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I want you to be on the site at least three hours a week.” Uh-oh. Kindly, Hoffman refrains from mocking my unassisted self-description: “I’m a loving person who likes trying new restaurants and a sweet treat before bed.” (I never realized how dirty that sounds.) She asks about my hobbies, how my coworkers would fill in the “most likely to” blank. And if they occasionally get a positive response, they may figure it can't hurt to try again.

She then revises my profile, noting that I love cooking vegetables I grow in my garden, that Dave Chappelle has my kind of humor, that “meeting new people excites me: I could spend half an hour talking to the cashiers at Trader Joe’s.” Three-quarters of the profile should be about me, and the other quarter about what I want in a mate, says Hoffman, who tells me to be specific here, too: The goal isn’t to attract everyone, it’s to find The One. "In psychology research, we call this a 'variable reinforcement schedule,'" Lehmiller says.

Plus, being more active should bump my profile toward the top, so I’ll be more visible. Someone “likes” me and asks me out within three messages.

I should make my messages personal, advises Hoffman: “Comment on something in his profile and follow with a question.” Dutifully, I tell one bespectacled prospect, “I like melty ice cream, too. ” I have some interesting chats, but nothing leads anywhere. He’s into photography and makes his own pasta—and he is an Adonis.

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But at 44, I started to realize that if I want a companion before Social Security kicks in, I have to leave the couch.

“It’s more possible to find someone now than at probably any other time in history, particularly if you’re older.

You don’t have to stand in a bar and wait for the right one to come along,” says Fisher.

By the time he drops me off at my door, I’ve exceeded my time limit by three hours and 32 minutes.

It’s kind of like blowing a diet: You know what you’re supposed to do, but then you see dessert, and will power goes out the window.

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