Online dating can be so stressful – filling out the profile and keeping up with all the interactions can feel like a job – so it’s no surprise that sometimes digital romance blooms under more Facebook friend-ly circumstances.
Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of Communication Studies at University of Kansas, was surprised to learn that 7% of people who married after meeting online had met for the first time on social networking sites like Facebook, My Space and Class Mates – not matchmaking chat rooms, or online dating sites or via other romance-centric cyber connections.
“I think that social networking is the digital version of being introduced by friends.” For most of the 20 century, friend-based introductions were the primary way people met their spouse, he says, and social networks may simply be an extension of that pattern.
That could also explain why marriages that began on social networking sites were also no more likely to end in divorce than unions that were generated by online dating sites that involve algorithms and strangers trying to match people together, rather than acquaintances who know their friends’ likes and dislikes and personality best.
With a little computer-generated imagery, it all looks like unfenced and unfiltered freedom and adventure.
The same selfishness and impatience are also the main ingredients in a tidal wave of premarital sex, leading more than half of us to give ourselves away before we even graduate high school.
MORE: Online Dating Doesn’t Just Save You Time, It Saves You at Least ,400And when the participants were compared on marital satisfaction, the partners who met via social networking reported being just as happy as those who were introduced on online dating sites, which tout their compatibility benefits, and more satisfied than those who met on online communities, which nurture conversations among people with similar interests and beliefs.
What surprised Hall even more, however, was that the social networking-based relationships were happier than those that began offline, in traditional ways such as being introduced by mutual friends.“I was surprised by a lot of these results,” he says.
MORE: Inside Tinder: Meet the Guys Who Turned Dating Into an Addiction“It was really, really astonishing, since [romantic relationships] aren’t the purpose of these sites,” he says of the data, which came from e Harmony, the online dating service.
Hall decided to investigate the connection, and learn more about who was meeting their significant other this way, and how well these marriages fared.