Couples who meet through smartphone dating apps are more motivated to move in together and have children, according to a new study.
Researchers found that online daters have stronger long-term relationship goals than peers who hook up in more traditional ways – such as at the office or pub.
Tinder and rivals such as Bumble, Match and Plenty of Fish have been criticised for fuelling casual sex.
But, contrary to popular belief, spreading the net wider increases the chances of settling down with ‘Mr or Mrs Right’, according to psychologists.
Researchers found that online daters have stronger long-term relationship goals than peers who hook up in more traditional ways – such as at the office or pub
An analysis of more than 3,000 over-18s in Switzerland showed couples who met on an app were more motivated by the idea of cohabiting.
Study lead author Dr Gina Potarca, of the University of Geneva, said it is viewed as ‘as a trial period prior to marriage.’
She said: ‘It’s a pragmatic approach in a country where the divorce rate is consistently around 40 per cent.’
What is more, women who found their partner this way have greater desires and intentions to have children than peers whose relationship was born offline.
And despite fears concerning a deterioration in the quality of relationships, dating app couples are just as sexually and socially satisfied as others.
Rising numbers are accessing the apps and browsing and swiping right on faces they like as daily stresses leave little time to find someone in real life.
The pandemic has only increased their popularity – with the internet set to become the leading birthplace of romance.
Dr Potarca said: ‘The internet is profoundly transforming the dynamics of how people meet.
‘It provides an unprecedented abundance of meeting opportunities, and involves minimal effort and no third-party intervention.’
Despite fears concerning a deterioration in the quality of relationships, dating app couples are just as sexually and socially satisfied as others
Only HALF of Tinder users have only ever been on ONE face-to-face date
Tinder claims to have made 30 billion matches to date, but many of those connections did not go beyond the digital world.
A new analysis found that many users do not meet their potential mate in-person and the chances of finding someone interested in a long-term relationship are very slim.
Researchers discovered that users need a very large number of matches in order to have just a few meetups – as only 50 percent of users met one match face-to-face.
Her findings, published in the journal PLOS One, add to increasing evidence dating apps boost the chances of compatibility – and reduce the risk of divorce.
Dr Potarca said: ‘Large parts of the media claim they have a negative impact on the quality of relationships since they render people incapable of investing in an exclusive or long-term relationship.
‘Up to now, though, there has been no evidence to prove this is the case.’
So her team looked at 3,235 participants in a Swiss government family survey who were in a relationship and had come across their partner in the last decade.
The most committed to sharing a home tended to be those who had met on apps rather than in a non-digital environment.
Dr Potarca said: ‘The study doesn’t say whether their final intention was to live together for the long or short term.
‘But given there’s no difference in the intention to marry, and that marriage is still a central institution in Switzerland, some of these couples likely see cohabitation as a trial period prior to marriage.’
Dating websites – the forerunners of apps – mainly attracted people over the age of 40 and divorcees looking for romance.
Dr Potarca said: ‘By eliminating lengthy questionnaires, self-descriptions and personality tests users of dating websites typically need to fill in to create a profile, dating apps are much easier to use.
‘This normalised the act of dating online, and opened up use among younger categories of the population.’
The study adds to increasing evidence dating apps boost the chances of compatibility – and reduce the risk of divorce
The study also found these apps play an important role in modifying the composition of couples by making them more diverse.
In particular, this applied to highly educated women and less educated men getting together.
Dr Potarca said this ‘may have to do with selection methods that focus mainly on the visual.’
Since users can easily connect with partners in their immediate region, but also in other spaces as they move around, the apps make it easier to meet people more than 30 minutes away – leading to an increase in long-distance relationships.
Dr Potarca added: ‘Knowing dating apps have likely become even more popular during this year’s periods of lockdown and social distancing, it is reassuring to dismiss alarming concerns about the long-term effects of using these tools.’
A previous study in the US found couples who meet online tend to communicate better and have longer, happier relationships. The rate of marital breakups was 25% lower.
The researchers suggested a greater pool of potential spouses might give users more options and allow them to be more selective.
Love after lockdown: Over half of Bumble dating app users are seeking more ‘meaningful’ relationships after experiencing loneliness in isolation
More than half of online daters are seeking long-term relationships after the coronavirus lockdown is lifted, according to a survey.
Dating app Bumble, which is known for letting putting ‘women first’, estimates that 52 per cent of its UK users will seek a steady partner post-social distancing.
The survey results suggest 55 per cent of UK Bumble users are also seeking more meaningful relationships online after experiencing loneliness during lockdown.
‘Pre-dating’ video chats – a feature launched last year that lets users meet online before an in-person date – has also seen more than a 40 per cent rise in lockdown.
This shift to video to meet people during lockdown has left a lasting imprint and is ‘here to stay’, the app’s developer has said.
The pandemic has also sparked a ‘slow love trend’ that gives users more time to allow a romantic attachment to naturally flourish.
‘Digital intimacy’ – including the sending of intimate photos and video via the app – is also expected to become more important by half of respondents.