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.
I am perpetually indecisive about even the most mundane things, and I couldn’t imagine navigating such a huge life decision so quickly. Happily so—and probably more so than most people I know who had nonarranged marriages.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.The biggest changes have been brought by the .4 billion online-dating industry, which has exploded in the past few years with the arrival of dozens of mobile apps.10 in., has brown hair, lives in Brooklyn, is a member of the Baha’i faith and loves the music of Naughty by Nature.Before online dating, this would have been a fruitless quest, but now, at any time of the day, no matter where you are, you are just a few screens away from sending a message to your very specific dream man. Throughout all our interviews—and in research on the subject—this is a consistent finding: in online dating, women get a ton more attention than men.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.But Derek of 2013 simply clicked an X on a web-browser tab and deleted her without thinking twice.Watching him comb through those profiles, it became clear that online, every bozo could now be a stud.Throw in the fact that people now get married later in life than ever before, turning their early 20s into a relentless hunt for more romantic options than previous generations could have ever imagined, and you have a recipe for romance gone haywire.In the course of our research, I also discovered something surprising: the winding road from the classified section of yore to Tinder has taken an unexpected turn.