Dating & Relationships Women

Single Dads and Divorcees Turn to Online Dating to Ease Back into the Game

With U.S. divorce rates at exceedingly high levels, more single and divorced fathers are heading up households now than ever before. A recent online dating survey found that a third of American men aged 35 to 55* who would try or have already tried online dating do so, because they are a single dad/divorcee. And as anyone who has been out of the dating game for a while understands, jumping back into it can be more than a little overwhelming. The survey, which was conducted by Harris Interactive in conjunction with an international dating site, polled 503 U.S. males, aged 35 to 55, with a household income of $100K or more, an associate’s degree or more in education and an interest in women.

The results point to a relationship between a man’s education, among other factors, and his fears about dating:

  • Men aged 35-55* with at least some graduate school education are most likely to admit to not knowing how to start a conversation with women they meet for the first time.
  • Men aged 35-55* with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree are most likely to say they are intimidated to speak to a woman for the first time when she is surrounded by her friends.
  • Men aged 35-55* who would consider dating women outside of the U.S. are twice as likely to find themselves quickly bored when speaking to women in person for the first time than those men who date only domestically.**

Online dating can help to ease rusty daters back into the dating scene – whether they are single dads, divorcees or just men who, for whatever reason, haven’t found the right woman yet. Another good way to get back into the scene is to join in men’s support group.  The survey found that the majority (54 percent) of men in this group struggle when meeting women face-to-face for the first time, and of those who are struggling:

  • 45 percent say their biggest struggle is that they do not know how to start a conversation.
  • 30 percent say they become intimidated when they approach a woman when she is with her friends.
  • 10 percent say they become intimidated by her looks.

“In the international dating industry, we’re seeing a worldwide trend with single dads and divorcees turning to online dating – and international dating specifically – to be the differentiating factor in their ‘second act relationships,’” said Lawrence Cervantes, Chief Communications Officer. “Many of these men are users of our site and seeking traditional values that seem to be more ingrained in foreign cultures. There’s something really unique and special about speaking to a woman who grew up halfway across the world – these men seem to gain confidence and finally become excited about dating again.”

*35- to 55-year-old U.S. males with $100K+ household income, an associate’s degree or higher and an interest in relationships with women

**Caution – small base (n<100). Results should be interpreted as qualitative, or directional, in nature


This online dating survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on etween July 30 and August 8, 2013, among 503 U.S. males aged 35 to 55 with a household income of $100K or more, an associate’s degree or more education and an interest in women (among whom 208 have dated online or would be open to doing so). This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world’s leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client’s research investment. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients—stay ahead of what’s next.