Where did you find your last boyfriend or girlfriend, and the one behind that? Did they catch your eye while strolling through a park? Or did you find them perched on the edge of a barstool, sipping a Manhattan? Were you introduced through friends? Or was it a meet-cute situation?
Yeah, right. You know you totally met them online – on a dating website after filling out a meticulous profile, or just swiping right. A new study from Stanford sociologist and lead author Michael Rosenfeld shows that most heterosexual couples today meet on the internet (or smartphone). His research was just published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Tinder it up
The time-tested ways of meeting a partner – through friends, family, your neighborhood, and church – are going swiftly downhill, says Rosenfeld. In fact, they have been in decline since 1940.
Rosenfield drew his conclusions from a nationally representation 2017 survey of adult Americans. Through the survey, he found that roughly 39% of heterosexual couples met their partner online, compared to 22% in 2009.
The research for this study was carried out by lead author Michael Rosenfeld, a sociology professor at Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences. The study was co-authored by Sonia Hausen, a graduate student in sociology at Stanford.
“Meeting a significant other online has replaced meeting through friends,” Rosenfeld told Stanford News Service. The fact that dating tech has gotten better has helped. “People trust the new dating technology more and more, and the stigma of meeting online seems to have worn off,” he said.
So many matches
Also, online platforms are powerful because of the sheer number of people they can introduce you to – much more than the number of people you can meet through friends, parents, or at church.
Interestingly, Rosenfeld said that in 2009, people were still involved in things like screening out negative-looking suitors and helping set up profile pages, for friends who used online dating. Now, however, people are confident about doing these things on their own. Unfortunately, says Rosenfeld, this has “displaced” their friends.
But all you romantics can relax – there’s truly no “better” way to meet someone over another.
Ultimately, Rosenfeld said, the study found that “the success of a relationship did not depend on whether the people met online or not. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you met your significant other. The relationship takes a life of its own after the initial meeting.”