If we parsed their fates according to the exact venue in which they met, or any other number of arbitrary factors, we would probably turn up the same kind of confusing, self-contradicting results that research into online dating perennially seems to.But those contradictions wouldn’t be blamed on the Internet — we’d credit the vagaries of the human heart.(This one, for the record, looked at marriages and other long-term relationships; if you’re not looking to tie the knot, its conclusions aren’t for you.) Then there’s a sort of secondary issue in how we define a site’s actual function, because despite the marketing hype, that isn’t clear.
Who really had the agency there: the dating app, or the dater?
It’s a question that applies equally well to offline dating, too: When a relationship fails, what or who is ultimately responsible? The length of time they took getting to know each other?
That’s not much different from your neighborhood bar, except in its scale, ease of use and demographics.
But in terms of actual function, the things we think of as uniquely “online” in online dating — the algorithms, the personality profiles, the “29 dimensions of compatibility” — don’t appear to make too much of a difference in how the enterprise “works.” Meanwhile, all this is happening during a time of enormous revolution in the way we conceive of relationships and commitment.
And a 2013 paper that suggested Internet access is boosting marriage rates.