A few years of survey data appear to show trouble in paradise: According to a recent study, couples who met online were more likely to break up and less likely to get married. A third of relationships started online were over by the next year, while less than a quarter of those who'd met offline broke up over the same period. And married couples who originally met online were four times more likely to have gotten separated or divorced — 8 percent versus offline couples' 2 percent.
This doesn't mean that relationships started online are doomed. The study's author, Aditi Paul of Michigan State University, gives a few reasons why online daters have more tumultuous love lives. Online daters know they can always dip back into the pool for more dates, making the consequences of breaking up less troubling. They also take more time before they even start to get to know each other, and have a longer period where they're testing and evaluating one another. Paul concludes with a little advice: Married couples need to focus on relationship quality, and unmarried ones need to devote time to each other.
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