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‘Tis the Season for Online Dating & Romance

'Tis the Season for Online Dating & Romance While the holidays are steeped in tradition including family time, travel, gifts, food and stress, a new convention seems to be brewing during this special time of the year – online dating.

Justin Garcia, Ph.D., a scientific advisor for a major online dating site and a faculty member at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute and Department of Gender Studies, says that mid-December through mid-February is considered a peak period for online dating.

The knowledge stems from a survey of 1,000 clients, in which 82 percent reported that the holidays make them feel more romantic than other times of the year.

In the same study, a quarter of respondents reported experiencing a break-up during the holiday season.

“The holidays can be a really stressful time in terms of trying to start new relationships and also getting out of previous relationships,” Garcia said.

“If we think of what happens with many Americans this time of year, we’re traveling, we’re spending more money, we’re often getting to see family and friends. As much as this can bring a lot of joy and excitement, it can also bring a lot of stress. This combination can be tricky to navigate.”

Garcia, an evolutionary biologist, offers these insights about dating — as drawn from the largest study on U.S. singles:

  • Holidating.

    The survey of 1,000 people found that 14 percent of men and 10 percent of women admitted to dating someone during the holidays just to have someone to spend the holidays with. Garcia said that inevitably, many singles are grilled over the holidays about their solitary status. “This is unique to humans,” he said. “No other animals on the planet are so involved with the mating habits of kin as humans are.”

  • The Internet trumps bars as a place to meet men and women.

    A historically unprecedented number of single Americans is now turning to the Internet to find love: More than a quarter of singles (27.5 percent) reported that they have dated someone they met online.

  • “Online” includes social media sites, such as Facebook, and chat groups, with the rate dropping to about 21 percent when restricted to online dating sites . Twenty percent of singles met their most recent first date online vs. 7 percent who met at a bar.
  • Peak season.

    The peak online dating season is during the holidays, between December and February, when sees a 25 to 30 percent increase in new members registering.

  • Second looks can pay off.

    Thirty-five percent of singles have fallen in love with someone they were not initially attracted to. Of these people, 71 percent became smitten after having great conversations or finding shared interests or both.

Garcia said online dating has the benefit of making people aware of singles living near them, in their area or within their search radius.

The dating sites provide so many options, however, that it can seem overly complicated. He suggests customers spend some time beforehand thinking about what they want in a relationship and how they can communicate this to their dates.

“It’s good to have a priority, as is true of so many things,” he said.

“With online dating , think about what you want. If you’re looking for a spouse, it could be more complicated. Love and a spouse come after, with time. Online dating is about dating.

“There could be many people who you date. Some work out and some don’t. But it’s meant to be fun. People often want to jump a step.”

Source: Indiana University

Online dating keyboard photo by shutterstock.

‘Tis the Season for Online Dating & Romance

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). ‘Tis the Season for Online Dating & Romance. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 24 Dec 2013)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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