By Heidi Stevens, Tribune Newspapers
February 22, 2011
Turns out "Two and a Half Men" is not exactly a cultural indicator. Single women are not desperate to marry. Single men get baby fever. And women want more personal space in relationships than men do.
These are just a few of the findings from a comprehensive new study of 5,200 singles in America.
"Stereotypes of men are being dashed. Stereotypes of women are being dashed. Stereotypes of older people are being dashed," says biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, who helped facilitate the study, along with social historian Stephanie Coontz and evolutionary biologist Justin Garcia. It was funded by dating site Match.com. "It's a reflection of a real shift in attitudes in so many areas."
96 million: The number of single people in the United States, roughly one-third of the population.
43 percent of single women ages 35-44 answered yes to the question: "Do you want to get married?" 36 percent of men answered yes. In the 21-34 age range, 63 percent of single women and 61 percent of single men answered yes.
51 percent of men ages 21-34 want kids, versus 46 percent of women in the same age group.
54 percent of singles have had a one-night stand, while 36 percent are open to a casual hookup in the near future. 35 percent have had a one-night stand that turned into a long-term partnership.
77 percent of women in a committed relationship say they "need personal space," versus 58 percent of men. 35 percent of women want "regular nights out" with friends, versus 23 percent of men.
Singles age 65 and over report the greatest level of happiness during the last 12 months, followed by 21- to 24-year-olds. Seniors are also less likely than any other age group to compromise on either love or sexual attractiveness in order to have a committed relationship.
20 percent of men and 29 percent of women said finding a partner of their own ethnic background is a "must have" or "very important."
"We've turned away from pleasing society and pleasing our parents and pleasing cultural norms with who we marry in favor of building a lasting relationship with our very personal need for intimacy and compatibility in mind," says Fisher, an adviser for Chemistry.com and Match.com.
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