The current mixed-methods study reports the results of a cross-sectional survey of 205 online daters and uses the Investment Model to examine the antecedents of commitment in online dating and users’ decisions to delete their online dating account(s). We hypothesized that the quality of alternatives, investments, and satisfaction with the online dating relationship would mediate the association between online dating intensity and commitment, which, in turn, would predict the intention to terminate an account. The analyses revealed that online dating intensity was associated with greater commitment and a lower likelihood of account termination. There were also specific indirect effects on commitment through the quality of alternatives, investments, and satisfaction, and on termination through investments. Responses to an open-ended question provided more information about users’ decisions to quit online dating. These results point to ways online dating may facilitate the desire for commitment while potentially undermining the long-term stability of relationships.

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New Media & Society
Department of Media and Communication

Sharabi, L. L., & Timmermans, E.B.R. (2020). Why settle when there are plenty of fish in the sea? Rusbult’s investment model applied to online dating. New Media & Society. doi:10.1177/1461444820937660