The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

You have one of the most unique data sets about modern romance. Well, one of the first things you have to know to understand how dating — or really courtship rituals, since not everyone calls it dating — has changed over time is that the age of marriage in the United States has increased dramatically over time.

A recent report issued by the New York Times weighs in explaining why numbers and formulas are unlikely to help forge the perfect couple.

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For a monthly fee, dating sites claim they'll do the math for you and spit out your soul mate in return.

Some websites gather data about you and crunch the numbers with all kinds of mathematical formulas and algorithms in order to fill up your inbox with compatible matches.

In fact, by several measures, online dating has proved even more useful — both to individuals and society — than the traditional avenues it has replaced.

I spoke with Rosenfeld to hear more about his research, to learn about the ways in which the rise of online dating is defining modern love, and to talk about the biggest misconceptions people have about online dating.

But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts.

"There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.

Each and every profile is thoroughly examined before being approved.

Our system is clever in detecting bogus dating profiles, and as a back up measure members can easily report suspicious messages to our team of in-house moderators.

People used to marry in their early 20s, which meant that most dating that was done, or most courting that was done, was done with the intention of settling down right away.