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13-Dec-2020 10:42

For folks who are meeting people everyday—really younger people in their early twenties—online dating is relevant, but it really becomes a powerful force for people in thin dating markets.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.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.

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

A couple of months ago, I was sitting at a bar minding my own business when the woman next to me did something strange.