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About six months after my son was born, he and I were sitting on a blanket at the park with a close friend and her daughter. It was a sunny summer weekend, and other parents and their kids picnicked nearby—mothers munching berries and lounging on the grass, fathers tossing balls with their giddy toddlers. Right yet, surveyed the idyllic scene.


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Six months after her divorce, Jo Carter, a project manager at a university in Madison, Wisconsin, thought she was ready to date. She had married her high-school prom date a year after graduating from college, and they were together for 19 years before splitting up. I just sat there looking at my computer thinking, What just happened here? But there was a whole lot going on in my brain that I may not have been consciously aware of. It was another six months before I went on my first date. According to Stephanie Coontz, a professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College, this is likely because of a reversal in how people think about marriage and commitment that occurred over the course of those decades.

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You went and showed yourself off. Despite having received 83 phone calls in four hours, Liz was sympathetic toward the man. The fact that human-to-human matches are less predictable than consumer-to-good matches is just one problem with the market metaphor; another is that dating is not a one-time transaction.

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In this way, people can easily become seen as commodities—interchangeable products available for acquisition or trade. M oira Weigelthe author of Labor of Love: The Invention of Datingargues that dating as we know it—single people going out together to restaurants, bars, movies, and other commercial or semicommercial spaces—came about in the late 19th century. T he de and marketing of dating apps further encourage a cold, odds-based approach to love.

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Popular Latest. T he idea of the dating market is appealing because a market is something a person can understand and try to manipulate. What dating does is it takes that process out of the home, out of supervised and mostly noncommercial spaces, to movie theaters and dance halls.

The Atlantic Crossword. The application of the supply-and-demand concept, Weigel said, may have come into the picture in the late 19th century, when American cities were exploding in population. And in online spaces populated by heterosexual men, heterosexual women have been charged with the bulk of these crimes. Recently, Liz matched with a man on Tinder who invited her over to his house at 11 p.

In Subscribe. When she declined, she said, he called her 83 times later that night, between 1 a. She estimates that she gets 10 times as many messages as the average man in her town. This can cause bitterness and disillusionment, or worse. While they have surely created, at this point, thousands if not millions of successful relationships, they have also aggravated, for some men, their feeling that they are unjustly invisible to women.

Or, it makes a dater think they can see the market, when really all they can see is what an algorithm shows them. The human brain is not equipped to process and respond individually to thousands of profiles, but it takes only a few hours on a dating app to develop a mental heuristic for sorting people into broad. The idea that a population of single people can be analyzed like a market might be useful to some extent to sociologists or economists, but the widespread adoption of it by single people themselves can result in a warped outlook on love.

A literature review also found that men are more active users of these apps—both in the amount of time they spend on them and the of interactions they attempt.

This makes supply and demand a bit harder to parse. This is, obviously, an absurd thing to publish on a company blog, but not just because its analysis is so plainly accusatory and weakly reasoned. To him, the idea of a dating market is not new at all.

Men out women dramatically on dating apps; this is a fact. But data sets made available by the apps can themselves be wielded in unsettling ways by people who believe the s are working against them. And the way we speak becomes the way we think, as well as a glaze to disguise the way we feel.

Given that marriage is much find love Atlantic commonly understood to mean a relationship involving one-to-one exclusivity and permanence, the idea of a marketplace or economy maps much more cleanly onto matrimony than dating. Actual romantic chemistry is volatile and hard to predict; it can crackle between two people with nothing in common and fail to materialize in what looks on paper like a perfect match. W hen market logic is applied to the pursuit of a partner and failspeople can start to feel cheated.

The marketplace metaphor also fails to for what many daters know intuitively: that being on the market for a long time—or being off the market, and then back on, and then off again—can change how a person interacts with the marketplace. The logic is upsetting but clear: The shaky foundational idea of capitalism is that the market is unfailingly impartial and correct, and that its mechanisms of supply and demand and value exchange guarantee that everything is fair.

More recently, a plethora of market-minded dating books are coaching singles on how to seal a romantic deal, and dating apps, which have rapidly become the mode du jour for single people to meet each other, make sex and romance even more like shopping.

Someone who refers to looking for a partner as a s game will sound coolly aware and pragmatic, and guide themselves to a more odds-based approach to dating. Their experience of not getting as many matches or messages, the s say, is real.

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Balls were the internet of the day. Read: The five years that changed dating. Even without these creepy blog posts, dating apps can amplify a feeling of frustration with dating by making it seem as if it should be much easier.

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But they may also suppress any honest expression of the unbearably human loneliness or desire that makes them keep doing the math. This happens to men and women in the same way.

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Read: The rise of dating-app fatigue.