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This question was asked of everyone in a marriage or other long-term partnership, including many whose relationships were initiated well before meeting online was an option.Looking only at those committed relationships that started within the last ten years, 11% say that their spouse or partner is someone they met online.We refer to these individuals throughout this report as “online daters,” and we define them in the following way: Taken together, 11% of all American adults have done one or both of these activities and are classified as “online daters.” In terms of demographics, online dating is most common among Americans in their mid-20’s through mid-40’s.Some 22% of 25-34 year olds and 17% of 35-44 year olds are online daters.Half (54%) of online daters have felt that someone else seriously misrepresented themselves in their profile.
That is statistically similar to the 17% of online daters who said that this had happened to them when we first asked this question in 2005.
Compared with when we conducted our first study of dating and relationships in 2005, many more Americans are using online tools to check up on people they used to date, and to flirt with potential (or current) love interests: Young adults are especially likely to flirt online—47% of internet users ages 18-24 have done this before, as have 40% of those ages 25-34.
And while younger adults are also more likely than their elders to look up past flames online, this behavior is still relatively common among older cohorts.
In addition, people who have used online dating are significantly more likely to say that their relationship began online than are those who have never used online dating.
Fully 34% of Americans who are in a committed relationship and have used online dating sites or dating apps in the past say that they met their spouse or partner online, compared with 3% for those who have not used online dating sites.
Even today, the vast majority of Americans who are in a marriage, partnership, or other serious relationship say that they met their partner through offline—rather than online—means.