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It wasn’t until recently, when I stepped back to reflect on my time in the digital dating arena—a whirlwind of pretty faces and predictable interests and prosaic conversations—that I realized my lifetime date count had, like a strain of mutant amoebae, multiplied by more than sevenfold.

But only one date—and I went on close to 50 via online services—made it past the first encounter.

I’d like to say that this shift implies we’ve become bolder human beings, but that’s sadly not the case. Unlike asking someone out in person, you don’t have to muster the strength to walk up to someone, or even just call them, and possibly get rejected.

The vulnerability—and the spontaneity that goes along with it—in romantic connection is diminished; online dating may make you a more active dater, but it also turns you into a more passive romancer.

Soon enough, intoxicated by the possibility these services offer, I’d downloaded Tinder, the location-based dating app, and the Jew-finding app JSwipe (“Mazel Tov! Each one happened at a bar, which is not a bad place for a first date.

When I’d completed my new online profile, I sent it over to a female friend for vetting. A lack of interest on her part, a lack of interest on mine. As the search continued, I’d come home each night to my computer and spend hours scrolling through the vast sea of faces.

Occasionally, I’d see colleagues and acquaintances on Ok Cupid and wonder, in embarrassment, if they’d seen me, too.

The swiping and the searching is, for the most part, mindless (I would swipe right on almost every girl, just to see who was interested in me—a form of self-validation). “I really enjoyed going out with you,” she said via text, “but I’ve just decided to start seeing someone exclusively.”Then there was the 28-year-old divorcée (liked craft beer) I met for drinks in Williamsburg in April.

The whole romantic process was starting to feel forced, perfunctory, dehumanizing and, yes, expensive.“It never felt natural,” said a 28-year-old copywriter (likes Don De Lillo) who lives in Brooklyn and recently deleted his Ok Cupid and Tinder accounts in favor of offline encounters.

“I felt like I was working as a machine, pumping data into a function and hoping to find the right results.” “I used to think online dating was the best thing to ever come along, but now I think it’s almost a curse,” said a 43-year-old photo editor (really good at: swimming, cartwheels, eating French fries).