Report: The State Of Dating In America

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What happens when you bring two of the world's biggest dating sites together, and throw an independent research firm into the mix?

A whole lot of interesting info happens, and the State of Dating In America report is born.

JDate and Christian Mingle teamed up with a handful of experts to survey more than 2,700 singles about dating, relationships, love, and sex. All respondents met the following criteria:

  • English speaking
  • Male or female
  • Located in the United States
  • Between the ages of 18 and 60
  • Single marital status
  • Online or offline dater who is currently not married and dating or planning to date in the near future, OR is in a relationship with a partner for less than two years

The lengthy report sheds light on the complexity of the contemporary dating landscape, and reveals a significant trend toward more open-minded stances on issues surround sex, gender roles, and dating. Singles these days have a more liberal attitude than ever before:

  • 87% think online dating is a great way to meet people.
  • Both men and women believe it's safer to meet someone online than in a bar.
  • 85% say it's acceptable to have sex before marriage.
  • 91% of Jewish singles and 84% of Christian singles would live with a partner before marriage.
  • 78% of single Christians and 60% of single Jews are open to marrying someone with kids.
  • Most singles, regardless of their gender, say it doesn't matter who is the breadwinner in a family.

But oddly, despite those trends towards liberalism, Americans hold on to traditional values when it comes to marriage and family:

  • 78% of men and 55% of women believe that a man should pay for the first date.
  • 62% of 18- to 24-year-olds would be disappointed if they never married.
  • Both men and women say their mothers have the biggest influence over who they marry.
  • Nearly ¾ of singles would prefer to settle down with a partner who shares their religious faith.

Faith can also account for differences in attitudes and habits when it comes to dating and relationships. Jews are three times more likely than Christians to use an online dating site, though a larger majority of Christians say online dating is a great way to meet potential mates. Jewish singles rank intelligence as more attractive than humor, while Christian singles feel the opposite way. Jewish singles prefer coffee for a first date, while Christian singles would rather meet for dinner.

What they do agree on is family: singles of both faiths agree that the number one key to a successful relationship is that their partner's family treats them well.

To find out more about the dating sites which brought us this information you can read our JDate review and our Christian Mingle review.

POF Visitor Statistics Revealed

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Plenty of fish (POF) released recently a document on their dating site showing what type of people visit their service. The document is designed for advertisers but it gives some great incite on their members for the general user. Let's ask a few questions of the document and see what the answers are!

Question 1: How many visitors does Plenty of fish have?

Answer: They receive 4.3 million unique visitors a day and 432 million visitors (not unique) in total on an average month. These monthly visitors view 9.8 billion pages.

Question 2: What countries are the members from on Plenty of fish?

Answer: This is how many monthly visits the top 9 countries have:

  • United States: 95 million
  • Canada: 27 million
  • United Kingdom: 26 million
  • Brazil: 7 million
  • Australia: 3.4 million
  • Mexico: 2.4 million
  • Ireland: 2.2 million
  • Spain: 1.6 million
  • France: 1.3 million

Question 3: How old are members on Plenty of fish?

Answer: Members on Plenty of fish fall into the following age ranges:

  • 18-24: 10% or 430,000 visitors a day
  • 24-34: 38% or 1,634,000 visitors a day
  • 35-44: 22% or 946,000 visitors a day
  • 45-54: 14% or 602,000 visitors a day
  • 55+: 6% or 258,000 visitors a day

Question 4: Do Plenty of fish members use other dating sites?

Answer: Yes! On average a Plenty of fish member belongs to 3 other dating sites. 15 percent of these members are actively using another dating site while still being a current active member of POF.

Question 5: How much money do members on Plenty of fish earn every year?

Answer: Members on Plenty of fish fall into the following income brackets:

  • < 30 thousand: 38% or 1,634,000 visitors a day
  • 30-60 thousand: 29% or 1,247,000 visitors a day
  • 60-100 thousand: 25% or 1,075,000 visitors a day
  • 100-150 thousand: 5% or 215,000 visitors a day
  • 150+ thousand: 3% or 129,000 visitors a day

Most of these statistics are from data gathered in 2012. For more information on this dating site you can read our Plenty of fish review.

