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The Common Dating Strategy That’s Totally Wrong

By Arthur C. Brooks

10 Feb 2022 · 6 min read

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 126.9 million Americans are currently unmarried. If you are in the dating market, that might sound like good news. And yet most “daters”—people who are not in a committed relationship but would like to be, or people who date casually—are struggling. In a 2020 survey by the Pew Research Center, 67 percent said their dating life was not going well. Three-quarters said that finding someone to date was difficult.

Finding love might have always been a challenge, but evidence suggests that it has gotten harder in recent years. According to the General Social Survey, from 1989 to 2016 the proportion of married people in their 20s fell from 27 percent to 15 percent. And in case you think that’s just a commentary on traditional marriage, the same survey shows that the percentage of 18-to-29-year-olds who had not had any sex in a year nearly tripled from 2008 to 2018, from 8 to 23 percent.

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