CHICAGO, Ill. - Lauren West is young, smart, and attractive but says she struggles finding the "one" even though she goes on date, after date, after date.
"You want to find someone that you want to be able to spend time with, like have someone there for you, and someone that can like support you in a number of different ways," West said.
Like West, Ellen Morrow says her endless dates usually turned to disappointment.
"I just met people and went out on dates even if they weren't perfect or specific to what I was looking for," Morrow explained.
Dating Expert Stef Safran says that's the problem with serial dating.
"I think that there's too much focus that there's so much available for you as opposed to finding those basic criteria when you start that are important to you," Safran said.
She says before starting to date you should answer these 10 questions about yourself:
What are your financial values?
- Is religion important?
- Do you want children?
- Where do you want to live?
- How do you handle conflict?
- Are you able to care for someone?
- Do you like to go out or are you a homebody?
- Do you lead an active or sedentary lifestyle?
- Are you willing to try new things?
"You have to know: are you looking for a relationship and what does that mean to you," Safran said.
Safran says whether you meet someone in person or online, it's important to find out beforehand or on a first date if they have similar values, if not, don't waste your time.
"People need to understand that when they are dating when people give you they do give you information and if someone says something that you can really tell is a deal breaker you need to listen to that," explained Safran.
She says too many women waste time thinking they can change someone. Thanks to her advice Morrow is in a committed relationship and while West is still looking, she's stopped serial dating and only spends time with guys she thinks are compatible.
How people date generally evolves as society does. As modern culture has moved online, so has dating: eHarmony and Match.com have 35 million members between them, and about 40 percent of the single population uses online dating sites. And one in six Americans have said they were or have broken up with someone via text, email, or a social network. But modern dating is more than just online dating; it's a singles' game. There are now more than 100 million single people in the U.S., and the percentage of those married before the age of 30 has fallen with each generation since the Silent Generation. Currently only 23 percent of Millennials are married. Even simple things about the dating process have changed: over 90 percent of men now say they wouldn't mind if a girl asked them out, and half of people asked said they didn't care if the man or woman pays. (Sources: match.com/magazine/article/4671 and people-press.org/2011/11/03/section-1-how-generations-have-changed and statisticbrain.com/online-dating-statistics)
Personal Dating Habits: Apart from cultural dating changes, there are many things you can do if you're single to meet the right person. Here a few habits you can develop:
- Get out: More than 50 percent of those who are single report not having been on a date in two years. Getting out and socializing, while sometimes frightening, is the only way you'll actually meet someone. Even if you meet someone online, eventually you'll have to leave your house to meet them. Getting out there slowly, with a close friend, will help you get comfortable in the single world.
- Don't be too choosy: Psychologists have likened dating to shopping, specifically in terms of options. Too many options can often paralyze a shopper, and the same thing can happen to single people. People can often wait until the "perfect" person comes around, but that may not always be possible. Knowing when and who to commit to can often be just as rewarding as waiting.
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