Married couples who meet online are SIX times more likely to divorce in the first three years than those who meet through family or friends, study finds
- The Marriage Foundation report surveyed 2,000 who married aged 30 or over
- Seventeen per cent of those who met online divorced within the first decade
- Compared to ten per cent of those who found love through a social situation
Married couples who meet online are six times more likely to divorce within the first three years than those who meet their partners through more traditional routes.
Research has found that 12 per cent of couples who met over the internet did not make their leather – third – anniversary, compared to just two per cent who found love via family or friends.
The report, by the Marriage Foundation, suggests that those who meet online are at higher risk of divorce because they could be ‘relative strangers’ when they tie the knot.
“Gathering reliable information about the long-term character of the person you are dating or marrying is quite obviously more difficult for couples who meet online without input from mutual friends or family or other community,'” said Harry Benson, the foundation’s research director.
‘For online couples, wider social bonds between families and friends have to form from scratch rather than being well-established over years or even decades.
‘It is therefore not entirely unsurprising that the input of family, friends or co-workers reduces the risk of making a hasty mistake.’
The report surveyed 2,000 people who had married aged 30 or over. Seventeen per cent of those who had met online had divorced within the first decade, compared to ten per cent of those who found love through a social situation.
The report, using data from market research firm Savanta ComRes, also argues that couples who meet through personal connections have more ‘social capital’, which it defines as networks of friends and family who share similar values and beliefs.
‘Groups with high social capital are usually considered to function better because of their shared goals and informal support they provide,’ the study said.
Kate Ryan, a partner at the legal firm IBB Law, said: ‘The first few years of marriage, especially if you have children, are not easy so it takes strength to get through that and if you don’t know the person well enough before you embark upon a life together, this can be fatal for the relationship.
‘If you meet online, you may miss out on some of this crucial background or time getting to know each other.’
Sara Davison, a divorce coach who helps couples cope with relationship breakdowns, said: ‘There are a lot of people using dating websites who have been hurt in love, so they want to find someone online who appears to tick all the boxes.
‘But quite often these people have rose-tinted glasses strapped on because they desperately want the person they find to be OK, so they’re not reading the warning signs.’
About a third of people now meet their spouses on dating websites or apps, with researchers predicting that this will grow to more than 50 per cent by 2035.
Mr Benson said the findings did not diminish the ‘vital’ role of online dating in expanding the marriage market, but it showed the difficulties of getting to know a relative stranger without reliable background information.