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Here I learn there’s a word for digital couples who’ve never met in person: They’re called “nevermets.” “Three years in and we’ve finally closed the distance!! “[f/22][m/28],” she clarified, meaning she was a 22-year-old female and her partner a 28-year-old male.

“Meeting him for the first time tomorrow.” A recent survey of the group found most members are young, between 18 and 23.“I guess people on online-dating sites know what they’re looking for, but these younger people in nevermet relationships aren’t really looking for love online,” the /r/Long Distance moderator, a 20-year-old college student who goes by Bliss online, tells me.

Seventy years ago, the Yale sociologist John Ellsworth Jr.

was researching marriage patterns in small towns and concluded: “People will go as far as they have to to find a mate, but no farther.” This still seems to be the case in 2018.

Inspired by this, Ok Cupid decided to poll users with the question, “What is the longest you’ve traveled to meet up with someone from a dating app?

I wondered what it would be like going on a first date with him, now that I sort of knew him.

But I had no plans to visit Austin and we lost touch.

A couple of weeks later, for work, I started combing through a data set of Ok Cupid “success stories”—blurbs that couples wrote in to let us know they’d found a soul mate or spouse through the site.

But sometimes people meet through internet communities that aren’t intended to be for dating.

On Reddit, I discover a community of around 50,000 in a group called /r/Long Distance.

Lonely and alone on a Saturday night, I started scrolling through Ok Cupid and, out of boredom and curiosity, expanded my search options to include users anywhere in the world.

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