Fewer Americans are interested in seeking out a life partner even though data shows that marriage often leads to flourishing.
New polling from Pew Research Center suggests that more than half of single U.S. adults, 56 percent, are not interested in romantic relationships or even going on casual dates. As noted in the survey results, that number is up six percentage points from 2019.
Only 32 percent of those Americans who are looking for dates say they want committed relationships. Approximately 16 percent say they are content to stick with casual dating.
Those men and women who do enter the dating pool are less and less satisfied with their prospects. At least 63 percent of U.S. adults claim that dating has become more difficult, especially during the last two years. Seven-in-ten Americans say their dating lives are not going well at all.
The poll attributes part of this strain to the “pandemic” — a.k.a., government-mandated lockdowns and isolation encouragement from health bureaucrats. In reality, Americans’ perceptions that dating has grown harder is a trend that’s been on the rise for the last decade.
There’s also an age gap when it comes to how different generations view the challenge of dating. Approximately 71 percent of adults younger than 30 years old are say dating is tougher now, a statement with which 58 percent of adults above 30 years of age agree.
On the flip side, 22 percent of single adults younger than 30 say the pandemic sparked their interest in entering a serious relationship while only about 10 percent of those older than 30 say the same.
Marriage is one of the greatest measures of flourishing for U.S. adults. Fewer Americans are choosing marriage over casual dating and cohabitation but those who do tie the knot report lower divorce rates and higher general happiness.
“Compared to Americans who are unmarried, married Americans are more likely to report that they have a satisfying social life and a larger group of close friends. They also say they are more satisfied with their personal health than their single peers do,” the American National Family Life Survey notes.
Married couples who add kids to their families are even more satisfied. Even during the pandemic, married couples with children were less likely to report sadness or unwanted weight gain than any other group.
In addition to bringing lovers together, marriage offers a wide range of physical, mental, financial, and spiritual health benefits. Recent reports of increasing anxiety and depression in Americans, especially among younger age groups, signal how much our instant-gratification, anti-commitment culture damages young people and leaves them lonely. When fewer U.S. adults are even interested in entering the dating pool that would lead to a committed relationship and possibly marriage, it hurts their chances of thriving.