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He’s right that it can be hard to escape these old gender dynamics when dating, especially online dating.

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But another new book about modern relationships, Eli Finkel’s contends that while “the institution of marriage in America is struggling ...

the best marriages today are better than the best marriages of earlier eras; indeed, they are the best marriages that the world has ever known.”Because marriage for many is no longer a gateway to adulthood, but rather an optional “capstone,” it’s held to a higher standard.

But men have more power in the mating market in this model, which leads to women also embracing, or at least going along with, cheap sex and some of the rude behavior that comes with it.

Regnerus doesn’t talk much about LGBT relationships, except to say that these market dynamics might make women more likely to “experiment with same-sex relationships,” to circumvent the problem of noncommittal men.

If the modern mating market has made people more isolated, and if smartphones and other technology are increasingly mediating human relationships and driving us to distraction, shouldn’t the value of a present and proximate companion increase?

Still, there is a lot in Regnerus’s analysis that is uncomfortably astute.

He sounds a bit like your proverbial grandma cautioning that a man will never buy the cow if he’s getting the milk for free.

He goes on: “In the domain of sex and relationships men will act as nobly as women collectively demand.

In previous eras, this exchange was effective at producing marriages (though it also went hand-in-hand with strict sexual mores and women’s subjugation).

But now that sex before marriage and sex outside of relationships is common, safe, and less stigmatized, men don’t have to work as hard for it, according to Regnerus.

This is an aggravating statement for women to read, no doubt.

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