Now It Won’t Just Be Celebrities Getting Caught “Canoodling”

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On those rare occasions when I find myself tucking in to a seedy gossip rag (it's all there is to read in hair salons...don't judge me), it seems that everyone in Hollywood is "canoodling." I have yet to determine what exactly canoodling entails, but apparently it's all the rage in Tinseltown.

It now could be all the rage in your life, too, following the recent launch of the Canoodle app. Canoodle is a social discovery dating service for Facebook, Android, and iOS. And it couldn't be easier.

The Canoodle team believes that the best way to find good friends and relationships is to discover interests and hobbies in common. The service makes it simple to do so by gathering information from your Facebook profile, making it quick and easy to meet matches who are into the same things as you.

Using Canoodle's social, location-based service, you can explore new places, events, and people in your area. You can customize and filter your search to exactly what you need, browse profiles, and connect in chatrooms around your favorite topics, activities, and places.

Signing up is as simple as connecting with your Facebook or email account. Canoodle reviews the Pages you've liked and the celebrities, products, sports teams, brands, etc., you follow, and incorporates that info with user-provided information. By mining your social media accounts, Canoodle gains a better understanding of what you like, eliminates the guesswork that exists on traditional dating sites, and connects you more easily with others whose interests and tastes are similar.

After gathering relevant data, Canoodle then uses a subset of 27 million people from among Cupid's 54 million-strong user base to determine the best possible matches for you. It's all free, and complete privacy controls are offered. Users can also interact via chat rooms, a desktop messaging client, and a newsfeed related directly to all of the user's preferences and affinities.

"Canoodle is designed as a fully mobile experience, either through the mobile version of the website or through a smartphone app, which means it can deliver results to users that are not only relevant in terms of their interests and passions, but also based upon their location," said Bill Dobbie, CEO of Cupid. "Social discovery and matching of people with shared interests is really powerful - it's like starting a conversation with a built-in ice breaker. Couple this with Cupid's enormous database of singles who are actively looking to meet someone, and you have all the right ingredients for success."

eHarmony Now Free to Communicate

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Wow I got a surprise when I visited eHarmony.com today. The first thing I noticed was that they have changed the banner that use to say in all capitals "Check Your Matches Free" to "Now Free To Communicate". This changed seems to be only on the United States eHarmony dating site as the Canadian one still has the original message.

After doing a bit more investigating it looks like eHarmony.com now allows free communication all the time. It seems to work very similar to Free Communication Weekends (FCW). You can use the guided communication process for free which after 3 steps does lead to sending emails via eHarmony Mail. The 4 steps of the guided communication process are designed so that you can learn more about your match. The first step is quick questions, the second step moves onto any makes or breaks you may have for a relationship and the third step has you asking some deeper relationship questions. The final fourth step is mail.

Free memberships still do have their limits though. The top 4 restrictions would be:

  • You cannot view your matches photos
  • You cannot see who has viewed your profile
  • You cannot see when your matches have last logged in
  • You also cannot skip to email

This is very similar to the restrictions placed on free communication weekends. To remove these restrictions you would then have to purchase a membership plan. eHarmony has 3 plans called Basic, Total Connect and Premier which can be purchased in 1, 6 or 12 month terms with prices ranging from $18.95 to $41.95 per month.

This is a big change eHarmony has put into place. I am not sure if this change is permanent or if they are just testing things out. They also haven’t officially announced anything either but I would expect some sort of press release soon. I am sure if it is successful we will see eHarmony sites in other countries follow suit. In my opinion it also places them much closer to a free dating site like Plenty of fish (POF). While you cannot go straight to sending email to members like on POF, for people seeking a long-term relationship the guided communication is very helpful and you can send mail once it is complete. POF’s free members have very similar restrictions as eHarmony unless they choose to upgrade. The major difference being between the eHarmony and POF memberships is POF members can view member photos.

Update: April 2, 2013 - I just found out another restriction which isn't obvious at first and would have changed the tone of this post a bit if I had known about the restriction before writing. Apparently you can only send out an email message in step 4 of the guided communication process. If the match replies to this message you cannot see it until you pay for a membership. Getting to use the guided communication process is nice but it would be even better if we could view the replies once we are finished with it like during a FCW.

I guess we now need to update our eHarmony review to reflect this new information along with the other profile changes I notice.

What Do Singles Want?

