Beautiful couple in a restaurant

(© Nejron Photo - stock.adobe.com)

NEW YORK — What are singles looking for in that “special someone”? Is it a deep connection through shared interests? What about good looks? A new survey finds many Americans actually want to date someone who will treat them to the finer things in life. It turns out that nearly half of adults are attracted to people in a higher economic class than they are — or what’s now known as “hypergamy” in the dating world. Simply put, Americans want a romance that also brings some luxury along for the ride!

Commissioned by luxury dating site Seeking.com and conducted by Talker Research, the study found many respondents are interested in modern hypergamy — a form of romantic attraction where one person is drawn to another who has a higher socioeconomic status than themselves, supporting and enhancing their own life. More than four in 10 (43%) admitted they weren’t aware of the term, yet once they learned the definition, 47% said they had a positive perception of hypergamy.

Another 39% believe this should include having the other person pay for their date in full. The same number of Americans think finding a partner that exhibits hypergamic traits can have a major or significant impact on their personal growth and discovery. In other words, 39% think “dating up” will lead to greater success for themselves.

“When people are looking for meaningful connections and relationships, they’re looking for others that can match their intellect and have ambitions in life,” says Emma Hathorn, an in-house dating and relationships expert at Seeking.com, in a statement.

“Showcasing those ambitions and treating dates to a taste of luxury sets the bar for the relationship. It is time to say goodbye to ordinary dating. People want to find themselves elevated — both in the conversation itself and by being treated to something tailored to them, exclusively.”

Couple sharing spaghetti on date
Couple on a date (© Jacob Lund – stock.adobe.com)

What’s a ‘luxury’ in modern dating?

According to the new survey, emotional connections are a “necessity” in addition to being swept off their feet and exclusive experiences. The poll of 2,000 U.S. adults found that 47% consider it “luxurious” if their date includes learning about their date’s background and having in-depth and intelligent conversations.

Nearly two in three of respondents (65%) valued feeling “swept off their feet,” and 35% believe a relationship is doomed if they don’t feel swept off their feet on a first date. Likewise, people find it attractive when others show self-confidence (80%), have pride in what they’ve accomplished in life (75%), and go “above and beyond” for them on a first date (73%).

The study also found that 45% of Americans believe it’s okay to showcase success and affluence on a first date. In fact, 31% said financial success plays a major or significant factor in their attractiveness.

The survey also revealed people find it attractive when others exhibit traits of a better standard of living. Over four in 10 (42%) said having financial stability and being able to cook well were their top attractive traits. They also found having a nice home (24%), having a cultured taste in music (21%), and having a good fashion sense (20%) attractive.

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Seeking between May 24 and May 28, 2024. It was conducted by market research company Talker Research, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society (MRS) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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