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The question nagged at me—not least because of my own experiences watching promising relationships peter out over text message—so I set out on a mission.

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These were women whom Ok Cupid had selected as potential matches for him based on his profile and the site’s algorithm.

I quizzed the crowds at my stand-up comedy shows about their own love lives.

People even let me into the private world of their phones to read their romantic texts aloud onstage.

I learned of the phenomenon of “good enough” marriage, a term social anthropologists use to describe marriages that were less about finding the perfect match than a suitable candidate whom the family approved of for the couple to embark on adulthood And along with the sociologist Eric Klinenberg, co-author of my new book, I conducted focus groups with hundreds of people across the country and around the world, grilling participants on the most intimate details of how they look for love and why they’ve had trouble finding it.

Eric and I weren’t digging into ­singledom—we were trying to chip away at the changing state of love.

Our phones and texts and apps might just be bringing us full circle, back to an old-fashioned version of courting that is closer to what my own parents experienced than you might guess.

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