If you’ve ever met your significant other online, you’re part of a growing movement of people who are finding love the same way. According to a new survey, online dating has become the most popular way for couples to meet each other in the United States. This is effectively replacing what was once considered the traditional way of finding love.
As people are spending more time online for social networking, it’s not uncommon for them to find lots and start relationships with people who they met online. Facebook and other social media outlets are one way. Tinder and eHarmony are other ways. Apps, networks, and other forms of digital conversations are taking over how relationships are formed.
This is all thanks to a new study that was published by Michael Rosenfeld, a Stanford sociologist who looked at the data. This particular study was published officially this week but it looked at data compiled back in 2017. Rosenfeld found that as many as 39% of heterosexual couples met online. This is in contrast to only 22% of couples who met online in 2009.
Outpacing Traditional Forms of Meeting
39% might not seem like a lot, but it’s a number that is higher than other traditional forms of meeting someone. Online dating has become the most popular way to meet your significant other. Rosenfeld has been studying this topic for two decades and has watched very carefully the shift that’s taking place.
The more traditional method was being introduced to someone via a friend of family member. Meeting through a third person has declined quite a bit over the past few years. It’s the trust in the technology that has shifted the course. You get to know more about a person from online interactions rather than blindly being set up or meeting someone by happenstance.
“People trust the new dating technology more and more, and the stigma of meeting online seems to have worn off,” said Rosenfeld.
“In 2009, when I last researched how people find their significant others, most people were still using a friend as an intermediary to meet their partners,” he said. “Back then, if people used online websites, they still turned to friends for help setting up their profile page. Friends also helped screen potential romantic interests.”
Rosenfeld Never Thought This Would Happen
After many years of studying relationships and how people meet, Rosenfeld never thought he’d see the day where the more traditional way was ever supplanted. But it happened. It’s really our reliance on technology that has changed the way we do everything. It has impacted numerous industries over the years and dating is one of them.
“That’s an important development in people’s relationship with technology,” he said. “The rise of the smartphone took Internet dating off the desktop and put it in everyone’s pocket, all the time. Also, the online dating systems have much larger pools of potential partners compared to the number of people your mother knows, or the number of people your best friend knows. Dating websites have enormous advantages of scale.”
“Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you met your significant other,” he said. “The relationship takes a life of its own after the initial meeting.”