Online dating, once the punchline of a pre-Web 2.0 world, has become so mainstream as a means of making a love connection that it’s now commonplace to see early morning commuters swiping through Tinder on your way to work.
But just because online dating has found lasting appeal as a way to fall in love, does that mean that those relationships will last a lifetime?
Researchers in Stanford and Michigan State University say no.
The pollsters recently asked more than 4,000 people about their romantic ties and found that couples who meet online are less likely to stay together long-term than those who meet offline.
The study also found that couples who meet on dating websites and apps are also less likely to get married than their IRL-preferring peers, and that those who do end up getting hitched are more likely to see their marriage fall apart.
Online dating isn’t even considered by the researchers as the most efficient way to build a relationship, as couple who meet online take more time to start a relationship than those who meet in real life.
A possible explanation for this, according to the research, is that daters tend to regard online relationships as less serious than ones in real life, despite the fact that online dating is considerably less taboo than in the past.
In the study, Michigan State researcher Aditi Paul says that our approach to online relationships lack serious thought, and that the casualness associated with them “impeded the development of the relationship in the long run.”
This stands to reason; if you end up swiping right on Tinder and matching, but don’t extend the conversation beyond a few flirtatious puns, will you really end up revisiting the prospect four months down the line as a serious love possibility?
The research didn’t completely negate the possibility of finding a fulfilling long-term relationship online; the paper stressed the importance of a slow and steady build-up and bonding as you get to know someone through the internet.
“The more couples spend time with each other, the more they get to know the other person and develop interpersonal trust and intimacy with them,” the research team writes in the study.
“This leads to greater stability of the relationship, which in turn increases the odds of them staying together in the long run,” they added.
The paper also outlines that when it comes to marriages and long-term relationships staying the distance, the two have very different needs.
The trick to a lasting marriage, according to the research, is to foster good relationship quality; meaning making the union fulfilling and gratifying regardless of how long it has existed.
For those seeking a longer long-term relationship, success was determined by being able to spend more time together.
So spending a night in with your better half listening to Newstalk might actually save your marriage.