Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Quote of the Day: Women Value Independence in Relationships More Than Men Do

Match.com recently conducted a survey of 5,000 single Americans — the “largest and most comprehensive study of single adults to date,” according to USA Today, and the results may surprise some people. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist, who helped develop the survey, sums up the general findings this way: “Men are now expressing some traditionally female attitudes, while women are adopting some of those long attributed to men.” Specifically:

Data show men are quicker to fall in love and more likely than women to want children: 54% of men say they have experienced love at first sight, compared with 44% of women; among singles without children under 18, more men (24%) than women (15%) say they want children.

And, across every age group, women want more independence than men in their relationships: 77% of women say having their personal space is “very important,” vs. 58% for men; 78% of women say the same about having their own interests and hobbies (vs. 64% for men). And 35% of women (vs. 23% of men) say regular nights out with the guys/girls are important.

After the jump, a few more findings that may surprise you — perhaps even pleasantly.

•Singles can fall in love with a friend. Seventy-one percent fell in love with someone they did not initially find attractive after having great conversations or shared interests or both; 35% fell in love with someone even though they felt no sparks initially.

•Love can last. Twenty-nine percent report remaining intensely in love with their last partner two to five years; 8% for six to 10 years; and 18% for more than 10 years.

•Hookups and one-night stands can turn into partnerships. Thirty-five percent have had a one-night stand that turned into a long-term relationship.

Being in a marriage — albeit a pretty new one — that reflects some of these findings to a certain extent (I won’t say exactly which findings it accurately reflects), I’m not all that surprised. What I do find a little odd is that thirty-five percent of the people surveyed had “one-night stands” that turned into “long-term relationships.” It’s not that I’m surprised that sex with someone soon after first meeting can lead to a relationship; it’s that I’m surprised we’re still calling those hook-ups “one-night stands.” If those interactions between the sheets lead to long-term relationships, then, by definition, they aren’t really “one-night stands,” are they? Clearly, those relationships last longer than one night. We need to come up with a different term for when sex with a near-stranger leads to something meaningful. Any suggestions?

And what do you think of these findings? Are you surprised — pleasantly or otherwise?

[via USA Today, Jezebel, Time]

32 comments… add one
  • avatar

    TheOtherMe2011 February 4, 2011, 12:05 pm

    I am not that surprised but thought my own desire for independence wasn’t as common.

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  • Kristina

    Kristina February 4, 2011, 12:39 pm

    I’m not at all surprised about more single men wanting children than single women. I’ve been seeing this for awhile, and I have no desire to have children myself.

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  • avatar

    princesspetticoat February 4, 2011, 12:46 pm

    I’m actually suprised that only 15% of women want children, and only 24% of men want children. I thought both of those numbers would be much higher.

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    • avatar

      Wolvie_girl February 4, 2011, 1:29 pm

      That number was among single people without children UNDER 18. This doesn’t really surprise me becuase I used to staunchly declare that I have no desire for kids…but something crazy happened when I turned 30. I can’t explain it, but in the span of about 6 monthes I went from happily envisioning my life child-free to happily envisioning being pregnant and a mom in the next couple of years…

      I bet the numbers for older singles are a bit different!

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      • avatar

        stickelet February 4, 2011, 1:38 pm

        This means all men and women whose CHILDREN are not under the age of 18, not that the people who responded to the question are under 18.

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      • avatar

        Wolvie_girl February 4, 2011, 2:08 pm

        I though that at first too, but why would they give a statistic on people’s desire to have children from people who already have children???

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      • avatar

        stickelet February 4, 2011, 8:46 pm

        If they want more children. So if their children are over 18 they may not want more kids. The survey is from match.com so some of the people on the site already have kids from previous relationships, and some are older and have older, adult children.

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  • LK7889

    LK7889 February 4, 2011, 1:05 pm

    I didn’t really find many of these surprising either. I’ve been seeing the “men fall in love more quickly than woman” in lots of my friend’s relationships (as well as my past relationships). Same with the independence.

    The children one is new to me but I live in the Deep South and people here seem to be much more child crazy than in other parts of the country from what I can tell- men and women. Of course it doesn’t help that every other woman I know is pregnant right now…

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  • avatar

    Mainer February 4, 2011, 1:14 pm

    one night stand turned long distance relationship: Infatuated Happenstance?

    This is how most of my relationships have started, and they all end in failure. So. It sucks.

    How are they classifying long-term?

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  • avatar

    Wolvie_girl February 4, 2011, 1:32 pm

    One night stand that turns into a relationship: “A hook-up that held on”?

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  • avatar

    BBM Pose February 4, 2011, 1:39 pm

    “Singles can fall in love with a friend. Seventy-one percent fell in love with someone they did not initially find attractive after having great conversations or shared interests or both; 35% fell in love with someone even though they felt no sparks initially.”

    Story of my life…at least the last 5 months of it. 🙂

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    • avatar

      TheOtherMe2011 February 4, 2011, 1:56 pm

      I agree BBM, this was the result that surprised me the least. It’s happened to me many times to suddenly see something in someone that hadn’t caught my attention before or to develop a physical attraction after knowing them for a long time.

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    • avatar

      awendybird February 4, 2011, 2:44 pm

      This could apply to one of the letter writers from the shortcuts today.

