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Does meeting your spouse online reduce the risk of divorce?

The increased use of online dating websites has led to one in three new marriages in the U.S. starting their relationship online. While many couples still meet offline, more couples are finding their spouses online and it could have an impact on the risk of getting divorced later on.

Married couples who meet online may be less likely to get divorced, according to a new study. The study reported that couples who meet through online dating websites and other online activities have better chances of a staying together and are more satisfied with their marriage.

Researchers studied 20,000 Americans who were married between 2005 and 2012. Of the individuals surveyed in the study, 35 percent of the people said they met their spouse online. When the researchers compared the divorce rate between couples who met online and couples who did not, they found that couples who started their relationship online had a slightly lower divorce rate.

The study reported that out of the 20,000 participants in the study, eight percent of the couples who met offline got divorced while only six percent of couples who met online got divorced during this time period.

Researchers were a little surprised by their findings but suggested that income could be another factor in the divorce rate among couples who met online. While the researchers said that couples who met online reported being happier in their marriages, they said that this could be due to the fact that people who make higher incomes are more likely to use online dating websites compared to people who make less money.

The researchers suggested that the reason more online marriages last and report better satisfaction could be due to the amount of money the couple makes. Studies have shown that couples with higher incomes are less likely to file for divorce since financial problems and money issues are one of the top reasons cited in divorce filings. So, if more people who use online dating websites to find their spouse already have higher incomes, they are already less likely to get divorced than other individuals who do not use online dating sites.

Source: GMA News, "Couples that meet online less likely to divorce, US study shows," June 7, 2013

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