Are online international relationships real relationships?

False Prejudice About Dating Apps: Online couples are just as happy

A new study from Switzerland suggests: Couples who met through dating apps are by no means more unhappy than those who met in analogue life.

The study was also able to refute the prejudice of superficiality in dating apps.

According to the study, online dating even leads to more diversity in relationships - especially when it comes to the partners' level of education.

Dating apps like Tinder or Bumble have a bad reputation with many because they seem to create superficial connections between people. Connections that - according to the prejudice - are based on appearance rather than on deep emotional ties.

However, a new study that has just been published in the specialist magazine “PLOS One” now suggests the opposite: that couples who have met via a dating app do enter into deep connections - often even deeper ones than partners who get through Met by chance in real life. For the study, a research team from Switzerland analyzed data from 3,250 adults. They come from the so-called “Swiss Household Panel” from 2018, an annually repeated long-term study on living conditions in the country.

This time the participants were also asked about their love affairs. 500 of them had met their partner on the Internet - through a dating app, a website or other digital dating services. The researchers were also interested in the circumstances in which they got to know each other: How exactly did the participating couples get to know each other? What did they want in order to develop together further?

Online dating users often plan for the long term

The results contradict common prejudices about dating apps and the type of relationships that arise from them: Those who met online were therefore more likely to want to move in with the other in the near future and have children - compared to those who met in the "real world".

"We actually found that couples who met through dating apps have in many ways even greater ambitions when it comes to long-term family and relationship planning," said study director Gina Potarca from the University of Geneva in an interview with the British Guardian ". “Greater ambitions than couples who meet offline or via other digital channels (which have nothing to do with dating, editor's note) to have met."

Potarca and his team also found that - unsurprisingly - couples met online more often than in previous years. The researchers also found that dating apps brought people from different backgrounds and from different parts of the country together - thus changing the “dating map”. For example, the apps created more long-distance relationships than in previous years - after all, when it comes to online dating, nobody is forced to look for a partner only in their immediate geographic area.

Online and offline couples are equally satisfied

In a certain way, online dating also makes our relationships more “diverse” if you look at the educational status of the couples who met through it. According to the study, dating apps lead to more people with different levels of education falling in love with each other - this is especially true of highly educated women and less educated men. Study director Gina Potarca says that "could be related to the selection methods that focus primarily on the visual."

Whether that's true or not, it makes no difference to relationship satisfaction: Potarca's study found that couples who met online were just as happy in their relationship as those who met in the analog world. That gives the researcher hope. "Given that dating apps have likely become even more popular during lockdown and social distancing, it's nice to be able to cast aside alarming doubts about their long-term effects," she says.

Important to know: The researchers' questions were aimed at people in heterosexual relationships who had stated that they wanted children. In addition, almost all of the participants were people who live in Switzerland. The study is no guarantee that you will find your dream person with "Grindr" or "Her". But: It points to the growing trend that people can find their partner online and become happy with him or her.


This text has been partially translated from English. You can find the original here.