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What I’m about to say is going to sound very mean, but Derek is a pretty boring guy.Medium height, thinning brown hair, nicely dressed and personable, but not immediately magnetic or charming.

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.

Eric and I weren’t digging into ­singledom—we were trying to chip away at the changing state of love.

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 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.As of this writing, 38% of Americans who describe themselves as “single and looking” have used an online-­dating site.It’s not just my ­generation—boomers are as likely as college kids to give online dating a whirl.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.Today’s generations are looking (exhaustively) for soul mates, whether we decide to hit the altar or not, and we have more opportunities than ever to find them.

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