Dating Sites Aren't Ruining Your Chances of a Happy Marriage

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laptop heartOnline dating has come a loooong way from its early dial-up modem days. But while we're mostly over the paranoia that looking for love online is only for total freaks and weirdos, some are still attacking the practice for something else: Being the bane of monogamy's existence! In an article in The Atlantic, journalist Dan Slater tries to convince us -- mostly through quotes from dating site higher-ups -- that "online romance is threatening" commitment and marriage. Because, apparently, having so many awesome partner (or hookup) options at the press of an app means we're more likely to have Teen Mom-length relationships.

Slater poses nervewracking questions like, "What if the prospect of finding an ever-more-compatible mate with the click of a mouse means a future of relationship instability, in which we keep chasing the elusive rabbit around the dating track?" Valid point, but the answer isn't what his article would have us to believe. And I should know.

After all, I'm marrying a guy I met online. After dating a LOT of guys who I met ... online. I'd say at least 50 percent of our friends who are now married or about to be met online -- on sites like JDate or Plenty of Fish. And yes! We've all decided to actually take the plunge, put a ring on it, and head down the aisle in order to build a life together. As opposed to have 24/7 access to an endless string of empty, drunk hookups, or as some might put it, "chase that elusive rabbit around the dating track." Shocking.

But, um, not really. Here's the thing ... Yes, online dating provides everyone with more extensive access to potential mates. But does that mean we all have to run around like an excitable child in a candy store? Only if you're about as mature as one. In other words, I'm pretty sure most people who use online dating as an excuse to avoid long-term love would still be commitaphobic if the year was 1985 and the dawn of online dating was still at least a decade away.

If you're too childish to realize you're with someone amazing, and you should marry them, it's not a dating website's fault.  To argue that the mere existence of online dating -- and the idea that we don't have to worry about "mate scarcity" anymore -- is causing people to pass on marriage, cheat, or divorce more readily drives me nuts. Because that concept is a lame attempt to take the responsibility off of us. It gives us free rein to act like Neanderthals. It's not "Jacob"'s fault that he can't commit. He's just way too distracted by all those pretty shiny random chicks' profiles on OkCupid! Puhlease! Sounds like logic that would only fly in a frat house.

But of course the biz folks behind online dating sites are going to want us to believe all of that. They aim to feed our deepest insecurities and neuroses about lifelong commitment and finding The One and worrying that The One we've found isn't good enough ... so we end up back on their site and make them wealthier! But those of us who actually want to have a serious, committed partnership that enriches our life know better. We're the ones going online to look for love and upon finding it, signing off -- for good. 

What do you think? Is the increasing availability of many potential partners at the click of a mouse causing the death of marriage?

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Findlay Findlay

Online dating is creating MORE marriages because dating sites like with thousands of members offer more choice and therefore a much greater opportunity to find your soulmate. 

mommy... mommytojack0524

Yes, there are hookups galore online, but you just have to use the same high standards you do in the "real world" if you are looking for a relationship. And that criteria helps you find a man who doesn't use the internet for hookups once you're in a committed relationship.  Cheaters cheat, they dodn't have to have the internet. Maybe that makes the hookups a little more accessible, but I believe that if a man is going to cheat, they will find someone.

I think some dating sites lean more toward serious relationships, others to more casual dating.  I met my husband on e-harmony. It takes quite a while to fill out their survey and then you have to be matched. I figured that any guy who took the time to do the survey was probably interested in a serious relationship (as I was). E-harmony seemed to be for those with a long-term relationship in mind.

nonmember avatar Megmoss

I think online dating is helping to create more marriages. I met my husband online on in may 2011. We met in person in June, moved in together in July, got engaged in September, and married July 2012. We both knew it was meant to be after our first date. Even though our parents lived 20 minutes apart and we had a couple of mutual friends, we probably wouldn't have met otherwise.

nonmember avatar Alli

I do think there are pros and cons. I met my boyfriend online and I am very happy; if it was not for online dating, we probably would have never met and we are so perfect for each other. Before I did online dating, I only met men I was introduced to and that was so limited, so online is a nice way for two people to meet on their own terms. However, for the past fifteen years, (and even more so lately) it has been difficult to meet somebody offline because everybody seems to be doing online dating now. I am not sure if it creates more overall marriages, people seem to take longer to decide who to date, men might be looking for the perfectly attractive sweet lady, woman might be looking for the perfect husband. I think now that everybody is looking online, it makes a more difficult dating society, as it is a large sea of people trying to find the right one, rather then meeting through small groups and finding someobdy you have in common. That being said, it is here to stay and could be a possitive things if done right.

nonmember avatar April

Awesome article.

nonmember avatar Dawn

I hate online dating I've never found someone with similar interest as me and every person I dated turned out to be weird or awkward and I don't want to be matched with some as social awkward as I am. eHarmony wouldn't even match me to anyone based on my survey, plus I don't have $30 or $50 some sites charge to spend. Plus it's a waste of time I can go for a walk around town or go to the beach with the amount of time I've wasted chatting with people that turned out to be freaks.
I'm not saying people can't find love via online dating but all the sites I have tried are full of people that share no interest as I do except maybe hiking but that's not enough if at the end of the day they give me a blank stare when I talk about my thesis research.

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