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Singles Seek Serious Relationships 4 to 1

( - July 15, 2003) has announced the results of an extensive poll of America's singles, conducted using independent researcher InsightExpress. Overwhelmingly, today's singles are not looking for a series of serial hook-ups, but rather for serious committed relationships. Unfortunately, the same singles are more devoted to their careers than their love lives by a factor of more than two-to-one, with men 18 to 24 being the only group that prioritizes their love lives evenly with their careers.

The dating scene itself did not receive high marks from today's singles, who overall rated the scene "OK" (60%), or "downright hated it" (27%) while only 5% said it was "great." It might not be a surprise that more than 40% said they couldn't even remember the last time they went on a date. Younger singles are more satisfied with the dating scene than their older peers -- with 18 to 24 year olds reporting four times as often as those over 40 that the scene is "great." Talking specifically about their own dating experiences, 33% of singles surveyed said it was "miserable," and 7% called it "excellent."

"If you want to have fun dating, then think like an 18-year old guy --and we're not talking about hormones, it's about making it a priority in your life the way they do," said Meredith Hanrahan, global vice president of online dating for Terra Lycos, the parent company of "Finding the right person is like searching for your perfect job, you don't want to leave either one to chance or the end result will be less than perfect. You have to take control of the process and use all the tools at your disposal and don't forget this is supposed to be fun."

So what's wrong with the dating scene today? Singles were evenly distributed in their assessment, with roughly the same number saying no one's looking for a serious relationship, there's not enough time to find someone, they don't know how to meet people or they just can't find anyone normal.

Some survey results:

Looking for Love in All the Same Places
Today's singles have some new options for finding love, but singles still meet more dates through friends and family (50%) than through other sources. Men 18-24 rely more on bars (35%) than any other sub-group, while the percentage who predominantly use online dating sites and personal ads as their primary resource grows with age from 3% of the 18-24s to 14% of those 40 and over.

Singles overwhelmingly prioritize work over their love lives, but work is the source of the majority of dates for only 14% of singles, even though 65% would date a co-worker. Ninety percent of men 18-24 would date a co-worker compared to 60% of men over 40, 64% of women 18-24 and 53% of women over 40.

The office party seems to lose its appeal as a source for romance as singles progress in their careers. The percentage of singles who have a "no-romance whatsoever" rule for office parties grows from 15% of men 18-24 to 40% of men 40 and over, and from 23% of women 18 34 to 61% of women 40 and over. Following the same pattern, while 25% of men 18-34 feel it's OK to have sex with a co-worker following an office party, only 4% of women 18-24 and less than 1% of the single women over 40 agree.

Is the Blind Date On its Way Out?
With family and friends acting as the source for the majority of dates for half the single population, it's surprising that 45% of singles have never been on a blind date. Fully 21% of singles would rather have a root canal than go on a blind date, and only 3% actually enjoy them. They are endured just to avoid staying home alone by 34%, while 41% think staying home alone is a better alternative.

Looking beyond Looks
When asked for the most important quality sought after in a potential mate, looks are more important to younger than more mature singles, and more important to men than women. Women 18-24 are ten times as likely to count looks as the most important quality in a potential mate as women 40 and over. The more mature groups of both sexes chose intelligence twice as often as their younger counterparts, and older women chose wealth four times as often as their younger counterparts. Roughly a third of all groups stated that a great sense of humor was most important.

Dating and Mating
When it comes to that all important first date, tried and true dinner and a movie is the choice among every group, with romantic walks, clubbing, museums and athletics all garnering a small fraction of the total. But deciding who should pick up the check starts to separate the men from the boys, as younger respondents think the guy should pay (51%) while for men 40 and over only 39% think that's the rule, and about 30% of women of all ages agree.

Regardless of who grabs the check, men in all age groups agree on the number of dates after which it's appropriate to have sex, with no statistically significant difference between the age groups. Women also agree across the age boundaries, but unfortunately they don't agree with the men.

Just over 28% of men think one date is all it takes while approximately 6% of the women agree. The three-date rule is one area of agreement between the sexes, with roughly a fifth of those sampled concurring. Those that think sex belongs only inside marriage is between 15% and 20% for all groups.

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