The impetus for the symposium came from a study carried out by the Zukunftsinstitut, which found that by 2030 45% of Germans would be single, begging the question: What will life be like for single people living in Germany around that time? Will society consist purely of single-person households by 2060?
First of all, some of the ambiguities and myths surrounding current singles statistics and resulting differences in numbers need to be clarified, as there are widely differing conclusions: the Federal Statistical Office only counts one-person households, which includes people in relationships not living together. Single parents with children are excluded from these statistics, as well as singles sharing a living space with other people.
The term “single” should not only be applied to young, free-spending Hipsters between the ages of 20 and 40, but also include widows and widowers, and single parents. The travel industry, including the symposium organiser adamare SingleReisen, estimates the true number to be between 11 and 12 million.
Wieland Stolzenburg, a couples therapist and singles coach from Munich, addressed possible psychological issues that make it harder for people to commit today, and gave examples of some of the worst pitfalls of dating. One suggestion was to avoid suffocating a budding relationship with excessive attention. Here the well-known saying applies: “If you want to be valued, make yourself scarce.“
Anja Drews, a sexologist at Beate Uhse AG, spoke about singles and sexuality, and dispelled the myth that it is singles, especially, who have the most sex. In effect, only five percent of sexual intercourse takes place outside relationships. On the whole human beings long for sex AND love, meaning that some people would rather forego sex if they are not in a relationship.
Next up was Pamela Moucha, Singlebörsen-Vergleich.de’s online dating expert, who spoke about dating communication. Although singles interaction in internet flirting and dating portals is more relaxed and direct, it is clearly more ruthless too. Anyone who does not have the right profile and/or live up to the expectations of the person searching is simply “clicked away”.
Stefan Zierke, a member of Parliament for the German Socialist Party, sees it as a political duty to promote family life by providing incentives for to the formation of relationships. There are many reasons for being in a relationship; first of all, the fact that singles die earlier. However, so far no subventions are foreseen for dating services.
Although the occasional suggestion may have arisen that singles are needy, the issues and statistics discussed were meant to be viewed as tendencies, not hard-boiled facts.
Steffen Butzko, CEO of adamare SingleReisen, talked about the travel habits of singles and how they should be addressed in marketing terms. A target group oriented approach and relevant handling are paramount for ensuring long-term success with this group. For instance, singles do not want to be exposed as such. If they have booked an adamare trip they avoid telling their friends that they are going on a singles trip but say that it is a group tour. For many being single is a kind of flaw, and adamare wants to break a lance for all singles and their relationship status, so that this is viewed simply as one form of living among many.
Following the discussions, various assertions and themes were discussed together in plenary sessions. Many interviews took place in which what had been said was elaborated upon over refreshments in the hotel restaurant.