The academics from the University of Chicago, Harvard University and Gestalt Research said their work – published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal – shows “evidence for a dramatic shift since the advent of the internet in how people are meeting their spouse”.
They questioned 19,131 respondents from across the United States who got married between 2005 and 2012, and found the percentage of marital break-ups was lower for those who met their partners online (6%) than in more traditional places (8%).
Couples who got together over the web also reported greater marital satisfaction, the researchers said.
Most couples who met in offline environments found each other at work (22%), or through a friend (19%), while 11% met at school and 10% at social gatherings.
Of the currently married couples those who grew up together or who met their spouse through school, place of worship or social gathering reported the highest levels of marital satisfaction, the study said, whereas those who met their spouse through work, family, bar, club or blind date expressed the lowest levels.
The study said: “These data suggest that the internet may be altering the dynamics and outcomes of marriage itself.”