Internet Dating: All that Glitters is Not Gold

match-268528_640Written by William Gossett

Today, the Internet offers almost everything, even a marriage partner. But according to a recent study done by Michigan State University, couples that meet online, tend to suffer from poor relationships and are more likely to separate within the first year.

This analysis, conducted by Aditi Paul, a doctoral candidate at Michigan State University’s Department of Communications, used survey data from 4,000 adults between 2009 and 2013. Aditi challenges an earlier study done by the University of Chicago, which implied that online relationships were stronger than conventional ones. Ironically enough, the dating site, eHarmony, funded the previous study.

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Online, people one can search for future spouses according to their tastes in music, food, job, culture, and more. However, in the process, marriage is cheapened. The search for a spouse becomes a plug and play scenario: select husband or wife, insert into life, and go.


Rather than understanding the reality of marriage, which entails sacrifice and work, the idea of finding one’s “soul-mate” plays into a romantic and sentimental fantasy about marriage. People think that they are going to live a perfect life, happily ever after, based on a profile description on some website.

Also, profile descriptions can be misleading. More times than not, people provide false or inaccurate information, which has a damaging affect upon a marriage.

Although marriages are affected, the moral problem continues to worsen. The study also suggested that those who date online are less willing to marry. CEO Sam Yagan of Match.com gives a clear answer as to why. He says people know they can quickly find someone else if their relationship goes bad. The sense of commitment and permanence are cast aside, while passions and pleasure are gratified.

The consequences of a lack of commitment weigh heavily upon society. Families become broken, not allowing the children to receive the proper and affectionate formation, spouses suffer from the break, and since the family is a necessary pillar of civilization, society is affected and suffers accordingly.

The online dating sensation only fosters a craze with destructive results. It should serve to Subscription11highlight that one cannot live life based on appearances and passions, but rather on morals and reason. Only then will society be able to function properly and flourish.

  • KevinToTheHeights

    This aspect of technology is as morally neutral as most. A dating website can be used appropriately. When I was living in a highly-protestant area and marriage-worthy women were extremely difficult to find, I met my future wife on a Catholic dating website. I knew right off the bat that she was in complete communion with the magisterium without wasting time, money, or emotional energy trying to find out. The website was simply a way of being put in contact with each other. We went on a date the first weekend after initially communicating online and never logged on again.

    The fact that so many people have weak marriages after meeting online is a result of secularism, not the online dating mechanism itself.

  • Jenn

    I met my second husband through the internet. I know it doesn’t work with everybody but I must say it certainly worked for me.

  • Chad

    I met my wife through an online Catholic website. Finding a woman faithful to the Church is challenging and the site brought me the right woman who I would have never met otherwise.

  • Because singles’ bars or a wishy-washy Theology on Tap at some far-left barely-Catholic parish are inherently better, because no one can ever lie there? Is that really the argument here? And surely, we aaaaall have people in our offline lives that can introduce us to upstanding Catholics….no? Didn’t think so.

    I try to avoid getting into the business of telling God how He may or may not bring people into my life, friends or otherwise.

    • no more mr. nice guy

      The article shares facts and findings. Why do they upset you?

  • JuliePower

    What about Catholic dating sites? At least you can meet some real and committed Catholics and you have something in common

  • Ryan

    I met my wife on St. Raphael’s Catholic website and we’ve been married for 11 years and have 5 boys so far. It’s interesting that society has come to this, but after converting to Catholicism in 1999 and trying to find a Catholic wife, I waited 3 years and decided that trying to meet a potential wife in person wasn’t working too well. For example, I’d try to just talk to a young woman after mass and she’d act like I was weird for talking to her. If I tried to meet a woman anywhere else besides at mass, it was highly unlikely that she’d be an orthodox Catholic. So I went online and found someone who totally followed the Church’s teachings.

    It seems odd that we’ve come to the point where online dating is a good idea, but I think if you’re looking for a spouse and have wholesome intentions, it’s better than doing many of the things people do while dating these days. I can’t speak for all online dating services, but I do endorse the concept of online Catholic dating.

    As a side note, one of my good female friends that I met on that same site got married about the same time I did and they have about 8 children now and are doing very well.

    On the other hand, if you’re in the situation where you can meet your spouse in person, I think that’s great. We are fortunate to know lots of solid, Catholic families with quite a few daughters close to where we live, so hopefully our families will stay in touch over the years and our children could potentially court each other. I wasn’t so fortunate having a non-Catholic family and not living in very Catholic areas as a young man. Hence, I decided to check out online dating.

