In short, no. A new study conducted in the U.S. has proven (to the dismay of popular dating sites like Match.com, Mysinglefriend and OKCupid) that the help of the internet has not been as instrumental in the success of connecting lovers as we may have thought.
The American Sociological Review set out to prove, or disprove that dating sites, with all their fancy algorithms and niche focuses (think ChristianMingle.com, Shaadi.com, Gay.com, Datingvegetarian.co.uk) have probably made it easier to find a like-minded person when compared with the traditional method of wading through the ill-matched possibilities in the physical world. While those looking to settle down with someone more like themselves – a fellow vegan Yogi who loves dogs (because they have twelve), practices mixed martial arts and meditates for at least an hour a day (for instance), may have found the automatic match-making magic of the web a great time-saver, the statistics show that this is all it is. A time-saving tool. The internet has provided a smarter method for narrowing down the kind of lady or gent that you would like to meet, however post-meeting there is no evidence that more people are actually staying together and walking down the aisle thereafter. According to the study, the ‘partnership rate’ has not increased since the internet exploded onto the dating scene. This rate is based on the amount of people who are above 18 years old and are married and was around 72% in the 1960’s, falling to 51% in 2010, with the internet seemingly unable to influence the downward trend.
Where internet dating has been found most helpful is in the gay community, where 41% of couples who live together are said to have met online, opposed to just 17% of straight couples who live together. The study was conducted in the U.S, but before you argue that the same may not apply outside the States, remember that as far as internet dating goes, a staggering 40 million of the 54 million singletons in the U.S have tried internet dating at least once. And it still hasn’t made that much of a difference.