Marriage

Match.com Study Reveals The Right Time To Say 'I Love You'

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Match.com Flowchart

From the first date, to the first kiss, to your first time between the sheets, every new relationship is marked by a series of milestones. Every one you reach is thrilling and nerve-racking, and daters have wondered since the beginning of time how to hack the system.

A new survey from Match.com attempts to answer the question of when it's the 'right' time to cross each milestone. More than 2,000 men and women in the UK were surveyed in attempt to map out the journey of the average (as much as any relationship can be 'average') long-term relationship. Here's what they found.

Within Two Weeks

The Match.com chart starts at the logical beginning: the first date. According to Match's research, the first kiss happens immediately. In the next one to two weeks, a budding couple will hold hands for the first time. They will also sleep together for the first time in that period, although they won't stay the night.

Within A Month

After the two-week point, things take a slightly more serious turn. A new couple will get undressed in front of each other – but only with the lights off – within a month. They will also introduce each other to their respective best friends.

Within Six Months

The relationship solidifies over the first six months together. Couples buy each other their first birthday presents and begin to call each other boyfriend and girlfriend. At five months comes one of the biggest milestones of all: saying 'I love you.' After that, the realities of a life together begin to sink in. Couples have their first argument around 170 days, reveal imperfections around 173 days, and introduce each other to parents before six months are up.

Within A Year

Couples become increasingly permanent fixtures in each other's lives during the first year. After six months have gone by, they are comfortable leaving toothbrushes at each other's bathrooms and having a drawer in each other's homes. Then comes the travel. At 204 days, they'll go away for a night together and at 298 days they'll take an entire vacation. Within a year, it's time to have a serious conversation about the future.

Over A Year

The biggest life milestones come after the one-year mark is reached. The average couple gets engaged at 743 days (around 2 years), gets a pet at 813 days, and buys a home together just before they reach three years. The average marriage comes at 1190 days, just over three years. Finally, the average couple has their first child together at 1422 days, after three years and 11 months together.

View the full flowchart from Match.com here and check our our Match.com review.

Match.com's 2015 'Singles In America' Study Smashes Stereotypes

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Match.com Singles in America 2015

For half a decade, Match.com has celebrated dating with America’s most comprehensive study on singles. This year's annual analysis surveyed 5,600 singles from all ages, ethnicities, incomes and walks of life. What it found is a new dating landscape that's laying tired stereotypes to rest.

The days of macho men and dependent women are history. Men are increasingly seeking out independent female partners and women are setting the tone in relationships. The 'Singles in America' study calls it “The Clooney Effect.” According to the study, the majority of single women in 2015:

  • Want a partner with a sense of independence (89%)
  • Want a partner with the same level of intelligence (86%)
  • Think it's ok to casually date more than one person at a time (74%)
  • Are not willing to support a partner financially (55%)
  • Seek a partner who's comfortable with their sexuality (94%)
  • Would not likely date someone who's less intellectual (61%)

This Is How Online Dating Has Changed The Way We Love, According To Science

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By now you've probably read – or at least heard about – Vanity Fair's recent takedown of online dating. The lengthy article is essentially an obituary for traditional courtship, which writer Nancy Jo Sales says is long gone thanks to online dating sites and mobile apps.

Tinder responded with a very public Twitter meltdown and tongues have been wagging about the state of modern dating ever since. Some agree with Sales, while others believe it's simply moral panic and anyone who hasn't jumped on the Tinder train is probably just too old to understand it.

The good news is, a growing body of scientific research is dedicated to online dating and the social change that comes along with it. The bad news is, even the scientists can't seem to agree with each other.

A 2012 study called “Searching for a Mate: The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary” found no difference in relationship quality or strength between couples who met online and couples who met off. It also suggested that marriage and partnership rates may increase, as people with smaller pools of potential mates use dating services to cast wider nets.

Another 2012 study, headed up by Eli Finkel, concluded that most matching algorithms don't work. However, it also noted that “Online dating offers access to potential partners whom people would be unlikely to meet through other avenues, and this access yields new romantic possibilities.”

A 2013 study on marital satisfaction and breakups deemed online dating an unequivocally good thing. The research was sponsored by eHarmony, which rightfully has given some readers pause, but was reviewed by independent statisticians prior to publication.

A second study from 2013 examined sexual behavior and the “hookup culture” supposedly propagated by apps like Tinder. After examining a nationally representative sample of more than 1,800 18- to 25-year-olds, the study concluded that today's youth aren't substantially more promiscuous than previous generations. In fact, they may actually be having less sex than their predecessors.

Things got weird in 2014. Using the same data from 2012's “Searching for a Mate” study, a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State came to the opposite conclusion about online dating and relationship quality. According to her findings, online daters are more likely to date than marry, more likely to break up faster, and more likely to break up more often.

How could two studies using the same statistics arrive at such different conclusions?

The answer is something we've always known: love is messy, contradictory, and confusing. Try quantifying that and you're bound to be disappointed.

Book "Single Man, Married Man" Proclaims Embracing Gender Roles Key to Dating Success

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Single Man, Married Man

Single Man, Married Man – a new book written by a group of men specifically for single women – proclaims to offer brutally honest advice for women who are looking to get hitched.

The book has outraged many feminists, and for good reason. Some of the advice offered in the book includes this as fact: “all men” want to get married – if they tell you otherwise, they are “lying.” Another piece of advice from one of the book’s single authors: “No matter where a woman is in life, she should always be able to cater to her man’s needs.” A divorced co-author advises that when a man gets his ego stroked, he will be more inclined to love you.

The book also offers reasons why a man you are dating isn’t taking the relationship to the next level – namely, that it’s your fault. One author writes: “It takes a lot to hold their attention, and men tend to lose interest in romantic partners when they stop being, well... interesting.”

