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Love survey shows one dating flaw can't be overlooked

| Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, 9:00 p.m.

Political tensions may be high, but singles aren't letting party lines get in the way of love. According to Match's eighth annual survey of more than 5,000 single people around the country, 72 percent of people would date someone from a different political party.

The survey examines trends and shifting attitudes across the dating world, from how many people are open to a threesome to how important it is for a love interest to have a clean bathroom. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and chief scientific adviser to Match, said the findings on whether or not politics play a role surprised her.

“You can't turn on the TV, you can't even walk in the streets without hearing the name Trump,” Fisher said. “It just seems so vitriolic. I think it's a very good example how the brain system for romantic love trumps everything else.”

Despite the political climate, Fisher said she has seen people becoming more open-minded than they were even two years ago when Match surveyed singles leading up to the election. Her theory? People might be getting sick of the stark divide.

“I think it's becoming more complex,” Fisher said. “Everyone's watching the news. They see Republicans with different kinds of views, Democrats with different kinds of views. Not all Republicans are for Trump. Not all Democrats are for Hillary. So singles might be saying to themselves, ‘Well, he might be a Republican, but he might not have voted for Trump. He might have more complex feelings on this.' There are lots of different kinds of Republicans and Democrats these days, so people are saying, ‘Let's get to know them before we judge.'”

Though many find it acceptable to date someone with opposing political views, it seems there's at least one flaw that cannot be overlooked in the name of love: breaching social media etiquette. According to the survey, only 20 percent of singles say it's OK to like a photo or post on social media before a first date.

But online behavior is becoming more ingrained in dating culture, especially considering that more people meet online than anywhere else and nearly two-thirds of singles use social media every day.

“I am really impressed by millennials,” Fisher said. “They want to define everything. They want transparency. Friends with benefits. In my day, we had friends with benefits, but we didn't have a name for it. They want it absolutely clear. They want to almost diagram the trajectory of a romance.”

The survey found 55 percent of singles have had a friends with benefits relationship and 45 percent have had one turn into a committed relationship.

This desire to define everything means that singles will set up boundaries, and rules and taboos are emerging, according to Fisher. She credits this trend to what she calls “slow love,” or millennials' desire to move into commitment cautiously, to be sure they know more about the other person.

“They're being very careful about how they express any kind of interest in somebody,” she said. “They don't want to get in too fast. They don't want to catch feelings, as they say. They don't want to get into anything they can't handle. And they don't want to be accused of stalking. We're living in a time when any action can be minutely dissected.”

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