Singles need help on dating and finding partners

While eight in 10 Singaporean millennial singles want to marry, it is worth examining why six in 10 are currently not dating and four in 10 have never dated with a view towards marriage (Love and the single S'porean; July 9).

While the Government is doing more to help singles and families, other organisations can also collaborate with it to develop the dating landscape by addressing other possible reasons for why singles are not dating seriously.

These could include the lack of clarity among singles of what a dating relationship entails and what to expect in their partners.

Unlike early societies that, for centuries, had norms and practices that provided opportunities for men and women to meet, know each other and marry, societies today no longer have such norms and expectations.

When couples discuss and agree on healthy norms and expectations of their dating relationship, this can guide them a step closer towards marriage.

Hence, it can be helpful to create platforms that open up conversations on topics like the common expectations of Singaporean men and women about dating and marriage; reliable, clear markers of progress towards marriage in a dating relationship; and how people can evaluate whether their dating relationship is a healthy one, and if it is not, what can be done about it.

Another area worth looking into is guiding singles on how to determine what to look for in their partner.

This includes sharing with them research on what makes marriages successful - areas of communication and conflict resolution, and how couples validate, instead of dismiss or undermine, each other's points of view and emotions, and so on.

Giving singles more handles to work out the norms and expectations of a healthy dating relationship and what to reasonably expect in a partner can help them to make wiser dating choices and encourage them to date seriously with a view towards marriage.

Elvira Tan (Ms)

Marriage Specialist

Focus on the Family Singapore