“I’m about 95 percent certain,” he says, “that if I’d met Rachel offline, and if I’d never done online dating, I would’ve married her.At that point in my life, I would’ve overlooked everything else and done whatever it took to make things work.
“I went from being someone who thought of finding someone as this monumental challenge, to being much more relaxed and confident about it.In Portland, by contrast, most of his friends were in long-term relationships with people they’d met in college, and were contemplating marriage.Jacob was single for two years and then, at 26, began dating a slightly older woman who soon moved in with him.He was passive in their arguments, hoping to avoid confrontation.Whatever the flaws in their relationship, he told himself, being with her was better than being single in Portland again. Now in his early 30s, Jacob felt he had no idea how to make a relationship work. Would permanence simply happen, or would he have to choose it? All of a sudden I was going out with one or two very pretty, ambitious women a week. They dated for a few months, and then she moved in.Rachel was young and beautiful, and I’d found her after signing up on a couple dating sites and dating just a few people.” Having met Rachel so easily online, he felt confident that, if he became single again, he could always meet someone else.After two years, when Rachel informed Jacob that she was moving out, he logged on to the same day. Messages had even come in from people who couldn’t tell he was no longer active.Of course, no one knows exactly how many partnerships are undermined by the allure of the Internet dating pool.But most of the online-dating-company executives I interviewed while writing my new book, Love in the Time of Algorithms, agreed with what research appears to suggest: the rise of online dating will mean an overall decrease in commitment.Almost immediately, he was surprised by the difficulty he had meeting women.Having lived in New York and the Boston area, he was accustomed to ready-made social scenes.