Launching the eharmony Manchester Love Challenge

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eharmony today launches the Manchester Love Challenge to help inspire singles in the region to date differently. Here, relationship expert Rachael Lloyd, explores the challenges the city faces in finding love and offers key advice. 

There are many fascinating things about Manchester. For instance, the city began life in 79AD as a Roman fort called ‘Mamucium’ meaning ‘breast-shaped hill’. It boasts a huge network of breath-taking canal networks, a delicious ‘curry mile’ and one of the world’s leading football teams.

It’s also the birthplace of British vegetarianism, and the city where Charles Rolls and Henry Royce first met for tea in 1904 to discuss the creation of that iconic car.

However, what most people don’t know about Manchester is that despite its vibrancy, it has one of the highest concentration of singles across the UK. Yes, that’s right, despite a plethora of inspiring people and places to meet, Manchester has lost its mojo.

Romantic insights

Further investigations by the experts at eharmony reveal that over half of Mancunian singles (54%) haven’t been on a date in more than year – with low self-esteem and not feeling attractive being the main obstacles to love.  (See table 1 below for more insights).

What’s more over half (51%) of single Mancunians have been without a partner for more than 10 years and one in six (17%) have never been on a date at all. Finally, nearly two-thirds (64%) of single Mancunians to think they will be alone forever.

The fast-paced,casual nature of modern dating is a contributing factor, leaving many overwhelmed. All these factors combined lead to nearly two thirds (64%) of single Mancunians to think they will be alone forever.
 

Money also plays a big part in deterring singles in the city from dating with men in particular admitting they feel that they are not well off enough to find a good partner. In fact, a third of single men (32%) think that it’s too expensive to date in Manchester.

Meanwhile, many women admit that previous bad relationships and dating the wrong people has discouraged them.

The importance of connection

While these facts might seem alarming, they are not uncommon. In fact, what is happening in Manchester reflects a country-wide trend with people feeling increasingly uninspired by dating. The gamification of online dating combined with the decline in community life means singles often struggle to connect in a meaningful way.

Once upon a time they met via well-stocked religious congregations, community dances, sporting activities – even the village fete. Now at least one in five UK singles meet online. And clearly many just don’t meet at all.

At eharmony we’ve helped millions of singles find meaningful relationships. We don’t see dating as a trivial matter, we take finding love seriously. That’s we’re launching the Manchester Love Challenge featuring bespoke dating advice, video content and special offers in a month-long activity drive.

We want singles in Manchester to reframe how they approach love and dating. Even if it means doing just one thing differently – such as signing up to a weekly cookery class, trying out yoga or learning salsa. Research suggests the more engaged we become in the world around us the higher the chance of meeting that someone special.

A psychological interpretation

Says psychologist Emma Kenny: “When our self-esteem is lower than it should be, we often place barriers in front of activities that have caused us pain or anxiety. It makes sense that after a bad relationship your ego is bruised, and that makes taking a risk on love again seem scary. Equally, feeling the pinch on a financial level can also affect our self-esteem, as we feel that the love interests we may meet will judge us harshly, or potentially reject us completely.

“Sadly this ‘avoidance’ behaviour simply leads to feelings of loneliness, which are actually far more damaging than the effects of being let down in relationships from time to time. It’s important to recognise that love doesn’t have a price tag, and even when you have had bad experiences in the past, taking a risk for love is very worth the long-term return.”

Meet compatible matches

The  eharmony Manchester Love Challenge will feature a special edition of Love Decoded will air on eharmony’s Facebook channel on Tuesday 13th November with Mancunian psychologist Emma Kenny, psychotherapist Lucy Beresford and eharmony relationship expert Rachael Lloyd.

We will also be hosting a live #AskMeAnything session with Emma Kenny on Twitter, giving Manchester singles – and those negotiating relationships – the opportunity for personalised feedback. Follow @eHarmonyUK to join in the conversation.

The findings

Table 1: Relationship Barrier Index – top ten reasons single Mancunians aren’t dating*

Rank Barrier Percentage affected – total Percentage affected – men Percentage affected – women
1. I have low self-esteem 38% 37% 39%
2. I don’t feel very attractive 23% 22% 24%
3. I feel like my age has a negative impact on my love life 23% 23% 22%
4. I just don’t feel like there’s anyone out there for me 22% 21% 23%
5. Previous bad relationships have made me feel I won’t find love 19% 16% 22%
6. I’ve met too many of the wrong people while dating and it has discouraged me 16% 11% 21%
7. I haven’t got time in my life to spend on finding love 15% 12% 18%
8. I can’t find someone who really understand me 15% 14% 11%
9. I just don’t want to find love 12% 14% 11%
10. I’m not well off enough financially to find a good partner 12% 20% 6%

* NB. Those asked can tick more than one answer Methodology
Research was conducted by Opinium between 27th September to 4th October 2018 among 513 single, widowed or divorced UK adults in Greater Manchester.


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