The project uses survey data from Australian and UK couples to look at the significance and impact of the Internet on intimate relationships, including how people use ICTs to meet each other and maintain relationships, and how ICTs affect their behaviour.

Me, My Spouse and the Internet 2011 Global Report

An important aspect of the way in which the Internet influences our everyday life is the way in which it reconfigures not only how we communicate, but also with whom we communicate; how we meet people but also who we meet.

This theme of ‘reconfiguring access’ is an important element of several of our research projects. The Oxford Internet Surveys (OxIS) have recently paid special attention to social networks and relationships formed through the Internet. Other examples of projects in this area include the eSocial Science (OeSS) project, the Companions project and research on mobile phones.

The project contributes to our research into the impact of the Internet on social networks by looking at the significance and impact of the Internet on intimate relationships.

Internet and Marriage: Research Questions

Meeting a partner

What role does the Internet play in introducing married couples? What are the geographic, socioeconomic and psychological characteristics of people who first met their partner online compared with those who met in more traditional ways?

Online behaviour

Which online behaviours are considered unacceptable in a partner? What are the expectations within a marriage about online self-disclosure to others?

Maintaining relationships

What role does the Internet play in the quality of married life? How important is online communication in resolving marital conflict?

Methodology

This study will collect data through online surveys of married couples who used the Internet in 19 countries. A total of 9300 couples will be expected to answer the survey. Participants will be recruited from an international company specializing in online panels. Upon completion, participants will be asked to allow their spouses to complete the second half of the questionnaire. Questions asked of both participants will be identical.

Support

This research project is supported by a grant and collaboration from eHarmony, a US-based online match-making company supporting research on the science of relationships. We would like to continue and extend this project over time, and to include civil-contract and long-term cohabiting couples. Parties interested in supporting work in this area, or who have enquiries about this project, should contact Dr Bernie Hogan.

Articles

Presentations

  • Dutton, W.H., Helsper, E.J. and Whitty, M. (2008) Marriage and the Internet. Presented at One Plus One seminar, 30 July 2008.

Reports

Working papers

  • ‘One fifth of spouses’ net snoop

    Date Published: 7 April 2008

    Source: BBC News

    Coverage of the OII project: 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Meeting, Dating and Marriage in the Digital Age'

  • Couples admit spying on each other

    Date Published: 8 April 2008

    Source: Marie Claire

    Coverage of the OII project: 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Meeting, Dating and Marriage in the Digital Age'

  • Couples admit to ‘snooping’ on each other

    Date Published: 8 April 2008

    Source: The Telegraph

    Coverage of the OII project: 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Meeting, Dating and Marriage in the Digital Age'

  • Couples turn to online espionage

    Date Published: 8 April 2008

    Source: vnunet.com

    Coverage of the OII project: 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Meeting, Dating and Marriage in the Digital Age'

  • Have you spied on your partner?

    Date Published: 8 April 2008

    Source: Guardian News Blog

    Coverage of the OII project: 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Meeting, Dating and Marriage in the Digital Age'

  • One in five couples admit to ‘snooping’ by reading each other’s texts and emails

    Date Published: 8 April 2008

    Source: The Daily Mail

    Coverage of the OII project: 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Meeting, Dating and Marriage in the Digital Age'

  • Online spousal spying widespread in the UK

    Date Published: 8 April 2008

    Source: The Register

    Coverage of the OII project: 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Meeting, Dating and Marriage in the Digital Age'

  • Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match … if the algorithms agree

    Date Published: 6 October 2008

    Source: The Times

    Coverage of the OII's 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' project, looking at the Internet and relationships

  • Brits value sex and in-laws, Web dating company finds

    Date Published: 7 October 2008

    Source: Reuters

    Coverage of the OII's 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' project, looking at the Internet and relationships

  • How to live and love online

    Date Published: 7 October 2008

    Source: BBC News

    'It has often been said that opposites attract but research suggests that initial spark of attraction soon fades and does not make for a long and happy married life': coverage of the 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' project

  • Virtual Affair Yields Real Divorce For UK Couple

    Date Published: 14 November 2008

    Source: The Huffington Post

    Ellen Helsper comments on the impact of the Web on relationships: 'The online drama shows how emotionally invested some people have become in their virtual identities'

  • Virtual affair leads to real divorce for UK couple

    Date Published: 15 November 2008

    Source: Chicago Tribune

    Ellen Helsper comments on the impact of the Web on relationships: 'The online drama shows how emotionally invested some people have become in their virtual identities'

  • Middle-aged are most likely to look for love online and a THIRD say they found partner on web

    Date Published: 14 February 2011

    Source: Daily Mail

    Coverage of an OII report on changes in online dating, part of the 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' project.

  • Internet makes matches made in heaven

    Date Published: 14 February 2011

    Source: The Scotsman

    Coverage of an OII report on changes in online dating, part of the 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' project.

