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This is the age of DIY-everything, in which individuals are charged with the full-service construction of their careers, lives, faiths, and public identities.When in the 1840s the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard called anxiety “the dizziness of freedom,” he wasn’t slamming the door on modernity so much as foreseeing its existential contradiction: All the forces of maximal freedom are also forces of anxiety, because anybody who feels obligated to select the ingredients of a perfect life from an infinite menu of options may feel lost in the infinitude. Our friends and moms were underserving us.”Historically, the “underserving” was most severe for single gay people.(Read: The 5 years that changed dating I figured my Twitter audience—entirely online, disproportionately young, and intimately familiar with dating sites—would accept the inevitability of online matchmaking.But the most common responses to my post were not hearty cheers.But to be free of those old crutches can be both exhilarating and exhausting.As the influence of friends and family has melted away, the burden of finding a partner has been swallowed whole by the individual—at the very moment that expectations of our partners are skyrocketing.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.

Derek Thompson: The future of the city is childless But dating has changed more in the past two decades than in the previous 2,000 years, thanks to the explosion of matchmaking sites such as Tinder, OKCupid, and Bumble.

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.

Once upon a time, wealthy families considered matrimonies akin to mergers; they were coldhearted business opportunities to expand a family’s financial power.

Even in the late 19th century, marriage was more practicality than rom-com, whereas today’s daters are looking for nothing less than a human Swiss Army knife of self-actualization.

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