Why do so many people have trouble forming long-term intimate relationships?
From an evolutionary standpoint, making successful mating choices should be the most natural thing in the world. After all, every human alive today is the product of a long line of more-or-less successful pairings dating back to before our species came into existence. But still, the problem with finding a life partner is something that far too many of us experience.
According to the 2010 Japanese National Fertility Survey (link is external), 61 percent of men and 49 percent of women between the ages of 18-34 were single. Of those, 80 percent reported that they wanted to get married at some point but had been unable to find the right partner. In fact, the most common reason given for not being married was "not knowing how to start a relationship with the opposite sex." Though staying single voluntarily is becoming an increasingly popular choice in many societies, the proportion of people who fail to marry or have children despite wishing to do so remains high. In fact, many women cite their inability to find the right partner in explaining their choice to seek alternative options such as artificial insemination.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.