Research & Development Agenda

Academic and other researchers are invited to collaborate with Love Not Anger on research such as:

  • Compile existing knowledge about dating difficulties, and counselling practices that may help.
  • Conduct surveys and interviews of people having difficulty with dating. (An initial survey has gathered exploratory qualitative data - see below.)
  • Map the complex system of factors that might cause someone to have difficulty dating, and the consequences of loneliness.
  • Develop support information and services.
  • Monitor how effective the supports are, to continuously improve them.
  • Inform the general public, and mental health professionals, about the supports available.

Research Questions

These are some big questions to be researched. Finding answers will help to design, target and justify funding for support services, and to advocate for change.

  • How many people have long-term dating difficulties?
    • What are their ages, genders, orientations, and other demographics?
  • What are the more fundamental causes of long-term dating difficulties?
    • Do the causes differ by demographic group?
    • What societal changes would prevent these causes of romantic loneliness?
    • How can long-term singles accurately identify their personal reasons for dating difficulties?
  • What self-help, counselling, and other support methods are effective, to overcome dating difficulties?
    • What supports are effective for lonely youth? For late bloomers who need to “catch up”? For people who have become angry or hateful? For people with autism or other health conditions?
  • What are the consequences of long-term dating difficulties, for individuals and society?
    • How do the consequences vary by demographic group?
    • What societal changes could alleviate the consequences?

Dating Difficulties survey

Results will be released in June 2019 from the survey conducted in April. Thank you to over 700 people who wrote about why you have or had dating difficulties, what you've done to overcome them. The preliminary results confirm that people of all genders and orientations struggle with dating, for multiple complex reasons, but many people do start dating later in life.

Respondents give many reasons for their dating difficulties, most frequently, gaps in their self-confidence and social skills. Depression, anxiety, addiction and other mental health troubles are very common. A sizeable minority of respondents are on the autism spectrum. Single people are often concerned about the desirability of their appearance, personality or economic situation. Many respondents have a small dating pool due to location or unusual preferences, or they just aren't matching with people they meet. Romantic loneliness is sometimes accompanied by social isolation and poverty, while other single folks have good friendships and are busy with work or school. Respondents include many "late bloomers" who have found relationships, whether through life-improvement or luck.

The full survey results will discuss what people are doing to find partners and get support, and how society could reduce dating difficulties and the surrounding stigma.