Review: Online dating promotes stronger and more diverse relationships, evidence shows

Online dating and dating applications are constantly riddled with controversies over certain factors such as, users’ privacy and creating a sort of skewed dating approach. Yet, new evidence has shown that it is definitely not all despair. In fact, sites like Amolatina are now proven to promote stronger and more diverse relationships.

In the past, people tend to utilize the offline mode of networking in a bid to find prospective partners―and also consisted of both strong and loose connections.  Acquaintances or “friends-of-friends” are mostly attributed to these loose connections, as sociologists remark that it is an important factor in getting to meet the right dating partner. People are more likely to engage in a romantic relationship with people connected to their friendship circle, or someone they met in public places like a bar, cinema, recreational centre, work or even college; than someone they share extremely close ties with.

The dating world has experienced lots of changes over the past two decades. Online dating has become the second most popular way for heterosexual couples to meet, and the most common for homosexual couples in today’s society.

In response to the rise of online dating, economists Josué Ortega, from the University of Essex, UK, and Philipp Hergovich, from the University of Vienna, Austria, recently set out to examine its effects on society, as reflected in the data on how our marriages and relationships are building. Ortega explained via Skype that while he'd been witnessing the trend all around him, he realized he “had no idea” what the experience or real-world effects could be.

To achieve this, they both created a virtual network of men and women from different races, and each agent was looking to marry a member of the opposite sex. Firstly, the programmed model was made to reveal the effect caused if those agents could only marry those they had a mutual connection with, like a friend-of-a-friend. The result showed a rather low level of interracial marriages.

After that, the model was reprogrammed to include additional links (showing online dating matches) with the aim to achieve connection―and possibly marriage, between two agents who were previously unconnected. The result yielded drastically increased levels of interracial marriages.

By applying this framework, the pair then successfully showed through 10,000 simulations that utilizing online dating to our traditional partnering patterns―which is heavily reliant on people we already know, and who are often ethnically similar to us; could help explain the recent “unusual” surge in interracial marriages.

Utilizing a 2013 data from the National Academy of Sciences, they also discovered that marriages formed online had a lower break up rate within the first year, while such partners also indicated a higher degree of satisfaction.

Ortega also noted that, online dating platforms have provided people with real advantages—especially those who have a tough time meeting people in real life, maybe due to factors such as age, physical attributes, sexual orientation, or disposition―with the queer community and older people the most advantageous.

Overall, Ortega remarked that online dating should no longer be viewed as something to be embarrassed about.

“Online dating is seen as too superfluous and trivial,” he added, “and it has more important effects than most of us expected.”

“We found that online dating corresponds with way more interracial marriages, and way stronger marriages, from a mathematics perspective,” Ortega said.


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