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.”
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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