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Hook-up culture on Tinder isn't what it used to be, either. Short-term sexual relationships over one-night stands seem to be what users crave, according to a new study published by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. With more and more users whose desires are shifting, the stigma of finding a mate online is lessening.

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But is all this easy dating making us happier? Rejection is real, even online You send a message to a match that goes unanswered. You swipe right and never have it reciprocated. You go on a date, only to be "ghosted" afterward. Rejection hurts, and not just metaphorically. Being turned down stimulates the same part of the brain that processes physical pain, according to a study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Basically, our brains can't tell the difference between a broken heart and a broken bone.

Instead of one rejection at a bar on a Saturday night, the popularity of online dating gives users many more opportunities to feel rejected faster.

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Widower Warren Cooper never would have met the skydiving piano teacher in the course of his daily life. She lived 90 miles away, and they had no friends in common.

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In , three years after losing his wife of 46 years to colon cancer, the retired petroleum geologist had relocated from Houston to the East Texas Piney Woods, on Sam Houston Electric Cooperative lines, where he built a house from plans he found on the Internet. He tried the singles group in Livingston, 10 miles to the east and the closest town, and he kept his eyes open at Sunday services at the Methodist church, but none of the unattached women were his type. The piano teacher was adventuresome and cultured. As a former Army paratrooper, Cooper found the combination especially appealing.


As with his house plans, he found her on the Internet, in this case on www. Most of these folks reside in cities and suburbs, but a growing number live in small towns or on farms and ranches. For country singles, electronic matchmaking is a logical choice. Cultural and sports events, churches and civic clubs, bars and gyms, even supermarkets and shopping malls put them in contact with dozens of potential partners. But for rural singles, the pool is shallow. Or they were—until the advent of Internet dating. Amid photos posted of men standing next to their Porsches and women in Anne Klein cocktail suits are farmers astride state-of-the-art John Deeres and cowgirls combing prize-winning Santa Gertrudis.

The romance with the sky-diving piano teacher fizzled, but Cooper soldiers on. His goal is to meet someone every Saturday. Typically, after exchanging e-mails with a match and visiting by phone, Cooper will make a lunch date. He may drive miles each way to a restaurant; and three times out of four, that first meeting is the last.

Still, he finds it worth the effort.

Many times, the budding romance had wilted by Sunday afternoon. They wanted to find someone who understood their lifestyle. The Internet boasts scores of specialized dating sites. Many focus on religious preference—such as JDate for Jewish singles, www.