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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.
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.
There are online sites that cater to hookups, sure, but there are also online sites that cater to people looking for long-term relationships.
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.
People used to marry in their early 20s, which meant that most dating that was done, or most courting that was done, was done with the intention of settling down right away.
And that’s not the life that young people lead anymore.
The age of first marriage is now in the late twenties, and more people in their 30s and even 40s are deciding not to settle down.
The rise of phone apps and online dating websites gives people access to more potential partners than they could meet at work or in the neighborhood.