ChristianMingle & JDate Release The Second Annual ‘State Of Dating In America’ Report

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If the state of dating in America in 2014 was summed up in one word, it would be "open-minded."

ChristianMingle.com and JDate.com have teamed up for the second year in a row to bring you inside information on what it means to be single and dating in the United States in the 21st century. The second annual State Of Dating In America report explores the ever-evolving public opinion on sex, infidelity, gender roles and other controversial issues. It also delves into the ways mobile technology is affecting and changing societal norms of courtship and relationships.

"In today's modern world there are so many factors contributing to blurred lines and mixed messages when it comes to dating and relationships," says Rachel Sussman, a Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who partnered with ChristianMingle and JDate to analyze the findings of their study. "I see clients every day who are struggling with how to navigate muddled waters in a new or long-term relationship, and this study by ChristianMingle and JDate confirms these issues exist across the country."

The big news coming out of those muddled waters this year is that singles are becoming more and more open-minded when it comes to gender roles, dating expectations and infidelity. Singles have accepted that infidelity isn't always a black and white issue. Shades of gray are an inevitable part of being in a relationship:

  • 86% of men and 92% of women consider having sex repeatedly with another person to be cheating.
  • 82% of women and 56% of men believed sexting or online flirting is infidelity back in 2013. But this year the number of women who believe that flirtatious messages count as stepping out dropped significantly to 86%, while the number for men dropped slightly to 51%.
  • In 2014, 90% of women agree that passionately kissing someone else is cheating. In 2013, that number was 100%. Men's opinions reflected women's shifting views: 86% considered passionate kissing cheating in 2013, compared to 75% in 2014.
  • Cheating isn't always a dealbreaker. Nearly a quarter of singles say they would consider marrying someone who is unfaithful to them while dating.

Attitudes toward gender roles are also evolving in major ways. Fewer men believe that they should be the primary breadwinner in a relationship, and fewer men believe it's their duty to pick up the tab on a date. We are, apparently, increasingly confused about whether or not we're actually on a date or just hanging out with someone casually, but we're also increasingly open to the idea of dating online.

94% of respondents say online dating expands their dating pool. Two out of three singles know people who've met through online dating. And 85% of singles say they believe online dating is completely socially acceptable.

For more information on the dating sites which conducted the survey you can read our Christian Mingle review and our JDate review.

New Study Shows Confusion Among Young Daters About What is a Date

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Do you know when you're on a date and when you're just hanging out? If you're confused about the difference - you're not alone. It's getting harder and harder to tell for a lot of singles.

According to a new study by Christian Mingle and JDate, there is a lot of ambiguity. Their online survey of 2,647 singles of varying ages (18-59) shows that 69% of respondents are confused about whether an outing with someone they're interested in is a date or not.

Maybe the confusion comes in with the definition of a date. According to the data, only 22% agree that "if they ask me out, it's a date," whereas 24% think it's a "planned evening with a group of friends."

So why all the ambiguity? According to the study, technology might have something to do with it. Fifty-seven percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say texting has made it more difficult to determine whether an outing is an actual date. But among older daters, that isn't necessarily true. Only 36% of 35-44 year-olds think that texting has made it more difficult.

The ambiguity isn't gender-specific either - both men and women generally agree. Mostly, opinions vary by age. The younger the dater, the less likely he or she is certain whether or not it's a date.

"In today's modern world there are so many factors contributing to blurred lines and mixed messages when it comes to dating and relationships," says Rachel Sussman, Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who analyzed the results of the study. "I see clients every day who are struggling with how to navigate muddled waters in a new or long-term relationship, and this study by ChristianMingle and JDate confirms these issues exist across the country."

Expectations for men to pay on a date seem to be declining, too. Only 69 percent of men say the man should foot the bill for a date (vs. last year's study of 78 percent). This might be part of the dating ambiguity issue, too, because if the outing isn't clearly defined, there's no need to offer to pay as a gesture of affection or chivalry.

While singles might not agree on what constitutes a date, they do overwhelmingly agree (by 85%) that online dating is a socially acceptable way to meet people. Also, two out of three know couples who have met through online dating sites. Ninety-four percent believe that online dating expands their dating pool.

While the definition of a date might be more and more ambiguous, it seems that online dating is gaining more and more acceptance as time goes on. We'll see what the results say next year.

