Dating Data Study: The State of Romance

A romantic couple kissing because romance is very much alive and well in 2018.

Almost everyone knows someone who’s met their spouse or significant other online. And with so many people signing up to find someone special, there’s never been a better time to give online dating a try. Still, many wonder if using technology to help you get a date somehow makes the experience less romantic. True, dating looks awfully different these days than it did in the past, but when it comes to romance, do some things stay the same? Have we lost the romance, or is it still there moving us towards each other?

In honor of Valentine’s Day, the online dating site and app Zoosk surveyed its members to get a better understanding of what love and romance mean today.  

After surveying 9,000 members and looking at data from 750,000 profiles and 200 thousand messages, they learned that though the way we meet people may be different, romance is still very much alive and well.

Here are a few takeaways:

Online daters are more old-fashioned than you may think. 
82% of daters prefer old-fashioned romance over modern romance. And 79% percent think chivalry isn’t dead—though fewer woman feel so. (31% of women think chivalry is dead compared to 17% of men.)

Hopeless romantics may not be so hopeless after all.
Not when it comes to online dating at least. Saying you’re a hopeless romantic in your dating profile can get you up to 38% more incoming messages than the average. That’s even more than simply saying you’re a romantic (which will only get you 24% more messages).

Best Romantic Terms to Mention in Your Online Dating Profile

 Term mentioned in profile Increase in inbound messages
hopeless romantic38%

Start chopping wood, because the most romantic date is in front of the fireplace.
The vast majority of daters (75%) say snuggling in front of the fireplace is the most romantic date. Other popular ideas include candlelight dinners (58%) and a picnic in the park (45%). Women and Millennials do have some opinions that differ from the norm a bit. 46% of women list a scenic drive as a top date idea, while 60% of Millennials find stargazing the most romantic.

Men like physical touch, while women prefer quality time.
For those familiar with Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages, you know that the ways people express and feel love can be very different. They can use words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, or physical touch. When asked what language they find the most romantic 60% of men say physical touch, while women are a tad more split with 39% preferring quality time and 34% preferring physical touch.

Traditional romantic gestures are still very much appreciated. 
Though times have changed, the majority of people still find dating traditions romantic. A whopping 95% of people think holding a door open on a date is romantic, 93% feel that public displays of affection are romantic, and 82% think that paying for your date is romantic.

Have Mercy! Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky are the most romantic TV couple.
Maybe it’s the way they support each other’s careers, maybe it’s their amazing banter, or maybe we’ll just never forget Uncle Jesse singing ‘Forever’ at their wedding but singles voted Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky the ultimate TV couple for #relationshipgoals.

Most Romantic TV Couples 

  1. Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky from Full House
  2. Lucy and Ricky from I Love Lucy
  3. Chandler and Monica from Friends

Bonus Couples: When diving into the details more, there were some outliers. Women also rank Meredith and Derek from Grey’s Anatomy as a top couple, while Millennials mentioned Cory and Topanga from Boy Meets World and Jim and Pam from The Office.

And There’s No Beating That Pottery Scene from Ghost
As for the most romantic couples on the big screen, Molly and Sam (Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore) from Ghost take the top spot. I think we all know why.

Most Romantic Movie Couples

  1. Molly and Sam from Ghost
  2. Jack and Rose from Titanic
  3. Noah and Allie from The Notebook

Bonus Couple: Millennials also love Han Solo and Princess Leia from Star Wars.

When It Comes to Real Life, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Are the Real Deal
Enough of these fiction couples, when asked who they considered the ultimate #relationshipgoals couple in real life, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill came out on top.

Most Romantic Real-life Couples

  1. Faith Hill and Tim McGraw
  2. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell
  3. Michelle and Barack Obama

Women Love a Romantic Getaway, Men Like Hugs and Kisses
When asked what the most romantic thing someone could do for them is, women list a romantic getaway while men say they prefer hugs and kisses. Other romantic gestures include offering support when you need it and caring for you when you’re sick.

Top 3 Things Women Find Romantic

  • 70% of women think a romantic getaway is romantic.
  • 69% of women think offering support and encouragement is romantic.
  • 66% of women think hugs or kisses to say thank you are romantic.

Top 3 Things Men Find Romantic

  • 74% of men think hugs or kisses to say thank you are romantic.
  • 69% of men think offering support and encouragement is romantic.
  • 50% of men think caring for you when you’re sick is romantic.

Women Like Tickets, Men Like Framed Photos
If you’re wonderings what gifts to get your significant other for Valentine’s Day, you may want to consider tickets to an event—it’s the gift women find the most romantic. Men, however, prefer a framed photo of the two of you.

Top 3 Gifts Women Find Romantic

  • 61% of women think tickets to an event are romantic.
  • 54% of women think flowers are romantic.
  • 51% of women think a framed photo of the two of you is romantic.

Top 3 Gifts Men Find Romantic

  • 54% of men think a framed photo of the two of you is romantic.
  • 51% of men think tickets to an event are romantic.
  • 21% of men think cologne is romantic.

So whether you’re single or with someone this Valentine’s Day, buying tickets for your significant other or watching reruns of Full House, remember that romance is still a big part of our lives.

Megan Murray

Editor-in-Chief of The Date Mix

Megan Murray is the Editor-in-Chief of The Date Mix and works at the online dating site and app Zoosk, that has over 40 million members worldwide. She splits her time between writing for The Date Mix and working on the Zoosk product, which gives her behind-the-scenes knowledge about the world of online dating.

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