The rules of dating have changed – for the better! Here, using the latest stats from LoveGeist – the largest survey of singletons in the UK – match.com’s relationship and dating advice guru Kate Taylor tells you what’s sizzling and what’s fizzling love-wise in the year ahead
Young d8ers luv 2 stay in touch via Txt. Over half of the singletons aged under 45 said texting was their favourite way of getting in touch after a date, with the numbers being higher among women (67%) than men (42%). Older singles still prefer to talk on the phone. Men are more persistent over texts than women: over a third said they’d send three unanswered texts before giving up. Women are much less resilient – 45% of them said that after just one unanswered text, it’s Game Over.
Texting is a great way of keeping in touch with partners. It’s less intrusive than a phone call, you have time to compose a great message, and it’s cheap. Shy singles might find that texting brings out a slightly braver, more flirty side to their personality too. One piece of dating advice: new research from the University of Austin in Texas showed that couples who use language in similar styles were more likely to last. So if your d8 uses text spk, follow suit.
FIZZLING: The three-day rule
Back in the day, it was universally accepted to be cool to wait three days to contact a new partner after a first date. But now? Forget it, granddad – waiting just 1.5 days is where it’s at. The LoveGeist report discovered that, if your date was on a Saturday night and ended at 11pm, the most likely time you’d get a follow-up call or text was at 11.48am on Monday – making Sunday an agonising write-off.
Smartphones are probably behind this rise in unprecedented keenness. We take our phones everywhere now, so it would take nerves of steel to wait 72 hours to get in touch. In fact, an Ofcom study revealed that almost half of UK adults claim to be “addicted” to their smartphones, with 28% of them admitting they even take them into the loo. So heed this dating advice: don’t wait – call your new partner when the urge strikes you. It won’t put them off. Unless they hear the flush in the background…
SIZZLING: Women going Dutch
Dating is no longer a free ride for the ladies of 2012. Now, 68% of women said they’d “expect to split the bill” on a first date. There might still be tussles over the bill though, because while 26% of men expect to split it, a whopping 55% expect to pay the whole thing. To get this in perspective, just 1% of women expect to pay the whole bill on a first date – even if they were the one to set up the date.
Men are more generous on dates too – they expect to shell out £48.71 for a first date, compared to women’s comparatively tight-fisted £38.59. But men and women are united in agreeing that the more attractive they think a partner is, the more they’ll spend on the date. The dating advice here? Watch to see what a new partner spends on you. If, (based on their salary), they’re being generous, it’s a great sign.
FIZZLING: Dinner dates
Cultural dates are rising in popularity across the UK. Whereas those dating in some cities (generally in the North of England) still prefer a traditional “drinks or dinner” affair, many others are choosing to explore local cultural activities, like museums, art galleries, cinemas and theatres. Tie this together with the fact that LoveGeist consistently finds people are more impressed by “thoughtful gestures” than “extravagant gifts” and you have a sure-fire recipe for success: take your date to a local cultural event that suits their interests or hobbies.
SIZZLING: Men getting dressed up
Move over from the mall, girls – chances are your man will splash more cash getting ready for a first date than you will! We discovered that blokes now spend £35.72 on their appearance before a first date – on things like new clothes, haircuts and accessories – compared to women’s £27.31. Plus, men no longer feel items like spray tans, waxings and manicures are purely female pleasures; they’ll happily pamper themselves, with the younger men being the most keen to embrace their girly side.
Worried now, lads? This dating advice should help: if your usual method of getting ready for a date is just to shower and shave, don’t panic. Women aren’t requiring you to be perfectly groomed these days – we just prefer it. If you take a little time to smooth on some moisturiser and get a haircut before a date, that’s more than enough. (And your skin will be perfectly soft for a kiss!)
FIZZLING: Multiple dating
Forget the American style of multi-dating, where you can date lots of different people simultaneously until you agree to be “exclusive” with one of them – it never caught on over here. Brits are a loyal lot, with 92% of women and 82% of men saying they prefer to date one person at a time.
If you’re looking for love online, you will get the chance to meet a lot of people at the same time, so how do you handle this? The best thing to do is be honest with each person that you have a couple of other prospective first dates coming up. Chances are, they do too. Then when you’ve had perhaps one or two dates with each person, decide who you’d like to focus on and let the others down gently. And while LoveGeist discovered that most daters prefer to break up in person, if you’ve had only a couple of dates, my best dating advice would be that a sweet email or call would be fine.