  • Middle-aged most likely to seek love on the web

    Date Published: 14 February 2011

    Source: Toronto Sun

    Coverage of an OII report on changes in online dating, part of the 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' project.

  • Middle-aged people looking for love online

    Date Published: 14 February 2011

    Source: The Times of India

    Coverage of an OII report on changes in online dating, part of the 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' project.

  • Internet playing Cupid for middle-aged people:study

    Date Published: 14 February 2011

    Source: Daily News and Analysis (India)

    Coverage of an OII report on changes in online dating, part of the 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' project.

  • Bernie Hogan interviewed on Radio Oxford

    Date Published: 14 February 2011

    Source: BBC Radio Oxford

    Bernie Hogan discusses the findings of an OII report on online dating

  • Bernie Hogan interviewed on Radio Kent

    Date Published: 14 February 2011

    Source: BBC Radio Kent

    Bernie Hogan discusses the findings of an OII report on online dating

  • Middle aged most likely to seek love on the web

    Date Published: 14 February 2011

    Source: Reuters

    Coverage of an OII report on changes in online dating, part of the 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' project.

  • Middle-aged ‘look online for love’

    Date Published: 14 February 2011

    Source: Press Association

    Coverage of an OII report on changes in online dating, part of the 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' project.

  • Middle-aged most likely to seek love on the web

    Date Published: 15 February 2011

    Source: Vancouver Sun

    Coverage of OII report on changes in online dating, part of the 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' project

  • Middle-aged most likely to seek love on the web

    Date Published: 15 February 2011

    Source: The China Post

    Coverage of OII report on changes in online dating, part of the 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' project

  • What effect has the internet had on finding love?

    Date Published: 1 May 2011

    Source: The Observer

    Alex Krotoski refers to the 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet' report on the impact of the Internet on intimate relationships, published earlier this year by OII researchers.

  • The Plankton Generation

    Date Published: 4 August 2011

    Source: Daily Mail

    Bernie Hogan references OII research on online dating in an article on the dating prospects of middle-aged women and the partner choices of middle-aged men.

  • Wie das Internet das Liebesleben bereichert

    Date Published: 27 August 2011

    Source: Science.orf.at

    William Dutton is interviewed after his talk on "Meeting and Dating Online" given at the annual Austrian Institute of Technology Forum in Alpbach (in German).

  • Internet dating increasingly used by middle-aged

    Date Published: 28 October 2011

    Source: BBC Radio West Midlands

    Bernie Hogan was interviewed by BBC Radio West Midlands morning news show about his study into online dating as part of the BBC "Give an Hour" initiative to help people online (from 42:00 on the iPlayer clock).

  • 60 seconds with Bernie Hogan

    Date Published: 31 October 2011

    Source: Oxford Today

    The Oxford Alumni magazine interviews Bernie Hogan about social network sites and online relationships. He says the next step is to make the online world as natural as walking into a room full of friends.

  • Money can’t buy me love – or can it?

    Date Published: 13 February 2012

    Source: Irish Times

    An article in the Irish Times timed for St Valentine's Day on the costs of dating refers to OII research on online dating.

  • The science of falling in love: Finding the perfect partner online

    Date Published: 29 March 2012

    Source: Metro

    A feature about online dating highlights eHarmony and notes that the system it launched in the UK in 2008 was developed with the help of the Oxford Internet Institute.

  • Little love as dating websites face complaints over contracts

    Date Published: 4 March 2013

    Source: Independent.ie

    The European Consumer Centre in Dublin has seen a rise in the number of complaints since 2011 as more Irish singles use Internet dating sites.  The report refers to the OII report 'Me, My Spouse and the Internet.'

  • Tonight: Looking for Love

    Date Published: 29 October 2013

    Source: ITV

    ITV article (including online video) features comments from Dr Bernie Hogan who says online dating is no longer stigmatised; 30% of people looking for a partner do so online.

  • Tinder: the app that’s changing the way singletons meet and fall in love

    Date Published: 24 November 2013

    Source: The Observer

    Tinder, a dating app which shows photographs of potential dates within a maximum distance set by the user, is the next step in internet dating says Bernie Hogan. It is more individualising than existing online dating sites he says.

  • The algorithm method: how internet dating became everyone’s route to a perfect love match

    Date Published: 9 February 2014

    Source: The Observer

    The Observer looked at various online dating sites. eHarmony’s scientific, evidence based approach to matching couples is highlighted and research with the OII at the time of its launch is given as evidence of eHarmony’s serious approach.

  • New apps make adultery harder to hide

    Date Published: 18 October 2014

    Source: The Times

    The Times reports on the development of apps to assist unfaithful partners cover their tracks whilst others assist the suspicious to check up on their partners. Bernie Hogan comments.