By Dr. Laura Berman, Sex and Relationship Therapist
The results of the second annual Singles in America study have much to tell us about the current landscape of love and the attitudes of single men and women. As our society changes and evolves, so do the rules of dating and our expectations of happily ever after.
Here are a few of the most interesting and illuminating findings:
Men fall in love at first sight. We tend to think that men are immune to romance and love at first sight, but the study found that men are actually more likely than women to report falling for their partner after just one glance. 30% of men say they have fallen in love at first sight, while only 21% of women report the same. One reason for this is that lust and love are more immediately intertwined for men than they are for women. Men are visual creatures when it comes to sexual attraction, and they are programmed to have a strong, visceral response to mates they find attractive.
While women also search for attractive mates and physically respond to guys they find sexy, they do not always associate love and lust the same way that men do. Think of it this way: “Men fall in love at first sight, women fall in love at first insight.” In other words, in order to catch and keep a woman’s attention, a man needs more than just a fit body or a great smile. Women are also looking for a great sense of humor, kindness, and a charming personality….a six-pack is just a bonus!
Men commit even if they don’t feel it. Singles also might be surprised to learn that men will readily commit to partners they don’t necessarily feel romantically or sexually attracted to. Over 25% of men will commit to women whom they don’t feel romantically attracted to, provided she has everything else they are looking for in a partner.
Why is this? Well, even though we often think of men as die-hard commitment-phobes, the truth is that they are just as susceptible to peer pressure as women are. If they see all of their buddies getting hitched and having kids, they will feel a desire to follow suit, especially if their partner is pressuring them down the aisle.
However, just because a choice is easiest doesn’t make it right, and many of these relationships don’t end up working out. Cajoling a guy down the aisle isn’t the way to a lifetime of happiness, and women should keep that in mind when they start eyeing engagement rings. Ultimately, a man will only get to that place of deep commitment and love when he is ready to and you can’t ever force such feelings.
Singles seek companionship not completion. In the past, people used to seek mates who would “complete” them, but today’s singles are looking for something different. According to the study findings, singles are looking for a partner who can offer intimacy, companionship and personal fulfillment more so than financial stability. They are looking for someone who is independent and well rounded, someone who will offer them companionship and fulfillment. This is partly because gender roles have expanded over the years. Women enjoy having their own careers and they no longer expect or desire financial stability from a mate. Men seem to enjoy this new setup as well, and they like having a partner who has her own life and her own interests.
Singles can apply this to their own lives by being hard to get, instead of playing hard to get. In other words, instead of pretending to have a fulfilling, well-rounded life in order to impress your prospective mates, why not just have one? By filling your calendar with your interests (whether those include social engagements, sports, charity events or the gym), you can ensure that you will stay active, engaging, and downright desirable!
About Dr. Laura Berman
Dr. Laura Berman is a world renowned sex and relationship expert who is considered a thought leader and innovator in her field. As a sex educator, researcher and therapist for more than 20 years, she has helped countless couples build stronger relationships, improve their sex lives, and achieve a heightened level of intimacy.