(Photo:Flickr/Julien Haler)

The romance publisher Harlequin’s annual “Romance Report” contends that “in the age of 4G LTE smartphones, Twitter and Facebook, technology is changing the way women and men communicate with one another – yet certain values seem to withstand the test of time.”

The survey, which questioned single women between the ages of 18 and 40 in the United States, found that 91 percent of women believe the rules of dating have become more flexible. Technology was cited as playing a role in this change, especially with the growing popularity of “sexting”: 43 percent of all respondents admitted to sending “sexts.” Although 65 percent of those who admit to sending sexts said they would send them only when in a serious relationship, 36 percent said they felt comfortable doing so after only a few casual dates.

In terms of how social media is influencing the dating game, the survey found 52 percent of the women using Facebook to seek information about a prospective partner before going out on a first date, and one in every four women reported writing Facebook messages as a way to make contact with prospective dates. And, romantic or otherwise, 89 percent of the women surveyed said they spend most of their time on Facebook reading about other people’s lives.

However, the survey found that some traditions are still thriving in the face of evolving technology and social media. Fifty-nine percent of the women polled still expect the man to ask her out first, 54 percent expect him to hold the door for her and 51 percent expect the man to pay on a first date.

“Today, women consider themselves more independent and powerful than ever before – yet we’ve found that many of the traditional beliefs about romance, dating and relationships still persist,” said Michelle Renaud, senior manager of public relations at Harlequin. “Additionally, we are seeing new challenges as women are managing their image on a digital level. There is a real need to curate an online persona as much as a real-life presence in an extremely connected society.”

Read the rest of Harlequin’s findings

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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