50% of the Adult Population Struggle to Make Romantic Connections: Study
Thu, April 22, 2021

50% of the Adult Population Struggle to Make Romantic Connections: Study

Some people are single by choice while others are single because of circumstance, such as financial constraints, pursuing professional or educational advancement, or a lack of suitable partners / Photo by: fizkes via Shutterstock

 

Some people are single by choice while others are single because of circumstance, such as financial constraints, pursuing professional or educational advancement, or a lack of suitable partners.

A new study conducted by Menelaos Apostolou from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus and Yan Wang from Fudan University in China revealed that half of the adult population are experiencing difficulties in intimate relationships or struggling to make romantic connections.

Prolonged Involuntary Singlehood

To determine the prevalence of long-term involuntary singlehood among adults, the duo recruited 2,041 Chinese adults and 884 Greek adults to participate in an online survey. The survey involved asking the subjects to rate themselves on how easy it is for them to start a romantic relationship, whether they do well in their romantic relationships, whether they find romantic connections difficult, or how easily they keep a romantic relationship.

The researchers also asked for the participants’ demographic information, including marital status, sex, and age. It was revealed that in both Chinese and Greek samples, over 50% of the adults shared that they are single. Although some reflected that they are single because they choose to be, others said that they experience difficulty attracting and retaining a partner.

The result shows that 22.0% of adults from China and 24.9% from Greece are struggling to attract romantic relationships. Approximately 50% of Chinese singles said they had never been in a romantic relationship and 20% of the Greek singles had not been in a relationship for more than three years.

The result shows that 22.0% of adults from China and 24.9% from Greece are struggling to attract romantic relationships / Photo by: stockfour via Shutterstock

 

Chinese and Greek Samples: Examining Their Differences

In examining the differences between the Chinese and Greek samples, Apostolou and Wang said that voluntary singlehood is more common in China than in Greece. Furthermore, the prevalence of marriage in Greece (18.7%) was higher than in China (13.4%).

The researchers said that the differences may originate from the disapproval of adolescents’ romantic relationships in China. Growing up with such a background or culture, many young people would believe that it is okay to just wait for romance to come without purposeful efforts. However, regardless of the cultural differences, the fact remains that many people are struggling to find romance, the researchers added.

One possible explanation given in the study for why many people struggle to find a romantic partner is the mismatch between our evolutionary heritage and modern society. For instance, people now spend more time pursuing their careers or improving their strengths. Social psychologist Mark Travers Ph.D., who was not involved in the study, shared that this trend is a given because of the sophistication that technology brings in the modern workplace. It also takes more time for a person to be a valuable member of the professional fields they have chosen. Yet, the success in career also comes at the cost of starting families later or entering relationships later than the favorable age from an evolutionary standpoint.

Negative Consequences of the Singlehood Trend

Apostolou and Wang added that the singlehood trend, however, has negative consequences. These include scattered family ties and increased loneliness. The authors pointed out the importance of psychological interventions meant to help individuals overcome the challenges of singlehood. “For many people, singlehood is not temporary but long-lasting,” they concluded. Their data presents a proportion of the adult population who are involuntary single and have poor mating performance.

No one in this world may be perfect, but attracting love is possible / Photo by: Antonio Guillem via Shutterstock

 

Masculine and Feminine Energy

Relationship coach Sami Wunder, who was not involved in the study, previously shared via media company Insider that intelligent and high achieving women can sometimes struggle to have the same success in their romantic lives as they do in their careers because they approach their dates with the same “masculine energy” they use at work. This means that they apply in their dating lives the energy of being in control and forceful. “You can’t achieve love this way,” said Wunder. If women will not be in touch with the two polar opposite energies to achieve a healthy relationship, they may attract men that are too passive or men who have feminine energy. This is because the woman is already leading using her masculine energy.

In a previous study of Apostolou and colleagues published in 2018, the assistant professor detailed the reason why men stay single. Out of the 20,207 responses, the primary (13,429) responses included poor looks, poor flirting skills, low effort, shyness, bad experience from previous relationships, and low self-confidence.

The United States Census Bureau stated that there are a total of 110.6 million people in America age 18 and above who are single. This group comprises 45.2% of all US residents age 18 and above. The percentage of unmarried US adults who have never been married is 63.5, 23.1% are divorced, and 13.4% are widowed. In 2016, there were 35.4 million people who lived alone, comprising 28.1% of all US households.

No one in this world may be perfect, but attracting love is possible. Having a clear vision (putting a love dream board), spreading love everywhere you go, and getting rid of the potential physical obstacles are only some ways to transition from singlehood to a happy relationship.