INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - If you've been dating for years and still haven't found Mr. Right, you're not alone. There are probably several beautiful, smart, successful women around you struggling to make it down the aisle.
32-year-old Aly Strapulos is in that boat.
She has a beautiful home, a great job, adorable pets and wonderful friends and family. You could say Aly is the quintessential woman who has it all, except there is one thing she is still looking for: Mr. Right.
"I think my worst fear is not finding somebody," said Strapulos. "When I was younger I thought I would graduate high school, graduate college, marry somebody, be in the white picket fence, have a boy and a girl and then life would be grand. But it hasn't been that."
It's not for the lack of trying. Aly's tried everything, from being set up by friends to online dating.
"I was going on like two or three, even four dates a week. Different restaurants. Different men. Just trying to figure it out."
While there is nothing wrong with being single, we wanted to know why so many single women who do want to find a match are struggling in the dating game?
IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S THE NUMBERS
If you believe author Jon Birger, it's not you, it's the math.
"It's not women's fault! It's not that they're bad at dating," he said via video chat with FOX59.
Birger wrote the book Date-onomics which blames the numbers.
According to the Census Bureau, in 2016 there were 88 unmarried adult men for every 100 unmarried adult women in the U.S.
And according to Birger, four women graduate from college in the U.S. for every three men. He said it's been that way for the past 15 years.
The problem is, Birger argues, those lop-sided numbers can change a tradition dating culture into a hook-up culture.
"When women are in oversupply, as they are today among young college grads, the whole dating culture is looser and less monogamous," Birger explained. "If you go out to Silicone Valley, go to San Jose California, which is really the only place in the country… where the gender ratios are reversed, what you find is that the marriage rate for educated women is through the roof high and the divorce rate is through the floor low."
But is that really what's going on?
SINGLE AND READY TO... SOCIAL?
We wanted to hear straight from single folks so we set up a panel of single men and women from their 20's all the way to their 60's and we asked them, what do they think is preventing people from finding a match?
One participant named Mona raised her hand and said, "I've been told that my standards are too high."
A male participant named Jerry added, "Men had the opportunity to walk whenever they wanted and women didn't. Now both have it."
Panelist Alissa said some people don't work hard enough at it. "There's a mindset out there with some people where they expect it to just fall in their lap. Like they don’t put in an effort to go out and meet people. They expect that person to just come to their door."
And panel member Holly shared her struggles. "I went out with a guy last night actually and he said 'Yes, I’m looking for my dream girl.' And it immediately turned me off. Immediately. A dream woman? What does that even mean?"
Near the end of the discussion, the youngest participant, Mandy, said "I really, really feel like social media affects dating a ton."
She wasn't alone in her feelings. Many of our panelists blamed the dating struggle on social media and the rise of dating apps.
Panelist Mark put it bluntly, "When things get a little rough or get real, it's so easy to say what are my other options?"
Across from him, panelist Holly added, "I also think because of technology, people don't know how to date. I didn't know how to date."
Others said online dating and dating apps were intimidating, even "scary". And some panelists who didn't use the new technology felt they'd never find anyone, because they choose not to sign on.
Every single panelist preferred to meet their significant other in person and organically.
A DATING COACH'S PERSPECTIVE
Several of our panel members like Holly work with local singles coach Amy Owens of Blue Ribbon Singles. She's been helping single Hoosiers find love for years and over that time, she's discovered a problem. She said men aren't always willing to work at finding a mate.
"(They say) 'We don't think that we should have to work at this,'" she told us. "'We should meet her just turning a corner and running into her'."
Her advice for men is simple.
"Pay attention. Get proactive. Decide that you're going to every weekend. Have something to do where you get yourself out and about."
But she also has advice for women. She suggests all women, single or not, help out by inviting their guy friends to group events so they can meet other women.
"You know men who are single that you're not interested in, but someone else might be. Invite them," said Owens.
Birger has some advice too.
He thinks college-educated women should consider unchecking the education box. He doesn't believe that's lowering your standards, rather increasing your odds of finding a quality guy.
"I think we all need to get over ourselves a little bit. This notion that we need to go to college to be a good wife or be a good husband; I think we need to get past that," said Birger. "It's not just that women are being picky. Everybody's being picky. It's just that men don’t get penalized for this pickiness, because the supply of college grad women is so large."
KEEPING AN OPEN MIND
Aly is definitely keeping an open mind and heart.
"I know, personally, I could put myself out there a little bit more. And men probably could also put themselves out there a little bit more," she said. "I think good men are out there. I think some of them are taken unfortunately. And some of them have either just not reached that maturity yet or they are still struggling on to what they can find too. Like what I'm trying to look for. And it's just where do we meet? Where do we really find each other?"