Thursday, February 29, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Polaris of Enlightenment

Marital satisfaction lower among couples who met online

Published 24 January 2024
- By Editorial Staff

Married couples who met online experienced lower marital satisfaction on average than those who met in person, according to a study by Arizona State University. ‘Online couples’ also experienced less stability than ‘offline couples’.

The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, looked at 923 married couples in the US who met either online or in person. The participants were almost equally divided between those who met their partner online and those who met their partner offline.

The study focused on several dimensions of couples’ relationships, using scales to assess social ostracism (how society views their relationship based on how they met), network approval (support from friends and family), geographic distance (physical distance between partners when they first met), and openness (the extent to which they share intimate information).

But the researchers were most interested in “marital satisfaction”, which included questions such as “How well does your spouse meet your needs?” and “In general, how satisfied are you with your marriage?” Also “marital stability”, such as “Have you or your spouse ever seriously suggested divorce?” and “Have you thought about divorce or separation in the past?”

“Still relatively high quality”

People in online marriages were generally younger and had more dating experience than those who met their partner offline. Online couples were also more likely to have been married for a shorter time and were more likely to be same-sex or interracial.

Couples who met online reported lower levels of satisfaction and stability than offline couples. Most online couples also had a greater initial geographic distance, which seems to lead to greater openness between partners. This openness could also lead to greater satisfaction, but also, for reasons the researchers are not yet clear on, less stability in the marriage.

– That’s not so say that their marriages were bad – they were still relatively high in quality, on average. But our findings show there’s something different about the marriages that are emerging from online dating compared to those that get their start offline, Professor Liesel Sharabi told Psypost.

The researchers stress the need for further research to understand the underlying causes of these differences in marital satisfaction and stability.

– We identified one reason, which is the stigma surrounding online dating, but there could be other explanations as well. For instance, we know people benefit from having more options in online dating, but over time that’s something that may also threaten the long-term stability of relationships by making them feel more disposable.


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