Could a Religious Dating Site be for You?

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There are so many options when it comes to dating and meeting new people. There are hundreds of online dating sites, and even more mobile apps launching every month. Some traditional sites like Match.com and OkCupid cater to a wide range of relationship-seekers, and some are geared mostly towards hook-ups like Tinder. Niche dating sites are also on the rise, and the ones gaining the biggest followings are religious sites.

JDate and Christian Mingle are two of the most popular sites for those looking to meet singles outside of their own networks. JDate provides a way for Jewish people to meet others who share the same beliefs, customs and culture, and depending on preferences, potential dates can be "not observant" to "conservative" or "orthodox." Christian Mingle is likewise for those singles who identify as Christians, with many levels of observance.

While some daters might shy away from meeting people on a larger website like Match.com, or are afraid that online daters won't share the same values that they have, religious sites provide a great alternative. While it's true that many people joining online dating sites aren't looking for long-term relationships, those who join religious sites are generally more interested in marriage and commitment than the average online dater. It's a good opportunity for those who are serious about their search.

But how do you know if a religious site is for you, especially if you don't regularly attend church or temple? And how do you go about explaining your religious beliefs to someone who might not be on the same page as you?

As religious sites become more popular (about five million people have joined Christian Mingle in only the last five years), there are varying degrees of religious practices and beliefs. Many singles get something from religious dating sites that they can't get from other online dating sites - like deeply-held values when it comes to dating and forming relationships. Some singles who sign up for JDate might not be practicing Jews, but they do want to form a relationship with someone who shares the same cultural background and who want to raise kids in the same way. Similarly, Christian Mingle has members who might not attend church on a regular basis but consider their relationship with God an important part of their lives and want to meet those who feel the same.

Religious beliefs vary from person to person - it's unlikely you'll find someone who feels the same way you do on every issue. But if religion and spirituality are an important part of your life it's good to pursue others who feel the same way. When you join a religious dating site, you're meeting other people who share your values, which is a very important part of forming a strong, lasting relationship.

Christian Daters have New Online Resource

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Spark Networks, owner of several popular religious dating sites such as JDate and Christian Mingle, announced the launch of the new Believe.com website, described as a faith-based lifestyle destination designed to serve the Christian community.

The idea for the new site came after a poll of Christian Mingle members was taken. An overwhelming 86% felt that "they needed additional support to help in their daily walk with God," but 74% were not aware of any digital destinations to help them do this. The new makeover to Believe.com is the company's answer to this problem.

"A tremendous amount of research and outreach to the community helped us determine the most important issues, trends and topics for today's online faith-based consumers," said Ashley Reccord, Christian Community Manager at Spark Networks. "Unlike any other content destination, Believe.com offers today's Christians a platform to engage, learn and pray in their everyday lives."

Believe.com is meant to be as interactive as possible with its members. Its features include a section called "Contributor's Corner" where users can engage with content that highlights messages, articles, and sermons from renowned Christian leaders and best-selling authors such as Jefferson Bethke, Sharon Jaynes, Jerry Jenkins and Mandy Hale. "Sunday Sermon" provides a video platform that enables people to view sermons they missed or to find new church leaders they wouldn't otherwise have heard about. "Ask a Pastor" allows members to ask questions about their faith and challenges they have in relationships, work, and other areas of life and receive faith-based feedback.

The most popular feature on Believe.com is called "Pray it Forward," which is a central place for people to share prayers for friends and family so they can engage a larger Christian community in the power of prayer.

The new site is making itself available over social media as well, with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus platforms where people can leave messages, post inspirational quotes, and interact with each other.

"With the experience of building an unprecedented audience on Christian Mingle, Spark Networks has become a recognized leader in the Christian marketplace," said Ted Gartner, Partner at Grace Hill Media, an advertising partner. "It's exciting to see the new Believe.com respond to the market demand for a modern, multi-platform Christian lifestyle site."

To celebrate its launch, Believe.com declared the month of October as "Pray it Forward" month. They encouraged Christians everywhere to come together at anytime and anywhere to pray online (via the Believe.com website or through the mobile phone app). Members were also encouraged to promote and post prayers via social media using the hashtag #prayitforward and the Twitter handle @Believe.