  • Tess

    The Tridentine Mass has many young people who attend regularly. Traditional parishes are attracting young people and young families who generally have relatives who are looking for other traditional catholics who are interested in meeting good, solid catholics for friendships and possible future spouses.

    • Ryan

      Great point, Tess. We go to a FSSP Tridentine Mass now and there are great opportunities to meet other singles of various ages. Unfortunately many parishes seem to have no social activities and there are very few single people between 20-60, hence I went on a Catholic dating site to meet single Catholic women.

  • Di Ann

    I am in agreement with Janet….thanx….di Ann

  • Marie

    I have a hard time accepting the conclusions of this study or article. I certainly would never have thought my daughter would meet her boyfriend through an online dating site at the age of 21 and was skeptical when she first mentioned it but she tried it because she is not a partier, worked as a nanny and was a part time student at community college in a predominately female course of study. Church offered no opportunities. In fact, unfortunately it is rare to see guys her age in church and there a no groups for people her age.. The young men she had previously dated left much to be desired with their crude behavior, drinking, smoking, etc. Their lack of respect for her was appalling. The young gentleman she met online was a college student at a highly regarded college, does not smoke, drink or do drugs and believes in waiting till marriage for sexual relations. He respects her and treats her like a queen. I love that they had the advantage of talking online, phone and skype for 5 months prior to meeting which offered great opportunities to really get to know each other as friends and build a solid relationship. They each realize the other is not perfect but balance each other out. He encourages her to finish her education and she supports his new goal of a Master’s Degree. When disagreements arise they talk it through and know the importance of working at relationships and that sacrifices sometimes need to be made. He has been an absolute positive influence in her life. He’s an only child but comes from a solid family with parents (whom my husband and I have met) who are celebrating approximately 30 yrs. of marriage. Although he is not Catholic he has attended Mass with us and is open to the faith. My daughter and her boyfriend have just celebrated 2 yrs of dating and are looking forward to marrying in the church within the next 1 1/2. My husband and I could not be happier that she has had such an opportunity. While I do know of some online relationships friends have had that fit the above mold I also am aware of others where beautiful, loving, faith filled marriages have been created. Thus, I would hesitate to make such a general conclusion as to the detrimental effects of online dating. Sometimes that which glitters is gold. God does work in mysterious and sometimes technological ways!

  • Lynn

    Wow I met my husband of five years online and we went to mass on our first date. We are active Catholics and have the best marriage of anyone I know…..it’s been golden for us!

  • Daniel

    I met my wife on the internet, not the in best circumstances, but now we are married Catholic almost 12 years and 5 children, practicing Catholics.
    I think that first priority should be to meet people in a traditional Catholic setting, but if not successful, its not a mistake to search on solid Catholic dating websites, by choosing someone who really lives and practices a Catholic life.
    For my children, my advice is: find someone who believes in Jesus has a real devotion to the Blessed Virgin, is Catholic (or maybe Orthodox), and believes that marriage is until death do you part and to make a family / children. With these solid beliefs and a Catholic Church wedding commitment before God, chances are good that the marriage will be solid. with the help of the Holy Spirit.
    If you find that person at a parish, by chance or by a solid Catholic internet website, then so much better.

  • Paul Folley

    When I first heard of on-line dating/courtship it sounded bizarre, almost ridiculous. Like someone finding a spouse on eBay. I have since come to see it differently, and it is a viable solution now for many people. I am thankful I grew up in a world where we still made friends by meeting with other people in person. And we had lots of friends. That was a calmer time, before the internet, mobile phones, Facebook, etc. It was a less organized world, less regimented, more carefree. And it was happier. However I recognize that world is gone. People cannot find spouses easily in their local community or even by just ‘going out’. And Catholics are in an even more difficult position. The problem lies in not only the breakdown of the family (extended and nuclear) but in the collapse of community life. The social fabric that is formed when stable families interrelate in stable communities is impossible in today’s mobile techno-society. People and families have become like islands in a sea of humanity, without a supporting community. The village and small town where everyone knows everyone else, and where families know each other for generations, is a distant memory. In the lonely anonymity of modern society people do their best to create a computer-community in Facebook. This is understandable, and even necessary, but is a very poor substitute for a real social life.