Although the Internet has changed the way we date, it is important to examine the best ways to meet your match, besides online. In a wonderful new book called Connected, two world renowned professors, Nicholas Christakis PhD and James H. Fowler PhD, reveal the statistics behind spousal introductions. The data was extrapolated from The National Survey of Health and Social Life, which studied 3,432 people aged 18 to 59 in 1992.
The authors break down the data by "relationship type" and by "who introduced the couple." Ultimately, they find that 50% of marriages are facilitated by family members or friends, 13% are introduced by co-workers, classmates and neighbors and 32% by self-introduction. The data for cohabitations is quite similar. This data tells us that the most common way for serious partners to meet is through friends and family.
More notable is the discrepancy between introductions made by family members through all relationship types: marriages, cohabitations, partnerships and short-term partnerships. In marriages, 15% of couples meet through family members, in cohabitations 12%, in partnerships it goes down to 8% and in short-term partnerships only 3% are introduced by family members. This tells us that you are more likely to commit long-term to a person you meet through your family.
The other interesting pattern is the correlation between self-introduction and a relationship’s seriousness. Short-term partnerships are comprised of 47% self-introductions, while marriages are made up of a mere 32%. What’s the reason for this? There are several possibilities. Maybe we feel more accountable to people we meet through family? Maybe we have more at stake with these matches?
At the end of the day, the equation is simple: the more you have in common with your partner, the more likely the union is likely to last long-term. Dr. Christakis and Dr. Fowler’s conclusions highlight and confirm the patterns I have witnessed in my dating business. The more common points that a couple shares, the more likely they will end up getting married. These factors include: religion, education level, socioeconomic background, political inclinations and views on family and intimacy levels.
If you don't have family members around to set you up on dates, don't despair. You can use this data to your advantage and put yourself in beneficial situations. Try to surround yourself by people who share your morals, background and vision for the future.
More dating tips from YourTango: