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Thursday, 29 November 2012 16:26

Australia’s digital heart stripped bare

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Technology makes our day more efficient but also plays an integral part in how we interact, establish and terminate relationships, according to new research from the Australian branch of dating website eHarmony.

The independent survey of more than 2,000 Australians found technology is key in the courting practices of people of all ages, with 60 per cent of baby boomers (55-64 year olds) saying they rely on Google for planning the perfect date; and the same number of Gen Z (18-24 year olds) using SMS as the main form of contact following a first date.

Jason Chuck, Managing Director of eHarmony Australia says the survey reveals what an important role technology plays in relationships.

“Five years ago my parents would have laughed if I had told them they could find a compatible partner via a computer or phone. The old-fashioned phone call is great, but love is now definitely online and mobile,” said Chuck.

Since 2007, the number of marriages from eHarmony Australia has only accelerated with the site having been responsible for almost one in every 50 marriages over the last five years, which equates to almost 11,000 eHarmony Australia weddings.

The site apparently now boasts over 1.5 million registrations.

South Australian couple Claire and Miguel Martin-Reyes were one of the first couples to be matched on eHarmony Australia, tying the knot earlier this year.

“My sister encouraged me to go online after I toyed with the idea for some time, and meeting Miguel changed my life. I agree when he says we have a lot of balance in our relationship. We complement each other so well, from our values to the way we do things, that we just feel comfortable and relaxed,” Claire says.

Other findings from the research include:

Textual chemistry
With smartphones now being used by 8.8 million Australians, these devices have played an increasingly central role in Australian relationship rituals. One in 10 Australians say they have used an SMS to say “I love you” for the first time.

Sadly, eHarmony’s research found that the same number of people has been dumped via SMS, email or social media. One in seven people aged 18-24 believe it’s acceptable to end a relationship via SMS or social media – probably because the same number has actually done so.

Saucy selfies
eHarmony found nearly one in five Australians has sent or received a risqué photograph. This is highest in Western Australia with one in four residents saying they’ve done so. Across the country, almost one in 10 people aged 45 and over have sent a naughty snap.

Relationship updates
One in 10 Australians prefer to let the world know about a new relationship via Facebook, with Canberrans the most likely to use social media to publicise their new relationship status. However, an overwhelming majority of Australians still prefer to tell their friends and family about new love via a phone call.

Searching for love
Nearly one in 10 Australians has found love online. 35-44 year olds are the most successful as one in six have found love online. Breaking common online dating perceptions are 18-24 year olds with one in four saying they know at least one person who has tried online dating.

Older not necessarily analogue
Chuck warns not to discount older generations as technophobes – one in 20 of those aged 65 or more have used email to say “I love you” for the first time.
“Considering it’s a generation you would most typically associate with the pen and paper era, it’s fantastic to see them merging the old and the new in the 21st century dating ritual” said Chuck.

Chuck concluded: “After five years in Australia we know that what’s important to people is compatibility, and finding that person that isn’t perfect, but perfect for them. Helping thousands of people do this is something we’re extremely proud of – it brings us a lot of joy every day.”

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