As the co-authors write in their conclusion, “Internet dating has displaced friends and family [as] key intermediaries.” We used to rely on intimates to screen our future partners.
My family story also serves as a brief history of romance. But they’re supplanting the role of matchmaker once held by friends and family.
For the past 10 years, the Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld has been compiling data on how couples meet.
In almost any other period, this project would have been an excruciating bore.
That’s because for centuries, most couples met the same way: They relied on their families and friends to set them up.
Last week, I tweeted the main graph from Rosenfeld’s latest, a decision we both mildly regret, because it inundated my mentions and ruined his inbox.
“I think I got about 100 media requests over the weekend,” he told me ruefully on the phone when I called him on Monday.
A 2012 paper co-written by Rosenfeld found that the share of straight couples who met online rose from about zero percent in the mid-1990s to about 20 percent in 2009.
For gay couples, the figure soared to nearly 70 percent.
But to be free of those old crutches can be both exhilarating and exhausting.