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This Is Why You're Still Single, According to Science

Best Life logo Best Life 30/7/2019 Diana Bruk
a person sitting on a table © Provided by Best Life

There’s a lot of talk these days about how dating in the 21st century is harder than ever. Dating apps have given us too many options and have made us more judgmental and lazy than ever before. There’s even been recent research that suggests our reliance on technology has made us lonelier. But on Tuesday, Match.com released its annual “Singles in America” study, which revealed that the reasons why there are so many single folks these days are much more complicated. 

Every year, Match’s “Singles in America” study provides a deep analysis of the most recent dating trends based on surveys with more than 5,000 single adults in America, from 18-year-olds to 70-somethings. What they found this year aligns with our collective pessimistic views about romance: 42 percent of respondents think that “love feels lost” in today’s society. It’s a depressing statistic that seems to point to the common complaint that romance is dead and that we’re all doomed to be forever alone.

But renowned biological anthropologist and Match’s scientific advisor Helen Fisher refutes the widespread belief that dating in today’s day and age is uniquely difficult or that technology has made it harder to find true love. Rather, she believes that the reason there are so many single people is due to other cultural shifts.

The young are marrying much later because today both sexes want to get their career and their finances in order before they wed,” Fisher told Best Life. The findings in Match’s latest study do support Fisher’s points. A third of young people surveyed said their financial situation has held them back from from pursuing love.

“The divorce rate is also quite high and we’re living longer so there are more seniors who are singles,” Fisher added. “Women no longer need a partner to support them so they are getting pickier. Last, courtship is slowing down. Partners take a lot of time to get to know one another before wedding. Where marriage used to be the beginning of a partnership, now it is the finale.” 

Additional “Singles in America” data points to the idea that women are the driving force behind cultural changes in the modern dating scene. In fact, according to the 2019 study, women aged 18 to 39 were actually slightly more likely than men in the same age group to doubt whether or not they could handle a serious relationship (58 percent versus 52 percent).

Once again, Fisher attributes this to the fact that women have only recently been given the freedom to be more selective. “Women have to carry the embryo for 9 months and women (around the world) still do much more of the job of rearing infants during the very early years of childhood,” she said. “So women are the picky sex—they want to get it right!”

Ultimately, Fisher is optimistic about our dating prospects, estimating that “86 percent of singles in America will marry before the age of 49, they are just taking their time.”

So the positive takeaway is that while it may take us longer to find the right partner nowadays, when we do, we can be certain that they’re really The One. And for more of the most on the modern dating scene, check out this Expert-Backed Guide to Happily Flying Solo.

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