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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.

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I quizzed the crowds at my stand-up comedy shows about their own love lives.

People even let me into the private world of their phones to read their romantic texts aloud onstage.

Even a guy at the highest end of attractiveness barely receives the number of messages almost all women get.

But that doesn’t mean that men end up standing alone in the corner of the online bar. Take Derek, a regular user of Ok Cupid who lives in New York City.

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.

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 first woman he clicked on was very beautiful, with a witty profile page, a good job and lots of shared interests, including a love of sports.

After looking the page over for a minute or so, Derek said, “Well, she looks O. I’m just gonna keep looking for a while.” I asked what was wrong, and he replied, “She likes the Red Sox.” I was completely shocked. Imagine the Derek of 20 years ago, finding out that this beautiful, charming woman was a real possibility for a date.

Our phones and texts and apps might just be bringing us full circle, back to an old-fashioned version of courting that is closer to what my own parents experienced than you might guess.

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