The Enduring Effect of Internet Dating: Meeting Online and the Road to Marriage



This study takes a relational stage approach to understanding the role of online dating in the progression of relationships toward marriage. Fifty interviews were conducted with individuals from across the United States (ages 21–62; Mage = 33.42) who were married or engaged to someone they met via online dating. The results present a comprehensive view of online dating through 4 stages and 13 subcategories of relationship development. Participants described meeting through a process of technology-enabled relationship initiation. Once the relationship escalated offline, they entered a period of multimodal development that demonstrated the enduring influence technology continued to have after meeting in person. Throughout this process, participants stressed the role of online dating platforms in breaking down barriers and reinforcing divisions. Three outcomes for marriage were also uncovered. Findings from this study suggest that online dating is changing more than where couples meet and have theoretical and practical implications.
Date made available2023
PublisherSAGE Journals

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