How Online Dating Shapes Our Relationships

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It’s peak online dating season.

According to Match.com, late December through Valentine’s Day is the busiest time of the year for dating apps and sites. It’s sometimes called “cuffing season” — a nod to the idea that people want to find a serious relationship during the cold months.

According to a Pew study conducted in 2015, its most recent look at online dating, 59 percent of American adults say going online is a good way meet people — a 15 percent increase from a decade ago. In fact, in 2015, 15 percent of American adults used a dating app or website — a number that has likely increased in the years since the study.

Clearly, Americans’ attitudes have changed about online dating. But how has online dating changed the connections we make?

To find out, Morning Edition asked two online daters who also spend their days thinking about online dating: Megan Murray, a senior content strategist for Zoosk, an online dating site and mobile app, and Skyler Wang, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of California Berkeley. Wang also taught an undergraduate course at the University of British Columbia called What Makes Us Click, about online dating and he gave NPR permission to use his course title for Morning Edition’s series on online dating.

What’s different today?

What was once taboo and unusual is so commonplace that for some, it’s strange to meet a date in person before making any online connection.

“I found that people don’t approach people as much when they’re in person when you go to bars,” Murray says. To read more from LAURA ROMAN, ASHLEY BROWN and ALYSSA EDES, click here.