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  • avatar

    evanscr05 February 4, 2011, 1:55 pm

    I think, if you put this poll into relative terms, it mostly likely appears that women’s desire for independence is increasing because the options available to women have increased. We are not required to be baby producers any more, and a lot of women are embracing choices, particularly those that are college educated. When you can go to any college, study any major, and work in any field, why limit yourself? And after you’ve gone through all that work of learning who you are, what you want out out of life, etc., why would you NOT want to maintain some semblance of individuality and independence? I love my guy, but I need some space sometimes, as I know he does, too. That’s completely healthy. Men are designed to spread their seed, so I can see how it appears more men than women would like to have children. I’m only 27, I don’t want kids right now. I want to be, at minimum, 31 before I even start trying. I want my 20’s to be my opportunity to be selfish, make mistakes, and establish myself before I bring a child into the world. Once I get that out of my system, I want to be a mom. I’ll be much more ready emotionally AND financially.

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  • avatar

    Dennis Hong February 4, 2011, 2:08 pm

    Personally, I’m always a bit skeptical about these types of surveys. I think people often answer what they think they’re supposed to answer, not what they really feel.

    Case in point, ABC News did a huge survey of Americans a few years ago and came to the conclusion that the average American male has had three times as many sexual partners as the average American female.

    Bullshit. It’s mathematically impossible.

    Anyway, I don’t want this to be TOO blatant a plug, but if anyone’s interested, my proof is on my blog. And it just goes to show, people LIE.

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    • avatar

      AnitaBath February 4, 2011, 2:16 pm

      I think, more than even how they answer, it matters WHO answers. Surveys on websites with a certain type of demographic usually have horribly-skewed results anyway, throw into the mix that the only people taking the survey are the ones who feel something about the subject matter and it’s impossible to take it seriously.

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    • avatar

      TheOtherMe2011 February 4, 2011, 2:16 pm

      Dennis, it’s just blatant ENOUGH ; )

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      • avatar

        Dennis Hong February 4, 2011, 2:47 pm

        Oh, good. Cuz my other idea was to post a naked picture of myself with my blog url written across my chest.

        Not sure if THAT would’ve been too blatant. :-p

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      • avatar

        Lexington February 5, 2011, 10:04 am

        It would have been more blatant if you had the URL right over your penis

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      • avatar

        Dennis Hong February 5, 2011, 5:06 pm

        Whoa. Highlighted?

        i thought about that, but then I realized it would just be an unreadable blur….

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  • avatar

    thefierycrash February 4, 2011, 3:05 pm

    i actually thought this one was quite depressing:
    “Love can last. Twenty-nine percent report remaining intensely in love with their last partner two to five years; 8% for six to 10 years; and 18% for more than 10 years.”

    ONLY 8% for 6-10 years? and the other percentages aren’t great either!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy February 4, 2011, 3:10 pm

      I didn’t make a point of mentioning it in my post, but I definitely noticed that figure and was a little depressed by it too.

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      • avatar

        AnitaBath February 4, 2011, 3:39 pm

        I wonder how Match.com did the survey. Because if they only surveyed people who used their site, why would a ton of people in happy marriages be using the site anyway?

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      • avatar

        Maracuya February 4, 2011, 6:42 pm

        Well, but how many of those surveyed had the opportunity to have a relationship for 6-10 or more than 10 years? It said they conducted a survey of 5,000 *single* Americans, so I wouldn’t expect anything too positive.

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  • avatar

    Nuttin February 4, 2011, 5:39 pm

    I have two thoughts: Men aren’t men any longer, that has been ripped from our groin and placed in our SO purses. We are supposed to cry and be in touch with our emotions, which although women say they like it…don’t! Were trying to give women what they have been asking for, weddings, babies, tears etc…and of course you rebel and run. You feminized the male gender now live with it.

    My second thought is you can have it all!! I will gladly stay home while you commute for hours every day to work. I will gladly give you the stress of a job you hate so I can stay home with the kids. I would be more then happy to clean, cook and have sex at my discretion.
    Honestly, women of today. Be proud of wanting/doing something we men have been doing for centuries, taking care of business. While more importantly, you’ve (Now hopefully us) have been home taking care of what really counts, our families.

    I know there are single mothers and fathers out there. I admire you both greatly. This post is not about you.

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  • avatar

    MissDre February 4, 2011, 6:40 pm

    I feel like I fit in the middle of all of this. I definitely want to have children, and I definitely could never give up my career, but I’ve certainly thought that, once I’m established with my company, I could work 3 days a week so I can be at home part of the time with my kids.

    My SO wants kids… way more kids than I want. He says he’d have 10 if he could support them all… I’d be happy with 2. He also says he’d be happy as a stay-at-home dad as long as he had a business venture on the side.

    Is it odd that I want to be a really good cooking/cleaning/caring/sexy housewife AND move up in my career?

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  • avatar

    PFG-SCR February 5, 2011, 2:12 pm

    “•Singles can fall in love with a friend. Seventy-one percent fell in love with someone they did not initially find attractive after having great conversations or shared interests or both; 35% fell in love with someone even though they felt no sparks initially.

    •Love can last. Twenty-nine percent report remaining intensely in love with their last partner two to five years; 8% for six to 10 years; and 18% for more than 10 years.”

    I was surprised by the first paragraph and disappointed by the second paragraph – those percentages are not very high. However, maybe there is a correlation between these two. I’m wondering if the “forced” attraction and compatibility in the first paragraph accounts for the lack of being in love after a relatively short period of time in the second paragraph.

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