Here’s what singles are looking to during the pandemic

November 9, 2021
Here's what singles are looking to during the pandemic
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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has changed how singles across the country are dating – including how they’re picking partners, thinking about sex and more.  

According to Match’s 11th annual Singles in America study, a survey of more than 5,000 individuals in the U.S., singles aren’t rushing out to date just anyone. Instead, they’re focused on intentional dating instead of casual relationships.  

Helen Fisher, a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University and chief science advisor at Match, told USA TODAY that it’s a “historic time” for a “dating reset.”  

“(Singles) really want emotional maturity,” Fisher said. “It’s one of the top things that they want now, much more than finding somebody really good looking, finding somebody who has a lot of money, or finding somebody who they find sexually attractive.”     

Intentional dating  

According to the survey, 11% of singles say they “want to date casually,” compared to 62% who said that they “seek more meaningful, committed relationships.” Meanwhile, 65% said they want a relationship within the next year.  

And commitment isn’t the only focus for singles in the U.S.

They are also looking for financial stability, with the percentage of singles who expressed a “desire for a partner with an income at least equal to their own” spiking. Seventy percent of singles said they look for that financial stability in 2019, compared to 86% in 2021. Researchers also saw an uptick in singles’ desire for a partner with a successful career and a similar level of education to themselves.  

Justin Garcia, executive director of the Kinsey Institute and a scientific adviser to Match, told USA TODAY that this trend could be credited to the pandemic.

As stay-at-home orders lifted and many Americans got vaccinated against COVID-19, he said there was a “brief period” for some that “included a very short spike in adventure-seeking and being out and partying and maybe even sexual activity.” 

But that was overshadowed by a desire for committed relationships.  

“It’s not the roaring 20s,” Garcia explained. “There seems to be this real focus on dating not just to get out of the house, but dating to find someone to build a connection with and develop a relationship with.”  

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Marriage and sex during the pandemic

According to Match’s study, 76% of singles expressed “the desire for a partner who wants marriage,” up from 58% in 2019.  

“That’s an enormous jump, and it’s men more than women,” Fisher said.  

“Singles are growing up,” she added. “They’re looking for a very solid, stable partnership, including a long-term, really solid, very traditional commitment of marriage.”

But the study also found that 81% of men said they think sex is “less important in a relationship now,” versus “how they felt before the pandemic.” Eighty-seven percent of women agreed.  

That doesn’t mean singles weren’t interested in sex during the pandemic. Half of the singles in the survey reported that in the last 18 months, they have learned more about “how to please themselves and what to do (and not do) with a partner,” according to the survey.  

Garcia explained that singles aren’t “saying sex is not important in relationships.”  

“It’s just, all things considered, the relative weight,” he said. “People are saying it’s not leading.”  

Video dates

What can we expect from singles in the coming years? Garcia said it’s all about tech.  

According to the survey, approximately half of Gen Z and Millennial singles had a video date before meeting in person, and 71% “of these singles said their video date helped determine if they wanted to meet up in person.”  

“I’m totally convinced it’s a new stage in the courtship process,” Garcia said. “I’m convinced that people are using technology more thoughtfully, in terms of how we’re filling out profiles, how we’re starting chats with people, doing video dates.”  

And Fisher forecasted that a focus on committed relationships could signal “relative family stability” in the coming years for singles.  

“I think they’ve experienced this post-traumatic growth,” she said. “They’re growing up. They’re taking longer. They’re being more careful. They’re being systematic. They’ve found what they want.”   

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Life is like a running cycle right! I am a news editor at TIMES. Collecting News is my passion. Because my visitors have the right to know the truth and perfectly.

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