“It’s actually probably easier to meet people now than ever before, if you think about all of the incredible technologies we have to connect,” says Eric Klinenberg, a sociology professor at New York University and the author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone.“But one big issue is people today are really looking for their soul mate," he says, "and they’re not going to compromise.” In addition to holding out for a soul mate, Klinenberg says many people aren’t settling down with someone because of society’s changing culture.Some singles also spend money on more focused efforts to meet someone, such as online dating sites, matchmakers and dating coaches, says a nationally representative survey of more than 5,000 singles ages 18 and older, for the Dallas-based dating website "I go out in a dating way four nights a week, minimum," says Peter Doggett, 29, a regional director for an academic company in New York City. He says he spends "at least $500, if not $1,000 a month" to socialize — but doesn't pay for online dating sites, matchmaking or similar services — he says he just uses free dating apps.MORE: Live video chats latest online dating trend MORE: Texting upends dating culture MORE: What singles want in a partner This fourth annual survey, provided exclusively to USA TODAY, asked 137 questions about dating, relationships and sex, including "How much money do you spend on your dating life (seeking dates and on dates) per month?Of that 80%, 54% said sex on a first date is "not at all appropriate."• 54% of singles think a good first date should last from two to four hours; 43% say one to two hours; just 3% say five or more hours.• 40% of women and 48% of men say they have sent a sexually explicit text message; 36% of women and 35% of men have sent a sexy photo of themselves in a text message.• 31% of singles say they have had a one-night stand turn into a committed relationship; 28% of singles have had a "friends with benefits" relationship turn into commitment.• 15% of men and 12% of women say they'd ideally want to have sex every day; all ages agree that two to three times a week is ideal.The comprehensive survey, conducted by Research Now, a market research company based in Dallas, offers a broad look at the minds of today's singles and shows they are an accepting bunch — up to a point."Like Doggett, many singles aren't spending a lot on dating-related services — the average in the survey was just $5.69 a month, compared with $55.84 spent on going out and socializing.Of those surveyed, 88% spent nothing on more focused dating efforts and 38% spent nothing on dating-related activities.
And that's not all: “They’re also more likely to spend time with friends and with neighbors.Still, the survey estimates that with more than 100 million single adults in the USA (according to 2013 Census data) singles' dating-related spending totals more than $80 billion a year.Still, the monthly amount most singles spend is low, says anthropologist Helen Fisher of Rutgers University, who helped develop the survey."A lot of singles are not dating at all," she says."I suspect that all of these singles who are not dating are radically reducing the average dollars spent on dating" that the survey found.
Among other survey findings:• 20% of singles say having sex on a first date is either "somewhat appropriate" or "very appropriate" but 80% disagreed.
When you live alone, you have a little oasis in your apartment.” Klinenberg says that solo living also allows individuals who have ended a marriage to focus on their priorities.