In other words, women need to start giving more massages, complaining less, and stroking their guys’ egos a lot more often. Then they will more likely convince their men to put a ring on it. (Speaking of Beyonce, one of the writers even suggests keeping Destiny’s Child’s “Cater 2 U” on repeat on your playlist).

The book is certainly gaining a lot of attention in the press because of its apparent sexism, and its authors maintain that it is “brutally honest” because they want to help women. Two of the main authors spent three years interviewing more than 300 men online and in person to arrive at their conclusions, so they stand by them.

So what does this mean? Should women take a step back and consider catering more to the men in their lives? Or should the guys who authored this book admit that creating a controversial book would help them sell more copies?

The truth is, no matter how many people you interview, or how much research you do, or how many coaching sessions you conduct, dating is still mysterious and fickle for everyone. Some tactics work with some people, others don’t. Some people have chemistry together, others don’t. You can’t force a relationship to move forward if that’s not what it is meant to do. There are no tricks. Dating is much more nuanced and individual. Blanket advice of how each gender should behave doesn’t really move the conversation – or the dating scene itself - forward.

So as much as we take dating advice from many sources, we should also be discerning. If something doesn’t feel right to you, pay attention. If you’re working too hard to try and “make things work” with your current love, maybe it is time to let go. To find out more about the book "Single Man, Married Man" you can check out the authors website.

A Single’s Guide to Thanksgiving

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Holidays are great for celebrating, but they can also remind us of what's missing in our lives. Especially when we visit our families. Aunt Barbara might like to ask too many personal questions, while Uncle Stan usually makes some comment about how nobody's getting any younger.

Instead of letting yourself get upset, or worse, anticipating problems before they happen, take a step back. And then take a deep breath. After all, Thanksgiving is about getting together with family and sharing a meal. It doesn't mean you are obligated to be with your family all weekend, subjected to their scrutiny. After all, you're a single, independent person, with the freedom to do what you want!

Here's what you can do for yourself this Thanksgiving:

Break from tradition. Do you travel to visit family every year for the holidays? Maybe it's time you took a year off and celebrated with friends instead. You might feel obligated to fly or drive to visit parents every year, but it's not necessarily the way you want to spend the holiday. So why not try something different? Invite friends over to your place for a pot luck. Mix it up.

Go out for a drink after dinner. There's no reason to hang out with your family all night, so why not round up a few friends and head to a local bar to share drinks, or to a movie theatre to see a new release? Have something to look forward to.

Set aside time for yourself. Your family might have your weekend scheduled full of events, but let them know ahead of time you won't be attending everything. Make a point to book a spa appointment, lunch with a friend, or even just time at a coffee shop to read your favorite book. Make time for yourself over the weekend. It's important.

Stand your ground. Friends and family don't always respect boundaries and may ask questions or put you on the spot regarding your single status. Instead of making excuses or trying to find a way out of the conversation, respond firmly but positively. After all, being single doesn't mean your life is "less than" anyone else's. In fact, you're probably more social than all of them. Let them know you're enjoying yourself and your freedom, and that you're taking your time. If that feels false, then change the subject to talk about other things in your life - like your career, your friends, or your plans to move to a new home. There's more to any life than finding a partner.

Have fun. Yes, it is possible to have fun at Thanksgiving dinner this year. Relax and remind yourself to count your blessings (that's what the holiday is for)! You have people in your life who love you.

Match.com Launches New Marriage-Minded Dating Site with Steve Harvey

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Steve Harvey has been dishing out dating advice to women quite successfully over the years, because he knows what it was like to be a man playing around without really wanting to commit. His book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, was a best-seller among the hundreds of dating advice books to hit the market. Now, he’s teamed up with Match.com to create a dating site called “Delightful” that competes directly with marriage-minded sites like eHarmony.

"Women want to date with the goal that it turns into a relationship," Harvey told The Chicago Tribune in a recent article. "It kind of breaks my heart when I have women on my show who've been on 50, 100 dates. Something's not right if you have to go out with 100 people."

This comment made me wonder - has Steve Harvey actually tried online dating? Tinder? Most of us have been on at least 50 dates, if not more. I don’t think there’s something wrong with people dating in those numbers, because there are so many opportunities now to meet people.

But I do agree that most daters don’t really invest in getting to know the person sitting in front of them on any given date. There are too many options to be that committal, so they typically move fast. Steve Harvey’s comment rings true when we consider how much time we invest with such little return. I write about this in my book Date Expectations.

Website Delightful aims to change those statistics, with a little help from Harvey. Sam Yagan, CEO of the Match Group, said in a statement, "To take [Steve’s] power and his outlook on relationships and his views on love and combine that with the technology and algorithms that we know to work creates a powerful new category." In other words, the celebrity factor is key in the marketing of the new site.

Others have tried this before. Take the host of The Bachelor Chris Harrison, who last year launched a video-based dating app called At First Sight, hoping to capitalize on his celebrity. It hasn’t quite taken off like Tinder, despite its appealing premise of seeing a short video of potential dates, rather than just viewing photos.

Harvey and Match expect their approach to be different. After all, Harvey is a dating advice coach with his own TV show, and has helped many women find lasting relationships. He is an expert, not just a celebrity.

"We're going to help women get themselves out of the hunting game," Harvey said. "And we're going to make a concerted effort to get men on here who are looking more seriously for a relationship instead of just dating a lot of people."

As for how they will compete with successful marriage-minded sites like eHarmony, Yagan is a little unclear. Instead, he compares Delightful to OkCupid and Tinder, which are known more for their hook-up appeal, saying that at the end of the day when people want relationships, they will look to Delightful instead.