US twice as likely to meet spouse online dating than in bar

The chances are, if you’re a married person in the US, the bar or club is one of the last places you met your spouse. It’s true, at least according to a recent survey that was completed by CMB on behalf of Match.com. And that figure is dropping. In fact, you were half as likely to have met your partner at church as you were in one of the afore mentioned hostelries. And you were more than twice as likely to have met your long-term partner on a dating site.

The exact figures (for 2009/2010) for those categories, for those who like to see the statistics in black and white, are as follows:
• 8% of married couples independently surveyed stated that they’d met in the boozer
• 4% had met whilst they were at church – that definitely rules the UK being part of the survey, then, as I doubt 4% of the population, let alone married couples, regularly attend the place of worship of their faith
• 17% met whilst online dating

Okay, all studies can prove whatever you want them to; the criteria for this particular study of 7,000 US citizens was that they were 18+ and had been married in the last five years, but there may well have been other qualifying criteria that’s not detailed. You’ve probably had a go at taking part in online surveys yourself.

For example, most surveys have qualifying questions before you can take part, such as age, income, sex – you know the drill. How often have you filled in the qualifying criteria and the next screen has said something along the lines of: “Sorry, but we have all of the qualifying information from your sector that we need.”

That’s pure BS. What it should say is: “Sorry, but your ‘band’ is unlikely to deliver the answers the people paying us a lot of money to host this survey are looking for and if we don’t deliver, they won’t get the ‘evidence’ they need, so won’t use us again. You’re out of here!”

No doubt there is a ‘qualifying’ question, such as ‘have you ever used paid dating sites?’, for this type of survey.  If your answer was in the affirmative, you’re past the gatekeeper; if negatory, the bouncer is apt to decline your entry with a ‘not tonight, sonny’.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, the answers of the dating site survey strongly suggest that meeting your future spouse is still a lot more likely through someone in your family or a friend (27%) or at work (or for childhood sweethearts, school) 38%. That last statistic is quite huge, actually.

Based on that assumption, for every ten married people you know at work, (almost) four of them met their husband/wife in a similar work situation. Well, guys and gals, if you’re single and have a job (in the UK, for youngsters using online dating as a way to meet their first serious partner, the former is definitely more guaranteed than being in employment, sad as is the case), it seems well worth putting your glad rags on to go to the office if you’re looking for a long-term relationship.

Dating site turn offs – what not to share

Match.com recently conducted its second Singles in America study which we ran an overview of here on dating.org.uk a little while ago with the promise of embellishment upon these bones of the online dating industry as and when they became available during the course of the month.

Enough time has passed, it seems, for the renowned doctors, therapists and dating sites scientists to have dissected this information, drawn their conclusions and put them together in some type of meaningful format for the US singles market.

With the US economy little better off than our own, it is fair to assume that the results will have some relevance to the UK dating scene – how much you will only be able to judge for yourself as we interpret the statistics and percentages proposed by the giant of global dating with perhaps just a nod of acknowledgment to the 5,000 US singles who took part in the gruelling 135 question survey.

So, now you know from whence the information was gleaned, let’s get stuck into the sub-categories. The scientists chosen each had relevant experience in their niche and in homage to the construction of the survey, those doctors and therapists and relation experts have all stuck to their own field in providing their summaries.

We start with an appraisal by Dr Justin Garcia, scientific advisor to the dating site for the last two years, of the aspects of your dating site profile and offline dating behaviour that is going to kill any relationship stone dead before it’s even inhaled its first romantic breath. In other words, the deal breakers. There are several, and some more relevant to singles in some age ranges of the dating site membership than to others.

Being of US origin, the results contain several percentages relating to the adjudged panel’s answers but I will do my best to refer to them only when necessary; that many figures in an article make the news look like a maths exam and only geeks like those. Apologies to all the geeks, but that’s just not on.

In the following articles, we’ll take on board what US singles will just not put up with in their partners; article 2 will get their views on hygiene, article 3 will be about communication and bedroom Olympics – yeah, like trying to get a man to talk after sex in the UK dating scene’s ever gonna happen. Link to article two, here; article three – if you want forget about the dirty bits and just get straight down to the, well, dirty bits, here on Sunday, along with parenthood and distance relationships. See you over the page.

Darling, dirty sex doesn’t mean you don’t have to wash it

With the global dating industry worth $2bn, according to one recent study, it is safe to assume that whilst chatting to prospective partners you will come across many singles who just don’t do it for you. Sometimes you just can’t put your finger on why you’re not taken with another single, whereas other times it’s just staring you (and everyone else) in the face, except the lovelorn single who’s having no luck with any of his or her dating sites.

These instances, these absolute no-no’s, are called the deal-breakers in America speak. Details in one recent study conducted by Match.com of 5,000 of its membership suggest that there are many, but some deal-breakers are more equal than others.

Hygiene, to you and me, is just one of those things that you do. You may not feel like it sometimes, but you know how devastating it would be not only to your love life but to your career and social standing if you let these standards slip. Especially if you are a very pristine (that’s a nice way of saying vain) person who takes better than average care of the way they look. And smell.

