Couples who began dating online appear to be swiping left on their marriages much faster than those who met through more traditional means, according to new research.
The study, “Relative Strangers: The Importance of Social Capital for Marriage,” looked at how likely couples were to get divorced after three or seven years, based on how they met. Of those who met online, 12 percent were likely to be divorced within 3 years, increasing to 17 percent by the 7-year mark. Compare that to couples who met through friends or family, wherein 2 percent were divorced after 3 years and 10 percent after 7 years.
Why would this make a difference? Per the Marriage Foundation, the research firm that commissioned the study, part of it stems from the “lack of social capital” or close support networks that helps newer couples overcome the challenges they face early in marriage.
The research was based on an analysis of 2,000 adults aged 30 or older when they got hitched.
As our Freehold divorce lawyers are aware, the popularity and acceptance of online dating has soared in recent years.
Prior to the 2000s, about two-thirds of American couples met through:
- Social settings (bars, parties, etc.).
According to the Pew Research Center, 3/10 of U.S. adults today say they’ve used a dating app or site before, but this varies a lot by sexual orientation/age. For those under 30, the figure is nearly half. LGBTQ adults are twice as likely to use such sites as those who are straight. About 1/10 Americans say they’ve been in a committed relationship with or married to someone they met in a dating app. For LGBTQ adults, it’s a bit higher at 12 percent.
Although there is no disputing that online dating may play a vital role in bringing people together, this research may underscore some of the challenges facing couples who meet online, and the need to align additional social supports.
The same may be true for those who meet at school and work. The study also found that couples who met this way were more likely to divorce within a few years too.
One silver lining is that after those first few years, the way a couple met in the first place doesn’t seem to have that much bearing on the outcome. Overall, the divorce rate is somewhere around 20 percent.
Issues That Often Lead to Divorce in the First 7 Years
Some of the primary reasons divorce occurs on or before the seven-year mark:
- Undiscussed debt. Finances in general can be a significant source of tension for couples no matter how long they’ve been married. Young couples saddled with student loans, credit card debt, or a new mortgage may be caught off guard by how much these obligations impact their lifestyle.
- Believing marriage is a cure-all. Marriage is not a magic pill that will fix all the problems you had before you tied the knot. If anything, it exacerbates underlying issues.
- Lack of communication. You may not want to burden your partner with your worries or concerns, but failure to speak up can quickly lead to toxic patterns that can prove fatal for a relationship.
- In-law trouble. People may be on their best behavior early on, and most of us prefer to let our respective spouses deal with their own parents, siblings, etc. But these issues can quickly go from grating to unbearable if they aren’t dealt with appropriately early on.
- Differing life plans. This one goes back to failure to communicate. Of course there needs to be flexibility and things don’t always go as planned, but both of you should generally be on the same page about where you see yourself in a year, three years, five years, and 10 years from now.
- Disputes over daily responsibilities. Who’s going to pay which bills? Is one of you going to stay home with the kids while the other is the primary income source? What is your overall parenting style/role going to be? Sharp differences over daily duties can quickly spiral into divorce.
Whether a divorce occurs after one year or 20, both parties typically benefit from consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer. Those separating amicably may consider mediation with a single attorney.
Call Rozin|Golinder Law, LLC today at (732) 810-0034 for a free and confidential consultation.