Dating in America Today

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Dating in America Today

Americans’ Views on Dating and Relationships

Nearly half of American adults – and a majority of women – feel dating has become more difficult in the last ten years as more people turn to online dating and the #MeToo movement leaves its mark on the dating scene.

According to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in October 2019, the majority of those on the dating market – the 15% of American adults who are single and looking for a committed relationship or casual dates – are dissatisfied with their dating lives and find it difficult to find people to date.

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While men and women who are single and seeking are equally dissatisfied with their dating lives and the ease with which they may find people to date, women are more likely to claim they have had some particularly terrible dating encounters. Most women who are currently single and looking to date (65 percent) say they have experienced at least one of six harassing behaviors from someone they were dating or had been on a date with, such as being touched in an uncomfortable way or rumors being spread about their sexual history, from someone they were dating or had been on a date with. In comparison, 50% of males who are single and looking are single. The pattern holds true for all women and men, regardless of whether they are actively dating or not.

When it comes to dating, women are also more prone to see danger – both physical and emotional. When individuals who believe that dating has grown more difficult for most people in the previous ten years are asked to explain why they believe this, women are twice as likely as men to mention increasing danger. Men, on the other hand, are more inclined than women to believe that technology has made dating more difficult. Overall, 47% of Americans believe dating is more difficult now than it was ten years ago, while 19% believe it is easier and 33% believe it is about the same.

Singles seeking a relationship are often open to dating persons with a wide range of characteristics and origins. Large majority, for example, say they would consider dating someone of a different religion, race, or ethnicity than themselves. Most people also believe they would date someone who makes much more or less money than they do. Many people who are seeking for a relationship might be hesitant to be in a relationship with someone who lives far away, has a big amount of debt, or voted for Donald Trump.

Using Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, a nationally representative survey of 4,860 U.S. adults was conducted online Oct. 16-28, 2019 — before the coronavirus outbreak disrupted the dating landscape.

The following are some of the other major findings:

Most Americans say it’s harder for men to know how to behave on dates in the era of the #MeToo movement

The increased focus on sexual harassment and assault in recent years has made it tougher for males to know how to behave with someone they’re on a date with, according to a majority of the general population (65%). About a quarter (24%) believe it hasn’t made much of a difference, while 9% believe it has made it easier for males to know how to act. Fewer respondents believe that the increased focus on harassment and assault has made it more difficult for women to know how to deal with someone they’re dating (43 percent), while 38 percent believe it hasn’t made much of a difference.

Men – particularly older men – and Republicans are more likely than women and Democrats to believe it is more difficult for men to know how to act when dating in the #MeToo age, though majorities across the board agree. For example, compared to 63 percent of men younger than 50, 58 percent of women younger than 50, and 63 percent of women 50 and older, 75 percent of males aged 50 and older feel it is now more difficult for men to know how to behave on dates.

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