Match.com, which is so intent on dominating the online dating world that it recently bought upstart rival OkCupid for about $50 million in cash, is also investing pretty heavily in understanding the minds of the unmarried. It recently completed a huge new study of more than 5,000 single people — quite possibly be the biggest study of singles to date — and some of its findings are so unexpected they border on the implausible.
In this week’s print issue of TIME (you remember print, right?) we take a close look at what the survey results suggest about single men. The biggest surprise is that they actually want to get married about the same rate as women do. Just not at the same time. Men under the age of 24 and over the age of 50 were more likely than women of the same age to want to get married. During the years most people get married, however, more women are interested than men, but not by all that much. (More on TIME.com: Texting Leads to Sex Sooner, Easier Break-Ups Later)
More surprising still is how men felt about what relationships mean. On the whole, fewer men wanted their own bank accounts, their own personal space, their own vacations or their nights out with their buddies than women did. They also fell in love at first sight more often and had a more inclusive attitude towards the race and religion of their potential partners. The single women seemed to want to hold back some of their independence. Oh, and more single men than women wanted kids, across every age group.
In other news, office romances are way down, perhaps as a result of women’s rising economic power. About a third of people who have had one night stands have then dated their hook-up partners long term, while 49% of people have had best friends become lovers. And if the first date didn’t go well, Match.com would like you to take heart: 71% of people have fallen in love with people they didn’t find attractive at first. (On the other hand since only single people took the survey, those relationships didn’t last forever.) (More on TIME.com: What Your Brain Looks Like After 20 Years of Marriage)
Then again, some stuff never changes: nearly 90% of women have not asked anybody out on a first date in the past year. They prefer to be asked.
See the TIME story, “The Myth of the Slippery Bachelor,” here.