Online dating is bad

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

I actually don’t see in my data any negative repercussions for people who meet partners online.

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.

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