The Internet is systematically changing who we date

From The Washington Post:

There are two conflicting theories about how the Internet might be transforming romance today. On one hand, the Internet could make it easier for people to seek out a partner that’s exactly like them. With a much bigger pool of people to choose from online, you have a greater chance of finding that perfect match who has a PhD, loves cats and musical soundtracks, and shares both your religion and love of nachos.

On the other hand, the Internet also expands people’s networks and exposes them to others that they would not necessarily meet in their daily life. Online, people are exposed to those of different races, religions and educational backgrounds they might not normally encounter at work, school, church or through friends. And that could be leading people to find more diverse partners.

More people are meeting their partners online than ever before. So it’s worth asking whether the Internet is transforming romance today.

In a recently published study, Gina Potarca of the University of Lausanne, in Switzerland, finds that the Internet appears to be a force for breaking down some of the social barriers that prevent people from marrying those who are different from them. To some extent, the Internet is leading to more mixing between people of different races, religions and educational backgrounds, the study shows.

Research over the decades has consistently shown that people are more likely to couple up with others who are similar to them in terms of race, education, religion and other factors. Social scientists call the tendency “endogamy.” These choices can lead to bigger divisions between social groups, such as the growing economic inequality we’ve seen in the United States from the rich marrying the rich and …

Continue Reading