To be sure, many people remain puzzled that someone would want to find a romantic partner online – 23% of Americans agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate” – but in general it is much more culturally acceptable than it was a decade ago.
Online dating has jumped among adults under age 25 as well as those in their late 50s and early 60s.
Deception in young adult dating
When we first studied online dating habits in 2005, most Americans had little exposure to online dating or to the people who used it, and they tended to view it as a subpar way of meeting people.
Today, nearly half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a spouse or partner via online dating – and attitudes toward online dating have grown progressively more positive.
Changes in relationship formation and dissolution in the past 50 years have revealed new patterns in romantic relations among young adults.
The US Census indicates that young people are choosing to marry later and cohabitating more often than past generations.
“Instead of following a clear path from courtship to marriage, individuals are choosing to engage in romantic ties on their own terms – without the guidance of social norms,” said Tyler Jamison, a researcher in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS).