Single adulthood used to be a brief moment between adolescence and marriage. Today, according to one study, the median age of a first marriage is rising for both men and women, and singles make up 41 percent of American adults 18 and older.
In places like New York City, Miami and Los Angeles, singles rule the scene. Thousands of ambitious, good-looking men and women flock to these and other urban centers aiming to work hard and party even harder. But many of these singles don't prioritize relationships and commitment, and can have a hard time securing a partner once they decide they want one. Why are so many people having difficulties finding the one? The city itself might be part of the problem. How The Recession Forever Changed Relationships
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"In a lot of cities where professional status really matters, people focus on their careers, valuing their jobs over quality of life—things like relationships, marriage and kids get put on the back burner," says Ian Kerner, Ph.D., sex therapist and relationship counselor and author of Passionista. In cities, "there is a higher proportion of eligible, interesting people, so the need to settle down doesn't feel as much as a priority." Why Am I Still Single?
Most people assume that the opportunities for meeting Mr. or Ms. Right in urban environments are better than in suburbs or smaller towns. While that might be true, men and women move to big cities with high expectations of finding someone who matches their needs, making them less likely to settle down with any given person.
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"I figured when I moved to Manhattan that I'd have better luck meeting someone just because of the sheer number of single women," says Eric, 28, a literary agent. "I'm very picky and will focus on what I don't like about someone because I know there is the potential to meet someone else who may have everything I do like. By living in a big city I knew my odds were better." Does Mr. Right Exist?
Mara, 24, a sales representative in fashion living in Manhattan also looks for ever-greener grass. "Usually, I never make it past the third date. It just falls apart, partly because I'm only half interested. In a lively city with a good nightlife, there's always something to do and an abundance of single, attractive men, so if I'm not that into him by the third date anyway, I don't mind staying single until I meet someone else."