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On her screen, images of men appeared and then disappeared to the left and right, depending on the direction in which she wiped.

I felt a deep sense a rejection -- not personally, but on behalf of everyone at the bar.

It’s harder to feel alone when you’re 23, because everyone is a potential partner.

But when you get to 40, most people your age are already settled down.

But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts.

"There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.

A couple of months ago, I was sitting at a bar minding my own business when the woman next to me did something strange.

Surrounded by potential partners, she pulled out her phone, hid it coyly beneath the counter, and opened the online dating app Tinder.

I spoke with Rosenfeld to hear more about his research, to learn about the ways in which the rise of online dating is defining modern love, and to talk about the biggest misconceptions people have about online dating.For folks who are meeting people everyday—really younger people in their early twenties—online dating is relevant, but it really becomes a powerful force for people in thin dating markets.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.