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One of the hallmarks of online dating, for example, is the quick intimacy driven by heartfelt profiles that can go on for pages and reveal everything from a person’s favorite food to a weakness for tattoos.Focusing on these attributes, some psychologists say, makes potential suitors more likely to overlook someone’s downsides.” The WSJ story continues, “A 2004 Match study said 11% of its married couples were “in love prior to ever meeting face-to-face.“[iii] This is a very different question from asking how many existing relationships started online. studies report that considerably more than half of online daters (63% and 56%) meet people. A study of younger daters (65% were 25 or younger; 86% were 35 or younger) in Los Angeles found a better result.

Because relationships do come and go, this gets tricky to measure.

There are no good data on whether relationships formed through dating sites are more or less lasting than other relationships (although e-harmony has done a study to claim that its marriages last longer).

In 2006 the Wall Street Journal reported, “Though there is no statistical evidence that the break-up rate among online daters is any different from the national average, some divorce lawyers point to anecdotal evidence.

Marriage counselors and divorce attorneys say they are often struck by how much of what brings people together online ultimately contributes to the undoing of the relationship.

Scientific American Mind (2007) writes: “When e Harmony recommends someone as a compatible match…if you went on a date with all of them, it would take 346 dates to reach [a] 50% chance of getting married.”[v] Or let’s take another example.

A team of economists used a rigorous statistical approach to calculate that an online dater needs to send about twenty emails to find a “match.” (They defined a match as simply exchanging contact information—they had no idea whether the couples eventually formed a relationship, dated or even met).[vi] The Wall Street Journal (2009) quotes Online Dating Insider’s calculation that it would take an average of 1,369 dates to get married.”[vii] Putting the two together, you’d need to write 27,000 emails.

If you write ten emails a day, it’ll take you roughly seven years to find your marriage partner.

And believe it or not, serious journalists and researchers have studied it.

The online dating ad that sticks in my minds proclaims that “one of five relationships start on an online dating site.” As definitive as that sounds, I learned that there are no conclusive numbers. research concluded that 3%-6% of marriages or long-term relationships started online (not necessarily through an online dating service)[ii]. I tore my hair out trying to answer this one, and I’m sorry to report I gave up.


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