Online dating has ballooned into a billion-dollar industry and the Internet "may be altering the dynamics and outcome of marriage itself," said the study by U. researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
However, some experts took issue with the findings because the survey was commissioned by e Harmony.com, the dating site that attracted one quarter of all online marriages according to the research.
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Eli Finkel, a professor of social psychology at Northwestern University, led an extensive review of the science published about online dating last year.
He told AFP he agreed with the proportions found in the PNAS study.
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"The overreach occurs when the authors conclude that meeting a partner online is better than meeting a partner through offline avenues," Finkel said.Of those who did not meet online, nearly 22 percent met through work, 19 percent through friends, nine percent at a bar or club and four percent at church, the study said. When researchers looked at how many couples had divorced by the end of the survey period, they found that 5.96 percent of online married couples had broken up, compared to 7.67 percent of offline married couples.