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British singles remain more attached to the idea of matrimony than their counterparts elsewhere in Western Europe and are twice more likely to say “I do” than their European cousins. What’s more they are prepared to wait longer than any other European country in their search for Mr or Ms Right, according to a new report published today The European Singles Survey commissioned by PARSHIP – Europe’s largest premium online matchmaking service.

The survey of 13,000 people across Western Europe found that Over half (52%) of the UK’s 15 million singles are hoping their next relationship will develop into a serious commitment and they remain much keener on the idea of marriage than their counterparts on the European mainland: 29% of UK singles - 34% of women and 24% of men – expect marriage from a futures relationship, compared to 24% looking for just cohabitation. By contrast, only 16% of European singles preferred the idea of marriage, with 37% opting for less formal long-term commitment. Just 8% of Austrian singles want commitment leading to marriage and 14% of Italians who prefer no-strings flings, with 29% opting for casual relationships.

However, when it comes to finding their ideal partner, UK singles would prefer to wait for Mr or Ms Right rather than settle for second best. Four out of ten (39%) of UK singles – the highest proportion in Europe – expect it will take them more than two years to meet their perfect partner, compared to 83% of the satisfied Dutch. Over the last 12 months the average single man dated four different women, with the result that he ended up in 1.9 casual relationships, while the average woman dated three separate men, with 1.7 romantic flings. So much for the fun, but three out of four (75%) UK singles haven’t had a serious relationship in more than 12 months, with half (53%) doing without anyone special for more than three years.

UK singles are also the most miserable in Europe with 35% of unattached Brits saying they are dissatisfied with their single status. But it’s men, not women, who are driving this trend: 38% of single men are unhappy being single, compared to 30% of women.


At first glance, women in the UK might seem traditional, still preferring a relationship over singledom, favouring marriage over cohabitation, and looking to their parents as role models. However, UK women are certainly not going to settle for the first person who comes along - just 30% of British women are unhappy with their singles status (compared to 38% of men) and 40% attribute being single to their desire to retain their independence and keep time for themselves; this compares to just 30% of men.

And it seems that women are not only the fairer sex but also the more confident sex: Only 22% of single women claim a lack of confidence stops them getting a date compared to almost half (47%) of single men.

Dr Victoria Lukats, psychiatrist and PARSHIP’s dating expert commented:

“Single women are more likely to be happy with their single status when compared to men. These figures may perhaps be something of a surprise, as it could be argued that the media stereotype has very much been one of the single woman desperate to hook her man while she hears her biological clock ticking. However, the single woman who enjoys her independence and single status is unlikely to be a totally new phenomenon, as it was a trend seen in all European countries surveyed.”

She goes on to say:

“It’s also interesting to note that, across the European countries, women have higher levels of reported self-confidence than men, and also higher expectations of the attributes they are looking for in a potential partner. All these survey findings suggest that women are not prepared to compromise their independent lifestyle until they find Mr Right.”

One third (35%) of women admit they’re probably single due to fussiness; that said, they’re not hooked up on meeting an Adonis. Only 12% of women are turned off by baldness, 25% by hair on a man’s back and 21% by love handles or a bit of a tummy. It’s the faults of the inner man that bother them more: 59% are put off by a know-it-all, 65% by a dominating personality and 62% by ruthlessness.

What UK women do want in a man is honesty 97%, followed by the ability to communicate well (95%), faithfulness (90%), openness (88%), and a sense of humour (88%). Good looks have their place, with 39% of women confirming their importance.

As might be expected in modern Britain, 88% of women say they’re looking for equality in a future relationship. Only 23% of women are attracted to a man who assumes the traditional male role: Just 47% of women say their future partner should assume the role of a protector, 48% are looking for a courageous go-getter, and a mere 25% say they want their man to offer an upscale standard of living. In fact only 19% of women are looking for a man who even earns more than they do.

When it comes to life with children, 68% of UK single women surveyed said that, if free of financial constraints, both parents should be able pursue their career if it made them happy rather than say at home with the kids, with 19% believing that at least one parent, either the man or the woman, should stay at home. However, only 7% of women thought it was the woman’s duty to give up their career to raise the children. Work is important to single women: in fact, only 44% said they would put their career on hold if offered the glamorous option of a 12-month all-expenses-paid overseas adventure with a new boyfriend, even if financial security would be guaranteed on their return. Another manifestation of this female confidence is that 21% of women would be happy to date a younger man.


Nearly half (47%) of UK single men attribute their long-term singledom to lack of confidence, 41% to shyness, 34% to fussiness and 31% to not being attractive enough. This suggests that there are now over 5 million men living in the UK who literally don’t have the confidence to approach a woman.

For all this over-sensitivity, men still place more emphasis on looks than women do. 52% attribute special importance to looks, one third say they would never date an overweight women, and as many as 45% of men admit they could just barely accept it. In spite of all that, a woman’s brain remains the most attractive part of her body: 70% of men valued intelligence highly.

Dr Victoria Lukats commented:

“The proportion of UK single men who feel a lack of self-confidence is holding them back from finding a partner seems very high, but the figures are higher for men than for women throughout the European countries surveyed. It's not entirely clear why men should feel this lack of confidence so much more acutely than women, but traditionally the onus has always been on men to romantically pursue women if they are to stand a chance – whether it's approaching a woman in a bar, asking for a date, phoning to arrange a second date, or even proposing marriage. It's no wonder that men can sometimes feel a pressure to perform, especially if they are less outgoing, or shy by nature. Men should remember that although an aura of self-confidence can be very attractive, as far as women are concerned and according to PARSHIP's survey, attraction has much less to do with looks (a six pack is certainly not required!) … It's the person within that counts.”

- ENDS –

For more information, a copy of the report or case studies, please contact.

Penny Conway
Mobile: 07775992350

About PARSHIP, the largest premium online matchmaking service in the UK, is specifically for people who are serious about forming a lasting relationship, and is built on a rigorous personality profiling test that determines compatibility. It is the British subsidiary of Europe’s most successful serious online dating service, now with millions of members, predominantly affluent, educated men and women between 28 and 55 years old.

Since its launch in Germany in 2001, PARSHIP has matched thousands people who are serious about forming a long-lasting relationship, and it now operates in 14 countries of Western Europe and also in Mexico

PARSHIP GmbH is headquartered in Hamburg and is 87%-owned by Holtzbrinck networXs AG, part of the Georg von Holtzbrinck publishing group, one of Germany’s largest publishing companies with financial interests in more than 80 companies, including the Macmillan Group.

About the 2008 Singles Survey

For this study, conducted in October 2007, PARSHIP joined forces with the market research institute Innofact to survey more than 13,000 people aged between 18 and 59, single and in long-term relationships, in 13 Western European countries. The study focuses on the topics of lifestyle, relationships, looking for a partner and online dating, embracing more than 100 different themes. The random sample in each country was identically structured in terms of age and gender, with a 50/50 split between: male and female respondents; single people/partnered people; the 18-39 and 40-59 age groups. The survey covered: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

About Dr Victoria Lukats, MBBS MRCPsych MSc

As well as working as a dating expert for PARSHIP, Dr Victoria Lukats is a specialist registrar within the NHS. She graduated with a medicine degree from King's College London in 1998, is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and has a Masters Degree in Mental health from King's College London. In addition, she writes an agony aunt column on relationships and dating for a national newspaper and is a spokesperson for Psychologies magazine.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of PARSHIP GmbH in the following categories: Men's Interest, Health, Women's Interest & Beauty, Media & Marketing, for more information visit