It’s what women have been saying all along - Pan-European relationship survey shows that women really do set higher standards than men
- Just 20% of women now expect their partner to earn more money than they do, with 83% preferring equality over financial dependency
- 40% of single women wouldn’t date a man who was unemployed
- British single men have the lowest love expectations in Europe, but value brains over beauty
- On average, with the exception of two criteria – good looks and a toned body – women set a higher standard than men in all aspects of a potential partner
It’s official: when it comes to dating and relationships, women really do set higher standards than men. But with 40% of women claiming not to have had a relationship for more than three years, could high standards be holding them back from finding a partner?
A European survey of more than 13,000 men and women aged 18 to 59, conducted for Europe's largest serious online dating service PARSHIP – which matches people with a psychometric test, found that women across Europe are 27% more choosy than men when it comes to selecting a potential partner. What’s more, professional single women are 13% choosier still, or 44% choosier than the average European man. But it seems that British single men have the lowest love expectations in Europe: when assessing the importance of 32 different qualities in a potential partner, only 41% of the UK’s single males put a decisive priority on qualities such as education, salary and morality. This compared to 58% of married men in the UK. Even fidelity doesn’t seem to be a deal-breaker: 32% of British single men don’t consider their partner’s fidelity as important or very important.
The PARSHIP “High Standards” survey, conducted by Innofact asked 13,000 people to rate 32 different qualities we look for in a potential partner on a rating scale between one and five – one being important, five unimportant. On average, with the exception of two criteria – good looks and a toned body – women set a higher standard than men in all aspects of a potential partner.
On average, people in a relationship rank 20% higher than singles in their expectations of a partner. They place greater importance on qualities such as the ability to compromise, openness and punctuality, and less importance on sexual compatibility and chemistry.
Dr Victoria Lukats, psychiatrist and PARSHIP’s dating expert commented: “This is a large survey with consistency across 13 European countries, demonstrating the significance of the findings.”
“There are various hypotheses that might explain the finding that women have higher standards than men. It could be a cultural phenomenon – perhaps women are encouraged to be more choosy when it comes to dating and settling down with a partner. Many women still feel some degree of social pressure not to have too many partners in order to avoid being adversely judged – so it pays for them to be more discerning from the outset.
“In addition, it might even be partly explained by biological differences between the sexes. From an evolutionary point of view, maybe women who were choosier about their sexual partners passed on a survival advantage to their offspring, whereas men might be programmed to maximise the chances of survival of their genes by applying slightly lower standards in what they look for in a partner.”
Topping the list of love expectations, 90% of British single women said they expected their partner to be honest, communicate well and be sexually faithful. However, only 20% of women now expect their partner to earn more money than they do, with 83% preferring equality over financial dependency. For all that, British women are twice more likely than men to be turned off by meanness, with 61% saying they wouldn’t date someone who was tight with money; by contrast, 66% of men saw thrift as a positive quality. On similar lines, 40% of single women wouldn’t date someone who was unemployed, while just 13% of men felt the same.
Continuing the theme, 70% of men rated good communication skills, a sense of humour, openness, honesty and intelligence over good looks -- though 52% of men still said that a pretty face was a must. By comparison, just 39% of women attached importance to looks. British men proved the least fussy in Europe, placing the least importance on a woman’s fidelity – just 68% claimed they expected monogamy, compared to 85% of women – and her prowess in cleaning and cooking (34%).
“It's surprising that UK singles have some of the lowest standards of what they look for in partner,” continues Dr Victoria Lukats, psychiatrist and dating expert. “Perhaps UK singles feel it's less socially acceptable to express their expectations. Alternatively, it’s possible that UK singles really do have low standards. This could be something of a double edged sword – if you have lower standards then in theory you should be more easily satisfied; but on the other hand it could mean that a proportion of UK singles might settle for partners with whom they are incompatible in the longer-term.”
The PARSHIP European “High Standards” Ranking
The “High Standards” Ranking measures the importance people place on 32 individual qualities that they are likely to look for in a potential partner. See below (About the “High Standards” Ranking & Survey) for a full explanation of how the Ranking was calculated.
1st Austrian singles (61 points) – fussiest in Europe
- Four out of ten men would only date a woman with a toned body and place greater importance on sex.
- Seven out of ten Austrian men score sex appeal and qualities as a lover (Score = 70:100) over equality in a relationship (61:100)
Joint 2nd Swiss singles (59 points)
- Four out ten Swiss men think equality is over-rated, and over half want their
partner to be able to cook.
Joint 2nd German singles (59 points)
- German singles believe in respect and value honestly above all else
(men 94:100 vs. women 97:100)
- Punctuality is a must, seven out of ten singles expect their date turn up on time.
4th Irish singles (58 points)
- Irish women are the fussiest in Europe, placing importance on honesty, fidelity
and plenty of chat.
Joint 5th Spanish singles (55 points)
- Just one in ten singles say religion is important in a relationship.
- Women consider self-confidence in a man as nearly three times more important than good looks (82:100 vs. 30:100).
Joint 5th Italian singles (55 points)
- Only eight out of ten Italian men expect a woman to be honest
- Just eight out 10 Italian women expect their men to be faithful.
Joint 5th Norwegian singles (55 points)
- Norwegians are not keen on confident people: nine out of ten say it’s a quality they don’t rate.
- The only qualities less important than confidence are money, religion and nationality.
Joint 5th Swedish singles (55 points)
- Swedish men place little importance on presentation and care little about a woman’s clothes and fashion sense, scoring appearance at just 31:100 -- compared to Italian men who scored it at 61
Joint 9th Danish singles (54 points)
- Danish women want equality, intelligence and the ability to compromise above all else, with nine out of ten (93:100) rating the last factor as important, compared to eight out of ten (80:100) Danish % men
Joint 9th Belgian singles (54 points)
- Belgian women are a third more likely than their European sisters to find generous men attractive. (Score of 81 for Belgium vs. 60 across Europe)
Joint 11th UK singles (53 points)
- British men are the least fussy in Europe
- But they rate brains over beauty
Joint 11th French singles (53 points)
- French men place the highest importance on looks (71:100 vs. the UK’s 52:100), with intelligence (69:100) rating just a little lower.
13th Dutch singles (53 points) The least fussy Europeans
-- Nine out of ten Dutch people would date someone from another country, making them twice more likely to do so than other Europeans, and three times more than the French.
- ENDS -
For more information, a copy of the report or case studies, please contact.
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PARSHIP.co.uk is 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 successfully matched tens of thousands of couples, 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 “High Standards” Ranking & Survey
The PARSHIP “High Standards” survey, by the market research institute Innofact, questioned 13,000 people aged between 18 and 59, single and in a relationship, in 13 Western European countries.
The Ranking was calculated by asking 13,000 people (1,000 people in each of 13 different European countries) to rate 32 different qualities on a scale between one and five – one being important, five unimportant. The percentage of people who rated each quality as either important or very important was calculated. The mean percentage per country was established by adding together the 32 percentage scores and dividing the sum by 32 (the number of qualities). This mean per country was expressed as a score from 0 to 100; the higher the score, the higher the country’s standards. The 13 European countries were then ranked according to the score per country.
About Dr Victoria Lukats, MBBS MRCPsych MSc
Dr Victoria Lukats is a psychiatrist and dating expert for PARSHIP. She works as a Specialist Registrar in psychiatry 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 a national magazine and is a spokesperson for Psychologies magazine. Dr Lukats is regularly asked to comment and provide advice on large range of relationship topics in the media and her expert opinion often draws on her medical background and therefore combines both science and psychology to provide clarity and greater understanding to the audience.
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