Physical appearance? Nah!!! There is a new shift in dating now. How you look doesn’t count as sexy anymore. The new ‘sexy’ in the dating world is emotional maturity. As per a study by the Kinsey Institute, the 11th annual Singles in America study emotional maturity now tops the of traits that singles find attractive.
The study surveyed 5,000 singles from the age of 18 to 98 from the US general population. What the study revealed is that after COVID-19, the attitudes of singles towards sex, love and relationships have shifted and people are reconsidering what they want in romantic relationships.
Now, based on the study sample, 83% of singles are looking for emotional maturity in a partner. Physical attractiveness came second at 78%. This was a drop compared to the 90% it garnered in 2020. A “historic change”.
Hellen Fisher, Match science advisor said that for over a decade, when she gave singles 30 qualities to choose from about their potential mate, physical attractiveness at least came in the top 5 if not first. This year, it ranked 10th.
The things that people chose over physical attractiveness were things like “someone they can trust and confide in,” “someone that can make them laugh” and “someone open-minded and accepting of differences.”
“Emotional maturity is the new sexy,” says Fisher.
There has been a “grown-up glow up” courtesy of the pandemic. Singles are not only looking for stability in relationships but they are also caring more about their mental health and prioritizing the significant stuff in their lives.
Fisher dubs this change emotional maturity, “post-traumatic growth” explaining:
“Everybody had 18 months to sit around in a very small space and think about things. Everybody's been really quite scared, and I think when you're scared you think carefully about yourself, about the people that you love, and about what you want in life.”
Across all generations, the trend is now a focus on self-improvement and meaningful relationships (compared to before the pandemic) with Gen Z and Millennials leading this shift. For instance, for Gen Z, only 16% of those surveyed want to date casually, with 71% interested in meaningful relationships. The focus is now on long-term relationships and finding ‘the one’. Gen Z and Millennials are pumping the breaks on the dating process and are taking more get to know someone first before taking the plunge of commitment.
Despite the stereotype of “hookup culture,” Fisher said the study results show younger generations today are increasingly interested in long-term partnerships and are cautious about finding the right match.
Gen Z and Millennials have slowed down the dating process to spend more time getting to know potential partners before committing to a relationship. She said online dating may be a new stage in this timeline, but it does not prevent meaningful connections.
The other thing that has changed is that a lot of people who never considered online dating as the primary avenue of dating are now big users of dating sites and apps. And what they are going for, even online, is someone who seems kind as opposed to hot.
So if this trend continues, we will be seeing a lot more healthier relationships which will definitely transform the marriage and family institution positively. We will be seeing more stability.
Now is the time to get with the program. So if you have been banking on your looks only, try updating your profile by adding in some qualities that bring out your emotionally stable side.