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Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Meeting, Dating and Marriage in the Digital Age

Me, My Spouse and the Internet: Meeting, Dating and Marriage in the Digital Age


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?


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.


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.

Key Information

  • eHarmony
  • Project dates:
    January 2008 - February 2010

    All Publications



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


    Working papers



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