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What are singles looking for?

Being single in today’s world comes with many unique challenges and opportunities. With more people staying single longer before settling down, the single population is larger than ever before. This means the modern single person has more options, but also more confusion about what exactly they want from dating and relationships. Understanding what singles want is the first step to connecting with potential partners.

Do singles actually want to be in a relationship?

With the rise of casual dating apps and a cultural shift away from serious relationships, it may seem like many singles are happy just playing the field. But studies show the majority of singles are open to finding a long-term partner and settling down. According to the Pew Research Center, over 80% of never-married singles say they would eventually like to get married. This debunks the myth that all singles want to stay unmarried and date casually forever. However, with the right person, most singles do ultimately hope to be in a committed relationship.

Singles Who Want to Marry Percentage
Women 84%
Men 78%

These statistics show both men and women have strong interest in long-term commitment. The key is finding someone who is a good match for their individual needs.

What are singles looking for in a partner?

Every single person is unique, so relationship priorities vary greatly from one individual to the next. But there are some general trends that emerge among what most singles hope to find in a partner:

Emotional connection and compatibility

Above all, singles desire a meaningful emotional bond and general compatibility with a partner. Research from Stanford University found the top relationship priorities include:

  • Mutual attraction/love
  • Trust
  • Emotional stability
  • Dependable character
  • Intimacy/companionship

These relationship fundamentals reflect a need for true compatibility beyond surface-level traits. Singles are searching for that special person they genuinely connect and bond with at the core.

Common interests and values

In addition to an emotional connection, singles hope to find someone who shares their values and passions. Having activities and causes to bond over builds a strong foundation. According to eHarmony surveys, some of the most desirable shared traits and interests include:

  • Similar ethics and beliefs (83%)
  • Common interests/hobbies (82%)
  • Comparable intelligence levels (74%)
  • Shared desire for children (61%)

Having mutual interests, goals and philosophies enables deeper understanding and better compatibility.

Healthy communication and conflict resolution

How a partner communicates and handles disagreements is hugely important to singles. Research from the University of Toronto identified effective communication and conflict management as top relationship must-haves. Specifically, singles hope to find someone who:

  • Listens attentively
  • Expresses feelings constructively
  • Compromises when needed
  • Remains respectful during conflicts
  • Willingly admits faults and apologizes

These healthy communication habits help create a sense of safety and stability in a relationship.

Financial responsibility

Singles rate financial responsibility as another highly desirable trait in a mate. Debt, expensive tastes, and poor money management are considered deal breakers by many. According to research from Merrill Edge, the top money-related red flags include:

  • Too much credit card debt (62%)
  • Compulsive shopping habits (47%)
  • Stinginess with money (43%)
  • Lack of savings (40%)

Singles seek partners who are financially independent and share similar saving and spending habits. This helps avoid money-related conflicts down the road.

What dating activities are singles interested in?

Singles don’t just have preferences in the type of person they date – they also have strong opinions on what makes for a fun, engaging date activity. According to surveys from dating sites Zoosk, Match and eHarmony, the date ideas singles say they enjoy most include:

Trying a unique activity together

Doing an activity they’ve never done before, like an outdoor adventure, cooking/baking class or arcade bar. This creates excitement and gives them something to bond over.

Attending live music or cultural events

Going to see live bands, DJs, plays, museums, galleries, etc. Singles appreciate dates that are intellectually and creatively stimulating.

Playing games together

Either board games, mini golf, bowling, arcade games or home video games. A little playful competition breaks the ice and brings out people’s fun sides.

Checking out local attractions

Visiting landmarks, natural scenery, seasonal festivals, farmers markets, craft fairs, etc. It provides entertainment while allowing couples to get to know the area better together.

Preferred Date Activities Percentage Interested
Live Music Event 68%
Local Festival/Fair 63%
Art Museum 59%
Arcade/Games 57%
Cooking Class 54%

Trying new things and enjoying their city’s offerings allows singles to get out of their comfort zone and bond in the process.

How do singles balance relationship desires with independence?

Today’s singles highly value their independence and personal freedom. According to Pew Research, a majority of singles have no interest in cohabitating with a partner any time soon. But this doesn’t mean they don’t eventually want commitment. Most singles are seeking a “self-reliant relationship” – preserving autonomy while still having an intimate bond. Key aspects include:

Maintaining independent friend groups and hobbies

Singles don’t want to fully merge lives and give up their own distinct interests and social circles. They want partners who will give them space to preserve uniqueness.

Dividing household and financial responsibilities

Rather than defaulting into gendered roles, self-reliant singles aim to equitably divide duties in a way that suits both partners.

Communicating needs for alone time

Singles require alone time to recharge and often feel smothered without it. They want partners who respect requests for solo time.

Compromise and emotional availability

Despite valuing autonomy, singles still want partners willing to make compromises when needed and be emotionally available to support each other.

The “self-reliant relationship” model allows modern singles to balance their relationship desires with personal independence.


What singles want is to forge genuine connections with partners who complement and strengthen their lives. They seek people to share activities, values and experiences with – but who will also give them space to flourish as individuals. With more singles staying unmarried longer, understanding these relationship priorities is key for finding long-term compatibility in today’s dating landscape.