Unsurprisingly, the unkempt person was berated by all age ranges in the Singles in America study, but there was most definitely a pattern. For the youngest bracket in the survey, the twenty-somethings, only 55% of them said that someone who was lax in their appearance would be a definite write-off as a date. Take the same query to the other end of the scale, the baby boomers, and hygiene matters a whole lot more. If you let your cleanliness slip when you reach retirement, you will have isolated yourself from a massive 8 out of 10 seniors in your age range on your dating site. According to those figures, expectations raise considerably with age.

The general feeling toward the scruffy single is that, if they cannot put together a smart appearance to attract someone in the first place, what consideration are they going to show to anyone unfortunate enough to give them a try on their dating site? Okay, it may be a habit that a partner slips into once you’ve been together for a while and they become illness- or unemployment-stricken, but when you’re setting out down the dating path and you encounter this type of offensive filth, you do not want to have to explain the importance to someone who should know better at their age.

To be fair, if they have been poorly or just got back into work, they may not have noticed their standards slip, and you may want to risk having a discreet word with them early doors about the problem. How they react to your suggestion will obviously determine whether you continue dating them, or not. If they are ignorant of their hygiene, you may want to risk it. If they react badly, they are possibly in denial – that’s up to you then to decide whether they possess the maturity to change or whether you let them go figure it out for themselves and leave it to the next member of your dating site community to find out whether they made good on any promises.

The dating site problem – cause, effect and solution: answer

The problem, as we’ve discussed in the first two articles, is how do dating sites retain market share when their success stories – those members who’ve found their product works – leave as soon as it does?

Well, let’s look at three of the biggest dating sites out there: Zoosk, Match.com and eHarmony. First, take a look at last year’s returns, then what their plans for 2012 are and how they affect you, the dating site member.

They all work in a similar way – you can browse for free, but then you have to commit to £20/month (ish) to get in touch with anyone who takes your fancy. Longevity of contracts differ, but that aspect of their business is very much of a muchness. It’s how each site views its members and what they’ve got in store which will shake up the 2012 dating market (or not, in some instances).

It’s fair to say that, whereas Zoosk has a massive pool of membership feeding off facebook’s getting on for a billion membership, the other two have had to build, or acquire, their memberships, granted. But it’s also fair to say that once Match.com and eHarmony get you paired off, you, the couple, are nothing more than a marketing tool for the companies’ success rates. This is where Zoosk hope to change the level of the playing field.

Match.com, by their own admission, target their efforts into delivering the best experience for the user whilst they’re single so that, should they meet up with someone and disappear for a while, as soon as they’re single again, they’ll be straight back online dating with them. Apparently, this is true of 50% of its membership.

eHarmony, similarly, is looking to enhance its existing dating site membership’s experience.  Early in Spring they plan to release a facebook app that will merge the two timelines. Nice feature, but you’re not going to entice members to continue paying their fees when they’re in a relationship and they can get facebook free, without eHarmony’s influence.

This is where Shayan Zadeh and Alex Mehr of Zoosk want to make a difference. Instead of focusing on their entrepreneurial efforts the site as it is – they have 100 developers doing that for them at any given time – but they want to introduce features that will be useful to couples after they’ve got together. In essence, it’s akin to LinkedIn, the job and professional networking social site. You may not actively be looking for work, but you never take your profile down and you do nip in from time to time on the off-chance (that you will work out how to use it properly, this time).

You can see why, out of the three, Zoosk is the fastest growing and although they’ve still a way to go before they catch up with the other two giants in the online dating world, with facebook at their back, new innovations and an unparalleled vision of the market, you can bet everyone else is looking back over their shoulders.

Some of the ideas tossed in the couple-retention pot so far are anniversary gifts, discountable products, such as dining for two, scrapbooks for their uploaded dating site photographs and, perhaps most beneficial of all, relationship advice. This could be key for people who’re getting together after a long time being single or having been widowed. And, providing the couple do not stop their membership fee, all these extras will be offered at no further cost.

Now, that’s what I call growing a business from within. Cost effective customer retention so that if the couple stay together, they’re on the dating site, if they break up, they’re there, too. Guys, pure genius. Told you 2012 will be different. You bet.

A survey of US dating singles reveals their outlook for 2012

Here in the UK, we have this impression that everything in the US is bigger and better than on this side of The Pond. Thanks to a survey of 5,000 of its singles by Match.com, we’re about to find if their online dating scene is vastly different to our own or remarkably similar.

The survey, launched to gauge the temperament and outlook of its US dating membership for the year ahead, is typically vociferous of the American public, airing their thoughts on politics, relationships, sex, love and, of course, online dating.

The questions ranged from liberal to conservative and being as intimate as to enquire about the participants’ current sexual proclivity to what are the absolute killers when it comes to deciding whether on online relationship is worth doing or dumping.

