Sunday, February 24, 2013

An Ounce of Prevention: "Too Many Flavors: Is Online Dating Decreasing the Chances for a Happy Marriage?"

This article *definitely* provides some food for thought. Here's an excerpt:

"In an extensively researched new book, Love in the Time of Algorithms by Dan Slater, the rise of internet dating is chronicled and the myriad effects studied carefully. The consensus of the research, the polling, and the dating experts is that the rise of online dating will mean an overall decrease in commitment. Internet dating makes people more disposable.

The owners of dating sites are thrilled; they don’t make money off of happily married people. Dan Winchester, the owner of a British dating website muses, 'I often wonder whether matching you up with great people is getting so efficient, and the process so enjoyable, that marriage will become obsolete.' Greg Blatt, the CEO of’s parent company, takes another tack, “Historically relationships have been billed as "hard" because, historically, commitment has been the goal. You could say online dating is simply changing people’s ideas about whether commitment itself is a life value.'

The stats seem to agree with those opinions, only 51% of adults in the US are married today, down from 72% in 1960, and the median age of first marriage is higher than it has ever been at 26.5 for women and 28.7 for men, up from a respective 20.3 and 22.8. The number of people getting married in the US has dropped each year for the past five years, despite a growth in the overall population. (Not surprisingly, the fertility rate in the US is at its lowest since 1920, and now is at 1.9, well below the 2.1 rate which is the replacement rate.)

All the challenges to the institution of marriage might be worth it if it meant that the single people who have thousands of dating options at their fingertips were happier for all their freedom and choice. But that seems not to be the case. When there are so many alternatives, people don’t invest in their relationships and thus find much less meaning and satisfaction in them. "



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