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Instead of interacting with the people around her, she chose to search for a companion elsewhere online.

I wondered to myself, is this what online dating has done to us?

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.

In fact, by several measures, online dating has proved even more useful — both to individuals and society — than the traditional avenues it has replaced.

I spoke with Rosenfeld to hear more about his research, to learn about the ways in which the rise of online dating is defining modern love, and to talk about the biggest misconceptions people have about online dating.

It’s harder to feel alone when you’re 23, because everyone is a potential partner.

But when you get to 40, most people your age are already settled down.

Part of what you have uncovered during your research is how drastic the rise of online dating has been.

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.

"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.

They are important today — roughly one of every four straight couples now meet on the Internet.

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