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Some things are so complex that most of us will probably never understand them. Nuclear physics, for one. Why anyone would eat fast food after seeing that dreadful pink slime stuff, for another. Why cats insist on trying to befriend me even though I'm seriously allergic to them, for a third.

Dating and relationships are top of that list for many people. Is there anything more impenetrable than the mind of the average single? What on earth is going on in there?

USA Today recently tried to answer that question by asking singles what their must-haves in a relationship are, and what would cause them to cancel a date.

Men and women, it turns out, value many of the same basic things in partners. At the top of the list are good teeth and good grammar, which are important considerations for both men and women. After that men place importance on hair and clothes, followed by tattoos, nails and hands, a date's accent, shoes, the car a date drives, and the electronic devices a date carries.

Women, on the other hand, put the emphasis on the same traits in the following order: clothing, hair, nails/hands, having/not having a tattoo, shoes, the car a date drives, a date's accent, and the electronic devices a date uses.

More differences can be found when men and women list their must-haves in a relationship. Men said their must-haves are: is someone I can trust and confide in (63%), treats me with respect (57%), is physically attractive to me (40%), has sense of humor/makes me laugh (37%), is comfortable with her own sexuality (36%).

Women say their relationship requirements are: treats me with respect (84%), is someone I can trust and confide in (77%), has sense of humor/makes me laugh (58%), shares the same values as I do (47%), is comfortable communicating his wants, needs, and desires (46%).

And if those are the things that are most important, what traits are least important to the success of a relationship? Men say:

  • Is eager to marry (4%)
  • Makes at least as much money as I do (6%)
  • Eats similar foods (7%)
  • Has a similar education level/Has successful career/Wants to have children/Shares my political beliefs (tied at 8%)
  • Has the same ethnic background as me (9%)

For women, the least important factors in determining compatibility are:

  • Is eager to marry (6%)
  • Eats similar foods (9%)
  • Wants to have children/Shares my political beliefs (tied at 11%)
  • Has similar education level (12%)
  • Has same ethnic background as me (14%)

Now if only someone would conduct a study on cats and my allergies...

Infographic: How Singles Use Technology in Dating

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These days, unless you literally live under a rock, technology is an integral part of your dating life. Maybe you used your smartphone to text the cutie you met last night at the bar. Maybe you've been looking for love on online dating sites. Maybe you keep in touch with your long-distance partner using Facebook. Maybe you've found an innovative way to incorporate technology into your love life that I haven't even thought of yet (in which case, give me a shout!).

For better or for worse, technology and online dating are entwined forever more. Match.com set out to determine exactly how singles use technology in dating, and put together an infographic that dishes all the details.

Let's start with the scandalous stuff:

  • Singles in their 20s are nearly 4 times more likely to send sexy texts to their dates than singles in their 50s.
  • 36% of singles say they've sent a sext, regardless of their age.
  • And, age aside, 51% say they've received a sext from a partner.
  • Sexting may be becoming increasingly common, but it isn't becoming any more private. Nearly 23% of those who have received sexy photos say they've shared the pictures with others.
  • But some find that lack of privacy flattering: 42% of single men who sext say they would not be offended if the recipient shared the pic, though only 13% of women say the same.

Sharing private snaps isn't the only taboo tech move. Though mobile phones are now ubiquitous, more than 90% of singles agree that it's NOT ok to break up with someone via text.

And then there's that other ubiquitous bit of technology: Facebook. Almost ¾ of singles are on Facebook, making it a hotbed of new techno-dating etiquette rules:

  • 65% of singles say they do not post their relationship status on Facebook.
  • 38% say they would cancel a date over something they discovered about their date online.
  • 48% of single women and 38% of men say they research someone on Facebook before going on the first date.
  • 25% of single women use privacy settings on their Facebook profiles to limit access to pictures and posts for the people they date.

Facebook also comes along with a lot of dealbreakers. These are the most common ways the social networking site causes breakups:

  • Men are most likely to breakup with a date due to: her pictures (55%), something she posted on someone else's wall (42%), or her status updates (21%).
  • Women are most likely to split with a sweetie due to: a post on someone else's wall (s), his pictures (36%), who he was adding as friends (27%).

As always, technology is a double edged-sword. It's not without its drawbacks, but the benefits clearly win out.