Is Social Media Giving Online Dating a Boost?

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A few years ago, Match.com became a household name when it comes to online dating. Now that mobile apps like Tinder have gained popularity and people are looking to newer and niche online dating sites like JDate or How About We, people are starting to see what else is out there.

In fact, social media, and Facebook in particular, are becoming players in the game. While traditional sites rely on new sign-ups and static searches, social media-friendly dating sites and apps pull information from a vast pool of active Facebook profiles and introduce you to friends of friends in your network. This has become a big draw for people, because most singles feel more comfortable meeting someone new if they have a friend in common. This is especially true for women, who are sometimes skeptical of the safety of online dating.

According to an article in Wall Street Cheat Sheet, entrepreneurs are just beginning to understand the importance of utilizing social media in industries like online dating, which could mean big revenues in the future. LinkedIn has gained traction in the social media space because the platform focuses solely on job seekers and networkers looking for career opportunities. There is a sense of trust when someone comes recommended for a job by a mutual friend or co-worker, so companies are looking to the service to attract new employees. So why not apply the same principal to those looking for a date?

InterActiveCorp (IAC) is one of the largest publicly traded online dating companies. They own traditional sites like Match.com, Chemistry.com, and OkCupid. However, SNAP Interactive, a new player in the social media space is fast gaining ground. The company is the owner of AYI (Are You Interested?), one of the first dating apps launched using Facebook's social platform. It is currently integrated with 25 million Facebook profiles and has been downloaded and installed over 70 million times, according to its website.

What sets AYI apart is that it came to the market first and has an extensive membership base, so the information they are able to pull from Facebook to help people meet friends of friends is extensive. Search capabilities also include an interest graph which allows people to search according to specific interests and hobbies. In five years, revenues have grown from 425,000 to 19.1 million. Company executives are investing this revenue into new technology to improve the user experience.

The online dating space is still growing, but not surprisingly, it seems to be headed in the direction of social media.

Yahoo Reveals the Top 10 Searches for Online Dating

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Looking for the best online dating site? There are many out there, but how do you know which sites are the ones most people are checking out? After all, you want a lot of choice when it comes to searching for love.

According to website Mashable.com, Yahoo has revealed the top 10 dating sites that people have searched for using their search engine. And surprisingly, OkCupid topped the list (with even more searches than standards like Match.com or eHarmony).

Another surprise? Men seem to be more interested in online dating, or at least, searching for sites and checking them out.

Here's the complete list:

OkCupid. This site tops the list, and maybe because their demographic skews younger and it's a little more engaging with members than some of the classic dating sites. Most of the searches were conducted by men (68%).

Match. This website is almost synonymous with online dating. It's been around a while, and is still going strong. Again, the majority of searches (73%) came from men.

MeetMe. A more casual site for dating and friendship, MeetMe is gaining marketshare when it comes to online dating. Or at least, people seem to be searching for the site. A hefty 67% of men (primarily from Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia) searched for it according to Yahoo.

Zoosk. This popular website touts is algorithms which allow members to "date smarter." Again, more than 70% of its searches came from men.

eHarmony. The go-to destination for those looking for committed relationships, eHarmony has remained near the top of the pack for a long time. Surprisingly, more men (54%) than women were searching for this website.

PlentyofFish. This dating site has a bit of a reputation, but that hasn't stopped people from checking it out. Formerly known for its "intimate encounters" section, POF has recently undergone an image change to focus on matching people with relationship potential.

JDate. The most popular site for those who are more religiously inclined, JDate has become the go-to source for Jewish singles. Not surprisingly, the most searches came from New Jersey, New York, and Florida, all with more concentrated Jewish populations.

Skout. Mobile apps also figured prominently into searches. Skout is a networking app that focuses on meeting people rather than having specific agendas for dating and relationships. Most of the searches for this site came from men (68%) residing in Texas, California, and Florida.

Christian Mingle. A popular religious-based dating site, Christian Mingle focuses on dating, friendships, and relationships. This is the only site that had more females searching for it, primarily from Texas, California and Pennsylvania.

Tinder. This mobile app was made popular by college students, a sort of "hot or not" version of online dating. With its easy-to-use and convenient set-up, the app has taken off among singles who like to see who's close by and wanting to meet a little more spontaneously.