Shockingly, a new survey reveals that women actually care about independence within relationships. Also, single men may crave kids even more than women do.
According to the survey, developed by anthropologist Helen Fisher and social historian/marriage expert Stephanie Coontz and conducted on over 5,000 single men and women, 24% of currently child-free dudes want kids, compared to 18% of women (these numbers, reported in USA Today, actually seem awfully low, making me wonder if the question was more like, "do you want kids right now?"). And according to Time, single men under 24 and over 50 were more likely than women in their age groups to want marriage — for ages in between, "more women are interested than men, but not by all that much."
The survey also found that ladies are not all looking for knights in shining armor to relieve them from the tedium of their lives — and in fact, they'd like to continue living these lives, even when they're in a relationship. Writes USA Today's Sharon Jayson,
[A]cross every age group, women want more independence than men in their relationships: 77% of women say having their personal space is "very important," vs. 58% for men; 78% of women say the same about having their own interests and hobbies (vs. 64% for men). And 35% of women (vs. 23% of men) say regular nights out with the guys/girls are important.
Though USA Today's headline for the story is "Men, women flip the script in gender expectation," these results really shouldn't be that surprising. The idea of women as baby-hungry harpies who have no interests other than landing an (unwilling) man has always been the stuff of bad rom-coms and relationship books. Of course, the survey methodology isn't immediately clear from coverage, and it was conducted on behalf of Match.com — if researchers only looked at Match users, this could certainly skew results. And Match may have a vested interest in sending the message that men aren't commitment-phobes. However, they have no reason to overstate women's desire for independence, and just from personal experience of women in relationships, I'd say their numbers on that score sound accurate. I'm just surprised they're not higher for men — does this mean not every guy needs a Man Cave after all?