As lovers exchange their Valentine messages and gifts today, a new One Poll survey of 2,000 young unmarried adults for the Marriage Foundation found that more people are finding love online than anywhere else. The poll revealed that 29 per cent had met their partner through a dating app while 24 per cent in a domestic setting, 21 per cent at university of college, 15 per cent in another social setting such as a bar or club and just 11 per cent at work. But in a surprise development, the survey also revealed that young adults were more likely to find the love of their life on an app better known for looking for casual sex such as Tinder or Grindr.
The One Poll findings showed that 89 per cent of 18 to 30-year-olds who were in a relationship after using one of those sites hoped to get married to their partner and four in five “expected marriage at some point”.
This came ahead of online apps which are aimed at catering for looking for long term relationships such as eharmony or match.com.
These sites still performed well but below the one night stand sites with 84 per cent wanting to marry the partner they had found and 77 per cent expecting to get married.
Harry Benson, Marriage Foundation’s research director said: “These counterintuitive results (casual dating apps marginally out-performing long-term relationship apps) puts a sword to the lie that young people have fallen out of love with the idea of marrying – quite the contrary.
“As this survey finds those aged 18-30 overwhelmingly believe in and support marriage, regardless of whether they are looking for reliable love using relationship apps like e-harmony and bumble, or hook up sites like Tinder and Grindr.
“It also suggests that young people are perhaps less promiscuous than many of us imagine, with many looking for reliable love in the form of a stable and long-term relationship, just like everybody else.”
Sir Paul Coleridge, founder of Marriage Foundation said that the rise of online dating apps confirmed that men and women are still seeking stable relationships even if they are using new methods.
He said: “Every survey ever commissioned either by us or other research driven organisations into long term relationship aspirations always confirms the almost universal finding that both men and women want, as a priority in their lives, stable and reliable love and preferably marriage.
“To fulfil this ambition the young people now increasingly and somewhat desperately turn to dating and hook up sites as a means of finding ‘Mr or Mrs Right’.
“The deep-seated longing remains unfulfilled. So the aspirations have not changed over time only the ways in which we try to fulfil them.”
He added: “These findings are good news for marriage. As our previous work using the latest ONS data identified, during this time of national stress and strain, most married couples have weathered the COVID storm reasonably well with fewer considering divorce and substantially lower levels of regrets. Importantly young people get this, which is why they overwhelmingly want to get married.”