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“It’s always ‘I wish I was as important as the basketball game or the concert.’ ” An only child, Jacob tended to make plans by negotiation: if his girlfriend would watch the game with him, he’d go hiking with her.

He was passive in their arguments, hoping to avoid confrontation.

She placed a high value on things he didn’t think much about: a solid credit score, a 40-hour workweek.

Jacob also felt pressure from his parents, who were getting anxious to see him paired off for good.

You know what to do with women, how to treat them and talk to them.

Add to that the effect of online dating.” He continued, “I often wonder whether matching you up with great people is getting so efficient, and the process so enjoyable, that marriage will become obsolete.” “Historically,” says Greg Blatt, the CEO of’s parent company, “relationships have been billed as ‘hard’ because, historically, commitment has been the goal.

She seemed independent and low-maintenance, important traits for Jacob.

“That’s just how it is.” Another online-dating exec hypothesized an inverse correlation between commitment and the efficiency of technology. But that thinking was based on a world in which you didn’t meet that many people.” “Societal values always lose out,” says Noel Biderman, the founder of Ashley Madison, which calls itself “the world’s leading married dating service for discreet encounters”—that is, cheating.

“I think divorce rates will increase as life in general becomes more real-time,” says Niccolò Formai, the head of social-media marketing at Badoo, a meeting-and-dating app with about 25 million active users worldwide. It’s exhilarating to connect with new people, not to mention beneficial for reasons having nothing to do with romance. “Premarital sex used to be taboo,” explains Biderman.

Having lived in New York and the Boston area, he was accustomed to ready-made social scenes.

In Portland, by contrast, most of his friends were in long-term relationships with people they’d met in college, and were contemplating marriage.

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