In their article "Calling Dr. Google: How People Search for Marriage Advice Online" published this week, Kelly M. Roberts and Molly Weems of the Institute of Family Studies recently found through research that U.S. citizens use the popular search engine to help them identify marital issues and find solutions to improve their relationships.
In their analysis, Roberts and Weems found that people look through data under two major themes, which break down into separate, smaller parts.
Major Theme 1: Internal and Emotional Processes
When people search on Google, they often look for internal and emotional processes, which are personalized phrases that help people look inward so they can better themselves, according to Weems and Roberts.
These processes break down into Terminal Questions and Reality or Truth-Seeking Questions. Terminal Questions are asked by people who feel their relationship is nearing its end and are ready to "face facts about the 'death' of their relationship," according to Roberts and Weems.
Reality or Truth-Seeking Questions are used more often and deal with users looking to "normalize or validate their own experiences as well as get answers."
Major Theme 2: Information Searching Frameworks
The second common theme deals with Information Searching Frameworks, which include questions that seek to identify solutions and general information about relationships. These searches, according to Weems and Roberts, help people contextualize their own relationships. Most often, users will search with phrases like "How do I ...?" and "Should I ...?" with this theme.
An important minor theme: Micro-stories
As Roberts and Weems conclude, a lot of Google searches about relationships are also connected to people's personal stories. They'll type out full paragraphs about what they're experiencing and will use them to find answers about what they should do next.
More than just searches, the internet is packed with dating advice websites to help people deal with their ongoing relationship issues. Websites like Marie Claire, eHarmony and YourTango all offer articles and blog posts that detail specific relationship experiences and discuss the wider, national topics about relationships.
"Whether you're freshly single or just getting back into the game after a self-imposed hiatus, you'd never turn down some of the best dating advice and tips, would you?" Marie Claire asked.
While these websites may be go-to destinations for advice, it's true too, as the IFS article explained, that those in relationships get their advice from simple searches on Google.
Here below, we've pulled some of the most common relationship search terms based on our own Google searches.