage. Does all of this mean that online dating leads to a better marriage?
Online dating still has a bit of a bad rap, though not as bad as it once did. Many singles are leery about going online to search for a mate because the negative stories abound — primarily about con artists and people who vastly misrepresent themselves. But the positive results from research on online dating continue to grow, suggesting that going online may actually increase your odds of a good match, and thus a lasting marriage. Here's how to put the odds in your favor.
1. Knowing potential partners better helps you make a better choice. If you choose a site that does personality testing, such as eHarmony or that requires extensive surveying like Match.com, you'll know more about someone before you date. Can people fudge? A little, but most personality tests have fail-safe questions that inhibit your ability to fake. Knowledge is power. When you marry someone you know really well and accept for who she/he is, you are far more likely to stay married, and to be happier over time. Bottom line: know yourself and know others before you become romantic. Using sites like Match.com and eHarmony can help you do that.
2. Having lots of choices makes you less desperate. Let's face it, if your dating strategy is to randomly meet someone offline, you can go through a lot of disappointments before you find the right person, and it can take a long, long time. That's because most busy singles today don't have the time to go out and scour the urban landscape for other attractive singles on a frequent enough basis to have lots of choices. If you use online dating wisely, however, you can have one to three dates every week with a variety of viable people. Having all those choices helps you relax, be yourself, and feel less anxious. You become more attractive because you're not needy or desperate. More attractive means more people want to date you, thus giving you even more choices. It's a positive upward spiral that inevitably leads to success.
3. Having more choices leads to better choices. The number one reason people choose partners poorly usually goes something like this: "It's been months/years since I've dated someone seriously, and he/she was good enough. It was much better than dating no one!" But the fact that you haven't dated in a long time and feel lonely isn't a good enough reason to date someone. Why? Because dating leads (very quickly) to attachment; attachment leads to falling in love, and that leads to a long term relationship. When you bind yourself to someone who is not right for you out of loneliness or desperation, it can take months or even years to detach and move on.
Dating online, when done wisely, can give you lots of choices of very viable potential partners, making you less desperate, and allowing you to be appropriately choosy. While that doesn't guarantee a great marriage, it definitely increases your odds!
About the author: Nina Atwood, M.Ed., LPC, is a nationally known psychotherapist, author of five self-help books, and frequent expert media guest. Read the transformational book that will change your life and your relationships with men: Temptations of the Single Girl: The Ten Dating Traps You Must Avoid. To successfully date online, get Nina’s $0.99 cent eBook Internet Dating for the Savvy Single. Get loads of free advice and Love Strategies at www.singlescoach.com.
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