Research into online dating

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The age of first marriage is now in the late twenties, and more people in their 30s and even 40s are deciding not to settle down.The rise of phone apps and online dating websites gives people access to more potential partners than they could meet at work or in the neighborhood.This environment, mind you, is just like the one we see in the offline world.There’s no obvious pattern by which people who meet online are worse off. For people who have a hard time finding partners in their day-to-day, face-to-face life, the larger subset of potential partners online is a big advantage for them.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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They are important today — roughly one of every four straight couples now meet on the Internet.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.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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