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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.The apps have been surprisingly successful -- and in ways many people would not expect.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.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.

That was something people were legitimately concerned about.People have had that fear about the telephone and the automobile.They have even had it about things like washing machines.Look, there’s always a fear that comes with a new technology.The idea that the new technology is going to undervalue some really important social values is real and rampant.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."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.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.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.

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