The first thing that is fundamentally different between the singles in the US and in this country is that political affiliation really counts for something. It is almost as if the US maxim of The Land of the Free is truly in-ground into its singles citizenship – as if everyone with an opinion truly believes they can make a difference; compare that with the level of indifference exhibited by the youth of the UK and it underlines why this study matters and what the British youth can learn from their peers on US dating sites.

The roll call for the contributors to the survey is, in the context of online dating, impressive to say the least. Some of the most recognised names from the world of dating site science were instrumental in both formulating the quiz and assessing the results from the 5,000 participants.

And rather than just posting the results and saying: that’s that, deal with it, each of the renowned dating site scientists will be opining their views on the elements relavent to their own field of study over the coming weeks.

In our next couple of articles, we’ll take a look at some of the surprising results that have been published and will follow up over the coming weeks with the dating site’s scientists views and assessments as they are published.

Surprising statistics about the US male single

American men. Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Bruce Willis. Solid, dependable, proper men. Where are their proteges?

Looking at the results of the latest dating site survey from Match.com, they’ve all gone west, by the look of things.

The men who took part in the latest questionnaire must have been all ‘modern’ man as the results attest to some traditionally feminine virtues shining through. Depending upon how you view your man’s role in a dating relationship will either have you cooing at the prospect or throwing up – I’m staying non-committal, just reporting the facts, yer-ronnah.

By the time the males had reached the tender age of 30, 58% of those participants had an undying faith in love at first sight and reckon on having had experience of just that and the accompanying emotional relationship. Compare this to just over half of the women saying the same thing, you would have to surmise the latter are either more pragmatic or leave the whole falling in love thing until a bit later on, when they have more of an idea of what they’re looking for, especially as many of that age group have grown up with dating sites. Perhaps the ladies used dating site platforms more in their adolescence and realised there were more fish in the sea whilst the guys were trying out for the football or baseball teams, who knows?

But this theme continues. A whole ten percent more of men believed it more acceptable to show their feelings in the street, with 41% open to snogging in public compared to the 31% female vote. This sort of ties in with the loneliness vote, too.

More than a quarter of men believed solitude to be a challenging element of the single life, compare to a mere 22% of women. However, loneliness overall was just shaded by the feminine vote with a third reporting it as either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ stressful, compared to the men of whom just 31% saw being alone as a real issue.

Perhaps the male leaning overall to the loneliness issue explains another finding that dispells one urban dating myth and that’s their fear of the ‘c’ word. Despite popular rumours, men are willing to commit to a partner who is everything they are looking for but feel no love towards (31% men, 23% women) and a similar theme to being able to commit without feeling a stirring in the groin to accompany their devotion, with 27% of men stating that they could commit to a partner they do not feel sexually attracted to compared with only 22% of women admitting the same.

Much more to come from the study tomorrow, where we’ll be looking at the physical aspects of dating and long-term relationships, such as living together, appearance, life goals and sexual orientation. Can hardly wait.

US dating site survey reveals partners politics matters

Today we are looking into the results from the latest survey from Match.com. This one, of 5,000 of its dating membership, throws some interesting light on how politics affects the chances of US singles getting any action and some surprising insights into men’s feelings on subjects that are traditionally the domain of the female of the species.

The first of our articles gets right to the core of why singles in the US and the UK differ so much when it comes to dating. In the UK, we leave politics to the graduates and the unionists (those left, any way); in the US, it seems that everyone believes in their right to be heard, whether it be a single voice on a dating site or as part of a larger crowd on the steps of Congress.

All men are equal, except some are more equal than others

Staying faithful is seen as an absolute must for whoever is in residence at The White House, even more so than in a relationship with the average man or woman on the street. Of those surveyed, there were definite signs that fidelity is still a desired aspect of any relationship, with 62% of the male respondents saying it is imperative, whereas females registered much stronger opinions on the matter, with 8 out of 10 of them considering ‘forsaking all others’ as the foundation to a successful partnership.

However, it seems that all men are not created equally after all in the eyes of these particular US voters. Feelings ran a lot higher when it came to their country’s leadership with 87% of men stating that there was no justification for politicians at any level to stray outside the marital home with 91% of women seconding that emotion.

The politics of dating didn’t end there, with clear differences between the levels of bedroom activity for those following different political pathways, even within individual parties. Conservative Republicans proved that the sex doesn’t have to end when the honeymoon does, with 4 out of 10 reportedly ‘very satisfied’ with their married sex lives, the highest vote in that category. However, given the fact that they were the political group that had notched up the fewest knee-tremblers in the last year, you would have to say that some people are most certainly easily pleased. ‘Once a week on a Saturday night’ crowd do we think?

The singles of each of the main parties also are looking for very different things in their perfect partners. Liberal Democrats are actively seeking people who are very much on their own level – in sense of humour, an independent lifestyle and of equal social standing. On the other hand, Republicans are straight down the line – their partners must be of the ‘same background’ and same political allegiance, with marriage being the focus of their dating attention.

I wonder how many singles in the UK can even name all three main party leaders…? What do you mean, “You thought there were only two?” Saying nothing. x