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A couple of months ago, I was sitting at a bar minding my own business when the woman next to me did something strange.Surrounded by potential partners, she pulled out her phone, hid it coyly beneath the counter, and opened the online dating app Tinder.There are online sites that cater to hookups, sure, but there are also online sites that cater to people looking for long-term relationships.What’s more, many people who meet in the online sites that cater to hookups end up in long-term relationships.
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.(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.I think these things are definitely characteristic of modern romance.Part of what you have uncovered during your research is how drastic the rise of online dating has been.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.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.In fact, people who meet their partners online are not more likely to break up — they don’t have more transitory relationships.Once you’re in a relationship with somebody, it doesn’t really matter how you met that other person.