Regarding the “I’m single” lie of omission

February 22, 2011

What would happen if you actually said, “sorry, I won’t share a bed with you until we’re in a committed relationship.”

February 22, 2011

What Makes or Breaks Your Relationship – according to 720,000 people

February 22, 2011
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So this is interesting.

eHarmony – makers of ridiculous commercials and the successful matches that inspire them – has come out with a new study about what makes or breaks a relationship.

The results come from questions that service asks during their “Guided Communication process” – online daters as asked to share their relationship “must-haves” and “can’t stands” with their matches. They analyzed what more than 720,000 eHarmony members selected from a list of 50 options and put them together in what I think is a rather well-designed chart (power point junkie).

Click here to read at full-size, but I’ve pasted those very fancy charts below and included my thoughts below that.The “Can’t Stand” List

  • Top three are exactly the same for both men and women – #1: Lying, #2: Cheating, #3: Rude. I was pleased to see this because it is smart and makes sense. That said it does not explain why so many lying, cheating, assholes are in relationships.
  • Men are more concerned with poor hygiene than infidelity. Literally. It’s the #4 thing man “can’t stand” – directly under Liars, Cheaters, and people who are Rude. #4: Poor Hygiene followed by “Mean Spirited” and then finally, “Infidelity.” Survey results are always tricky to understand, but it seems pretty clear that if you are a dirty woman you are not going to fare well.
  • On the other hand, if you are a dirty man – you’ll be fine. Poor Hygiene ranks #7 on the list of things women can’t stand. Frankly I just think that’s because it’s a. expected and b. something you can change once you live with the guy. Lying and Cheating is not.
  • Women are more concerned about “Anger” than men – (#5 for women vs. #8 for men) but the description for anger (“I can’t stand someone who can’t control their anger, who yells or bottles it up inside is”) is confusing. There is a big difference between someone who yells and someone who bottles it up inside, and I’d be far more inclined to “can’t stand” one of those…
  • “Excessive Overweight” makes the list of things men can’t stand but doesn’t show up for women. “Racist” makes the women’s list, but not the men’s. Again, survey results are survey results, but this reads like a man prefers a racist woman to a heavy woman, and a woman prefers the opposite. Interesting.

The “Must Haves” List

  • In this department the top four are the same! #1: Sense of Humor, #2: Chemstry, #3: Affectionate, #4: Communicator. I’m not shocked by #1 or #1, but the fact that men ranked affection and communication so high was pleasantly surprising.
  • “Loyal” and “Emotionally Healthy” were flipped for #5 and #6 with men choosing “Loyal” first and women, “Emotionally Healthy.” That makes sense though you’d think loyal would rank even higher based on the fact that “Liar” and “Cheater” are the top two “can’t stands.”
  • “Responsible” makes the women’s list (at #8), but it’s no where to be found on the men’s. I can’t decide if this is because men don’t think women are responsible or if it’s because men don’t need/want women to be responsible. I asked a few men who said they’d never thought about it before but wouldn’t pick it off a list of “must have’s” – makes sense.
  • This is my favorite. “Patience” shows up on the guy side but not on the girl side. I’m going to assume this is because men want/need women to be patient with them – re: nag less.
  • And in an odd twist – “Family Life” is something women must have, but not something that registers for men. The description is, “must have a partner who is committed to marriage, home and family.” I don’t think we can assume that men are unilaterally less interested in marriage, home and family (or can we?), so maybe it’s just that it’s expected of a woman to have those interests making it something a man doesn’t consider a “must have” worth listing? And, I hate to say this, but I’m surprised at how low it is on the female list (#9).

Part of me wants to get inside the eHarmony system so I can take this survey myself because results like these are always far more specific to the moment than the entire person. But all-in-all, I find them fairly accurate. What do you think?

6 comments

  1. I think ti;s interesting that family life was ranked on the women’s side, but not the men’s side, after that article came out last month that stated men were more likely to want a stable relationship in the future (ie, late 20s-early 30s), where women were okay with being focused on their careers and that family wasn’t ranked as high on the list as it previously had been.

    (reference: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christie-garton/men-want-marriage-more-th_b_823280.html)

  2. Interesting. On the subject of responsibility, I’d add another possibility- we assume that a woman’s going to be responsible, so we don’t really think of it as a requirement.

    Which reminds me of an interesting phenomenon I’ve noticed that really relates to all this: Most of the qualities we look for are actually pretty obvious, and we only decide that they matter once we’ve dated someone who *lacks* them. Lying, cheating, etc wouldn’t even cross our minds if we didn’t date people who lied and cheated. EHarmony didn’t have to list “serial killer” as a quality because they presume most people haven’t dated serial killers.

    So I’m going to guess that, for “responsibility,” and some others, some respondents didn’t consider them because they’d never even met anyone who lacked it.

    In the end, I think this actually tells us a lot about the people we tend to date… ie, for some reason, women tend to date cheaters and liars who are irresponsible but don’t smell bad, while men tend to date cheaters and liars who don’t come off as irresponsible, but do smell bad and do complain a lot. If people with those strange negative qualities didn’t continue to attract us, would we even think about those characteristics?

  3. What about kindness being last on the women’s must-haves? I thought that was interesting too. And I’m not so sure there needed to be options for infidelity and cheating…

  4. The first thing that sticks out to be after just reading through the chart and then your post once (somewhat quickly) is the part on the Women’s Must-Haves about “Family.” I think there are a lot of other ways to describe a family and maybe that’s why men left it off?

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