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07-Jul-2017 05:05

(For gay couples, it's more like two out of every three).

The apps have been surprisingly successful -- and in ways many people would not expect.

People used to marry in their early 20s, which meant that most dating that was done, or most courting that was done, was done with the intention of settling down right away.

And that’s not the life that young people lead anymore.

It makes it easier for someone who is looking for something very specific in a partner to find what they are looking for.

It also helps the people who use the apps by allowing them to enjoy a pattern of regular hookups that don’t have to lead to relationships.

But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts.

"There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.

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I felt a deep sense a rejection -- not personally, but on behalf of everyone at the bar.For folks who are meeting people everyday—really younger people in their early twenties—online dating is relevant, but it really becomes a powerful force for people in thin dating markets.In a 2012 paper, I wrote about how among heterosexuals, the people who are most likely to use online dating are the middle-aged folks, because they’re the ones in the thinnest dating market.We see this in consumer goods — if there are too many flavors of jam at the store, for instance, you might feel that it’s just too complicated to consider the jam aisle, you might end up skipping it all together, you might decide it's not worth settling down with one jam. I don’t think that that theory, even if it’s true for something like jam, applies to dating.

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I actually don’t see in my data any negative repercussions for people who meet partners online.The interview has been edited for length and clarity.You have one of the most unique data sets about modern romance. Well, one of the first things you have to know to understand how dating — or really courtship rituals, since not everyone calls it dating — has changed over time is that the age of marriage in the United States has increased dramatically over time.Is it creating a new reality in which people actively avoid real-life interactions?



In the past, i.e. the 1990’s, online dating was a brand new idea. Unlike today, most people did not own PC’s or even have access to the internet.… continue reading »


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