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Throw in the fact that people now get married later in life than ever before, turning their early 20s into a relentless hunt for more romantic options than previous generations could have ever imagined, and you have a recipe for romance gone haywire.
In the course of our research, I also discovered something surprising: the winding road from the classified section of yore to Tinder has taken an unexpected turn.
I learned of the phenomenon of “good enough” marriage, a term social anthropologists use to describe marriages that were less about finding the perfect match than a suitable candidate whom the family approved of for the couple to embark on adulthood And along with the sociologist Eric Klinenberg, co-author of my new book, I conducted focus groups with hundreds of people across the country and around the world, grilling participants on the most intimate details of how they look for love and why they’ve had trouble finding it.
Eric and I weren’t digging into singledom—we were trying to chip away at the changing state of love.
Almost a quarter of online daters find a spouse or long-term partner that way. It provides you with a seemingly endless supply of people who are single and looking to date.
Let’s say you’re a woman who wants a 28-year-old man who’s 5 ft.
The question nagged at me—not least because of my own experiences watching promising relationships peter out over text message—so I set out on a mission.
I read dozens of studies about love, how people connect and why they do or don’t stay together.
Before online dating, this would have been a fruitless quest, but now, at any time of the day, no matter where you are, you are just a few screens away from sending a message to your very specific dream man. Throughout all our interviews—and in research on the subject—this is a consistent finding: in online dating, women get a ton more attention than men.
If she were at a bar and smiled at him, Derek of 1993 would have melted.
He wouldn’t have walked up and said, “Oh, wait, you like the Red Sox?! ” before putting his hand in her face and turning away.
If he walked into a bar, you’d probably go, “Oh, there’s a white guy.” At our focus group on online dating in Manhattan, Derek got on Ok Cupid and let us watch as he went through his options.
These were women whom Ok Cupid had selected as potential matches for him based on his profile and the site’s algorithm.
What I’m about to say is going to sound very mean, but Derek is a pretty boring guy.