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In a matter of minutes I would map out a new life for myself, one that fit the mold of whatever man I was messaging. But I soon noticed that the flip side to the disappointment of each mismatch or aborted romance was a mounting sense of strength and self-sufficiency, a hardening of character, a greater understanding of the woman I am when I’m intact.

There’s little like ghosting to delineate where we as human beings begin and end; and little like ghosting, too, to lay bare our own infinite reserves.

Worse still are the car selfies and nephew pics; the weird proliferation of taco and pizza emojis; the men who take it upon themselves to tell you who You’d think that I’d be used to it by now, for I’ve been ghosted again and again, first by Marc after a spontaneous road trip to Montreal; then by Alex after what I thought was a fruitful 12th date; then by Chris after I had nursed him through an LSD trip; then by Ben after he had introduced me to his 10-year-old son.

Perhaps I take these vanishings especially to heart, recalling to me as they do the unsolved mystery of my ex-husband’s disappearance.

And so it was that, some four months into singledom, I gathered the courage to join Ok Cupid and head to a wine bar with Pete, a musician-turned-accountant whom I chose for his spectacularly anodyne profile. But I am nevertheless here to offer a defense of online dating, not necessarily as a tool for finding a partner — I have no idea if the internet will ever yield me true love — but rather as a world-enlarging enterprise, and a means of rebuilding one’s self in the wake of separation.

I’ve had my air- conditioner stolen, inherited an Eames chair, expanded my music library a hundredfold, and made a dear friend, who, now that our fledging romance has failed, will be with me for life.

I have learned about spearfishing and Oceanic art, about life in the merchant marines and urbanism in late antiquity.

But I would think that who finds herself confronted by such baffling cowardice must suffer from them.

(And I should acknowledge, too, that I have also behaved badly at times, failing to write someone back once real life takes hold or sending squirmy messages in lieu of a clean break.)But for all this, what I’ve gained from online dating far exceeds what I have lost.

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    If you’ve been swiping a lot recently, check out 10 Signs You Have “Dating Fatigue”—And How to Bounce Back. The smarter thing to do is to project something more specific and unique that tells the world who you really are, like “I have an undeniable soft spot for 90s-era Steve Martin movies.” And if you want great profile advice, here are 20 Celeb Tricks for Always Looking Amazing in Photos. And for more online dating advice, here are The 11 Worst Dating-App Message Mistakes Men Make.