How to meet your future spouse

While reading an article on loneliness and whether Americans really are more lonely today than in past generations (answer: probably not), I came across to a reference to a research paper on how people meet their romantic partners. Now, the manuscript says right at the top, “do not cite without permission”, so I’m not going to link to the manuscript. You can click over from the article on loneliness if you want to read it. All data below is culled from that manuscript.

How do spouses originally meet?

Friends: In the past, couples met through friends (~40% in 1990). Today, less than 30% meet through friends, but it’s still the most likely way to meet a future partner.
Online: Works for about 22% of us.
College: About 11% of us met our spouses in college.
Family: This used to be the most common method, but today it is less than 10%.
Primary & secondary school: A huge shift from 21% in the 1940s to about 5% today.

Who has highest quality relationships?

That would be couples who met in church or in primary or secondary school, followed by those who met online. Those who met through family are less likely to rate the quality of their relationship as high.

Who is more or less likely to break up?

Couples who met in church or primary or secondary school are less likely to break up. Couples who met online are also less likely to breakup. Couples who meet through friends are more likely to break up.

Who most benefits from online dating?

Gays, lesbians, and older heterosexuals. This is because they are less likely to live in environments that contain other eligible singles in their demographic.

In sum: We’ve done away with matchmaking by family. If you met at church, you are probably in a great relationship – but good luck finding a spouse in that environment; it doesn’t say how many people meet in church, but it’s probably less than 7%. Meeting through friends is very common but also more prone to breakups. And online dating is a good way to meet a future spouse, especially if you’re in a niche demographic.


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Filed under Marriage, Single

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