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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.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?The interview has been edited for length and clarity.You have one of the most unique data sets about modern romance. Well, one of the first things you have to know to understand how dating — or really courtship rituals, since not everyone calls it dating — has changed over time is that the age of marriage in the United States has increased dramatically over time.

The rise of phone apps and online dating websites gives people access to more potential partners than they could meet at work or in the neighborhood.

(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.

That's something not everyone thinks this is a good thing. The worry about online dating comes from theories about how too much choice might be bad for you.

The idea is that if you’re faced with too many options you will find it harder to pick one, that too much choice is demotivating.

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