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The age of first marriage is now in the late twenties, and more people in their 30s and even 40s are deciding not to settle down.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.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.(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 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.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.Is it creating a new reality in which people actively avoid real-life interactions?Of course, others have worried about these sorts of questions before.It’s harder to feel alone when you’re 23, because everyone is a potential partner.

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