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A survey of 1,000 people commissioned by Slater and Gordon family lawyers found that:

  • More than one in five Australians would lie about how they met their partner if they met online or through app-based dating, such as Tinder, Happn or Bumble.
  • Men (25 per cent) were more likely to say they would make up an alternative meeting story than women (20 per cent).
  • New South Wales residents were the most willing to lie about how they found their happily ever after, while South Australians claimed to be the most honest:
  1. New South Wales (24 per cent willing to lie)
  2. Victoria (23 per cent willing to lie)
  3. Western Australians (21 per cent willing to lie)
  4. Queensland (21 per cent willing to lie)
  5. South Australians (18 per cent willing to lie)
  • Older Australians were more comfortable being honest if they’d met their partner online, compared to younger Australians who seemed to recognise more stigma.
  • 25-34 year olds were the most willing to lie about how they met their partner (38 per cent), closely followed by 16-24 year olds (35 per cent).
  • 45-54 year olds were the most comfortable with telling people they’d met online, with only 12 per cent willing to lie.

Changing dating trends and relationship breakdowns

Slater and Gordon Family Lawyer Dash Paudyal said online and app-based dating were creating new relationship challenges for modern couples.

“Dishonesty is a very common theme in the separation and divorce cases we handle, but the issue has reached new heights in the online and app-based dating world,” Ms Paudyal said.

“Many people exaggerate their dating profiles and it may seem like par for the course to embellish a little, but the temptation and ease of lying online is having a serious impact.

“There are those who get caught out in a ‘little white lie’ they told on their Tinder profile when their new partner matches the information against one of their social media accounts, but then there are more serious omissions that have severe consequences.”

Ms Paudyal said there is often a real distinction between the glossy online profile and a person’s real life identity.

“Many people tell us their partner bragged about having huge wealth and would take them out to fancy dinners, but then they give vague reasons why they couldn’t co-sign a home loan when it came time to move in together,” Ms Paudyal said.

“When the relationship breaks down, their bankruptcy status is revealed and their unwitting partner can be left with huge debt, as well as a broken heart.

“In other serious cases, people describe themselves as “happily divorced with two children” on their dating profile, but then don’t disclose their history of domestic violence convictions and AVOs.

“There are potential solutions to these issues, including a public register of domestic violence and the incredibly romantic option of looking up your new date on the bankruptcy register, but open and honest communication can also be useful.

“And also ask yourself whether lying about the way you met is really the best foundation for a relationship in a world where lying online is becoming such a serious problem.”

The survey also revealed one in seven Australians have dated someone they met through online dating websites or dating apps, including Tinder, Happn and Bumble.

Victorians were revealed to be the biggest adopters of online and app-based dating (16 per cent), but were also the least likely to have met someone at the pub or out clubbing.

Users of online or app-based dating
1. Victoria (16 per cent)
2. Queensland (15 per cent)
3. New South Wales (14 per cent)
4. South Australia (13 per cent)
5. Western Australia (12 per cent)

Encounters at nightclubs or pubs
1. New South Wales (29 per cent)
2. South Australia (25 per cent)
3. Western Australia (23 per cent)
4. Queensland (21 per cent)
5. Victoria (20 per cent)

The survey showed the younger generation preferred online or app-based dating over meeting someone while out on the town.

  • 24 per cent of 25-34 year olds reported using online dating, while only 19 per cent have met someone at the pub or while clubbing.
  • Conversely, dating apps were the least popular method for meeting people for every age group over 35 years old.
  • Online and app-based dating were also more popular among men (16 per cent) than women (13 per cent).
  • Despite the growth in digital dating trends among younger generations, traditional methods were still very popular across all age groups:

1. Through friends (56 per cent)
2. Through work (32 per cent)
3. At nightclubs, pubs or other venues (24 per cent)
4. At social or community events (23 per cent)
5. Online and app-based dating (14 per cent)
6. In public places, e.g. at the park, grocery store, public transport, etc (10 per cent)
7. Never been romantically involved with someone (9 per cent)