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For the past nine years, Match has conducted their Singles in America Study, an in-depth look at the issues affecting singles looking for love, or at least just a meaningful connection. 

For the first time, the dating app did a deep dive on the impact of the #MeToo era. The survey included 5,000+ singles from ages 18-73 and showed that over half of singles (46% Men; 69% Women), revealed the #MeToo movement is important to them, with 14% saying it’s made dating more challenging.

Since online dating is responsible for the largest of matches,  significantly higher than couples who have met in the office or through friends, the survey naturally showed that men are playing it cooler at work, on a date, and even when posting on social media.

Why Slow Dating is the New Normal

For men, taking it slow and thinking before speaking or acting is a good thing. Sure, chemistry can be exciting and actions can impulsive, but if the thought of getting a slap on the face for bad or aggressive behavior is improving the manners of singles, maybe the #MeToo movement is good for courtship. 

With all of this confusion, men are now feeling stronger than ever that it’s a good idea for women to make the first move.

In the SIA study, 75% of men reported being comfortable with women saying “hello” first on a dating app, yet the report shows that only 19% of women often take the lead. Digging deeper, a vast majority of men (90%) would want a woman to ask for their number, yet only 14% of women will do so. And taking it a step further to lean in for that first kiss, 90% of men would welcome it, but only 15% of women will do so.

With men living in fear of behaving inappropriately with the #MeToo movement on their minds, and women still desiring a traditional courtship of men taking the lead to ask the woman out, select the date, pay for the date, and even open the door, it’s become a confusing time for singles. 

So where can you meet in the middle so you can connect?

I believe women should take the lead. In a heterosexual relationship, most men are flattered when the woman makes the first move and initiates contact. Whether you consider it a feminist act or men are backing off in fear, the men I’ve spoken to welcome hearing from a woman first.

Let’s face it. Dating is a numbers game.  With men writing to fifty women, only to receive a handful of replies, taking the lead as a woman will help you connect with someone who’s exhausted from swiping, searching, and being ignored online. 

While 83% of singles said love was hard to find, 73% of singles said they were still hopeful they could find love.

Taking the lead as a woman doesn’t mean you’ll be paying the full mortgage one day, it just means you’re reaching out with the goal of starting a conversation that could possibly lead to finding the love of your life.

Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and founder of Cyber-Dating Expert. As an early adopter of the Internet, Julie’s been coaching singles on finding love online for over 25 years.

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  • Julie Spira

    Online Dating Expert, Bestselling Author, and Award-Winning Dating Coach

    Cyber-Dating Expert

    Julie Spira was an early adopter of the Internet and is America's Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She's the CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert, an award-winning dating coach, and internationally recognized dating expert. Julie's been coaching singles on finding love online for over two decades. Julie writes about the intersection of love and technology, as well as the collision of love and politics. Julie's a frequent guest in the media, having appeared in over 1500 news stories, including ABC, CBS, CNN, E!, FOX, HLN, NBC, Access Hollywood, Good Morning America, Today Show, Boston Globe, New York Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, USA Weekend, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Essence, Glamour, Men's Health, Psychology Today, Women's Health, and Women's World. Her dating advice appears on Ask Men, Bustle, eHarmony, Elite Daily, Match, MSN, PlentyofFish, Tinder, YourTango, and Zoosk. Julie's the recipient of the Best Dating Coach of the Year in the iDate Awards, which celebrated her excellence for navigating love. She appeared in Vice Media's documentary, "The Mobile Love Industry" and in the feature film, "The Lonely Italian." Julie's the author of "The Perils of Cyber-Dating," and "Love in the Age of Trump."