If you're feeling lonely this Valentine's Day, here's a rationalization: The probability of finding someone compatible in the world -- by even the thinnest criteria of age, education, attractiveness and sanity -- is tragically small.
Life's best natural filters are exhaustible (friends of friends of friends) or time-specific (you can't stay in college forever). The modern world's artificial filters (matching algorithms) are of questionable help. Then there is the paradox of choice. Even after you think you've settled, Facebook presents boundless options of plausibly superior alternatives, nudging us to "trade up."
In an effort to shift the blame away from our individual failings, let me suggest another explanation for why finding love stinks: The market for mates is structured to fail, especially on the Internet.
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