People who meet their partners on dating apps often have stronger long-term relationship goals — contrary to the idea that technology encourages casual encounters rather than commitment, a new study has found.
Analyzing 2018 family survey data, researchers from Switzerland’s University of Geneva (UNIGE) studied a sample of 3,235 adults who were in a relationship and had met their partner in the past 10 years.
They found that couples who met on an app were more motivated to live together than others.
“The study doesn’t say whether their final intention was to live together for the long- or short-term, but given that 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,” Gina Potarca, a researcher at the Institute of Demography and Socioeconomics in UNIGE’s Faculty of Social Sciences, said in a statement.
Women who met their partners on apps also mentioned wanting and planning to have a child in the near future, researchers said, noting that this was more common in app romances than in other ways of meeting.
Couples who met on apps were just as satisfied with the quality of the relationship and the quality of their lives as those who met in other circumstances, researchers found.
“The internet is profoundly transforming the dynamics of how people meet,” Potarca said.
The study said that dating apps encourage “a mixing” of people with different levels of education, especially between high-educated women and lower educated men.
Apps may also facilitate long-distance relationships, as users can connect with users more than 30 minutes away, she added.
“Knowing that 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,” Potarca added.
The research was published in the journal PLOS ONE on Wednesday.