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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.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.
Is it creating a new reality in which people actively avoid real-life interactions?I felt a deep sense a rejection -- not personally, but on behalf of everyone at the bar.Instead of interacting with the people around her, she chose to search for a companion elsewhere online.The idea is that if you’re faced with too many options you will find it harder to pick one, that too much choice is demotivating.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.What’s more, many people who meet in the online sites that cater to hookups end up in long-term relationships.
This environment, mind you, is just like the one we see in the offline world.
"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.
"And mostly they're pretty unfounded." Rosenfeld, who has been keeping tabs on the dating lives of more than 3,000 people, has gleaned many insights about the growing role of apps like Tinder.
Of course, others have worried about these sorts of questions before.
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.
And that’s not the life that young people lead anymore.