Dating app marriages six times more likely to end in divorce, study finds

Once upon a time, finding love was all about marrying your school sweetheart, or settling down with the girl- or boy-next-door. Nowadays, however, it’s much more likely to the girl or boy on Tinder who steals your heart.

Meeting on a dating app is now the most common way to find a husband or wife, with 32 per cent of couples meeting this way. However, new research shows that couples who first met online are six times more likely to divorce in the first three years of marriage than those who met through friends, family and neighbours, which was the second most common way to get together.

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The study was conducted by Savanta ComRes, a market research consultancy, who surveyed 2,027 married adults over 30. It was commissioned by the charity Marriage Foundation, whose research director, Harry Benson, said couples who meet online “lack sufficient social capital or close support networks around them to deal with all the challenges they face when compared to those who met via friends, family or neighbours. Couples [who met online] are marrying as relative strangers.”

We can almost hear people bristling at the idea that relationships started through dating apps might be less resilient to challenges than those that met in more traditional ways – no doubt plenty of us will either know or be in a couple that started online and remains loving and robust in real life.

“Our findings in NO way undermines, or diminishes the vital role of online dating” continued Benson. “But it does highlight the greater risks and difficulties of getting to know a relative stranger where reliable sources of background information and subsequent social support are less readily available.”

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Interestingly, it seems after three years of marriage the situation looks brighter for dating app couples. The study showed that the gap in the divorce rate between those who met online and those who met through family and friends starts to narrow after five years, and after ten years it is only one quarter higher.

As for marriages with the best long-term prospects, those who met at school or university who can be most optimistic. These were the most likely to still be together after a decade, with only 13% having divorced by that stage.