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AP-WE tv Poll: Valentine's bliss outweighs dread

AP Poll Relationships

WASHINGTON (AP) - Unsure what to get your sweetheart this Valentine's Day? Nothing is the wrong answer.

An Associated Press-WE tv survey found only 17 percent of adults in committed relationships say they don't want a gift this Friday or are skipping the holiday.

Flowers and candy top the list of preferred gifts. But there are those who want something pricey like a car, jewelry or a vacation, and others who'd be fine with a teddy bear.

About a third say they'd most like to have intangibles such as time together, health or happiness.

Overall, the survey found that Cupid's arrow hits the target for most Americans.

Two-thirds of paired-off adults feel their relationships are perfect or nearly so. A scant 3 percent think their partnerships have serious problems.

All told, 68 percent of Americans are in committed relationships of some kind, and 11 percent aren't currently coupled but would like to be. Seventeen percent say they aren't seeking a relationship.

In this love-struck society, Valentine's Day holds strong appeal. About 6 in 10 say they're excited about Feb. 14, while a third say they feel more dread about the approaching onslaught of candy, flowers and dimly lit restaurants. Apprehension isn't limited to the lonely: Even 11 percent of those who say they are in a great relationship dread Valentine's Day.

Contrary to stereotypes, men are just as excited as women about Valentine's Day. In a more expected finding, men are more likely than women to say they're hoping for sex as a gift Friday (10 percent among men, 1 percent among women). Women are more apt to wish for flowers (19 percent vs. 1 percent among men). The survey found no significant gender differences on jewelry, chocolate or teddy bears.

A notable generational divide emerged on the gift front: Americans age 65 or older are more likely to say they'd like a card or note this Valentine's Day (17 percent of seniors want a card; just 1 percent under age 30 say that's their gift of choice). Perhaps there's a lesson for the young: Seniors are also most apt to say their relationships are perfect and to see time spent with their partner as a key benefit of their relationship.

The poll, conducted by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, also explored how Americans find partners and how they prioritize pairing off vs. other life goals.

For the 11 percent of Americans currently trying to find a committed relationship, there are all kinds of tools available to help. But traditional methods - asking out someone you know or having friends set you up on a date - outpace technological ones. Forty-one percent have used an online dating service, while 19 percent have tried an app that connects them to people nearby.

Overall, about half of adults say getting married or finding a romantic partner are important life goals, while more than two-thirds consider saving for retirement, owning a home or success in a career their most important or a very important goal.

For those who've found love and feel their relationship could use a little work, 75 percent are willing to make a great deal of effort or more to fix those problems. Three percent say they're unwilling to work on their issues. Most of those, 72 percent, who see any kind of problem in their relationship attribute it to both partners equally. One in 6 says blame lies mostly with his or her partner. The bigger the problem, the more apt one is to blame a partner. Among those who say their relationships have only minor problems, 9 percent blame their partner, compared with 26 percent who report bigger issues.

One in 8 accepts the blame for any relationship problems. That peaks among married men, 21 percent of whom say their relationship flaws are their own fault, compared with just 5 percent among married women who see trouble in their relationships.

And what vexes Americans' relationships most? More than 4 in 10 of those who say there are problems in their current relationship cite issues with their sex lives, communication, romance or finances. Those in unmarried couples were generally more apt to see problems than married people, except for two areas: sex life and romance.

The poll was conducted in conjunction with WE tv ahead of the launch of the show "Marriage Boot Camp," from Jan. 17-21 using KnowledgePanel, GfK's probability-based online panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. It involved online interviews with 1,060 adults and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points for the full sample.

Respondents were first selected randomly using phone or mail survey methods and were later interviewed online. People selected for KnowledgePanel who didn't otherwise have access to the Internet were provided with the ability to access the Internet at no cost to them.

Join the discussion

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smbaker22 February 13 2014 at 12:52 PM

Men are as excited as women about Valentine's Day? Ummmm no.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
ed.brantley February 13 2014 at 9:21 AM

D-cell batteries?

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2 replies
DALIAH ed.brantley February 13 2014 at 9:44 AM

I'll take that!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
nickelmac ed.brantley February 13 2014 at 11:00 AM

unless you own "the rabbit", then AA batteries

Flag Reply +1 rate up
burke09876 February 13 2014 at 11:48 AM

Being 65 and unmarried what I would be really happy to have in my life for the big V - day event is a classy slut that knows her way around a bedroom and has a brain not just air. To really be great shen could bring a 6 pack with her

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
bernlaw2 burke09876 February 13 2014 at 12:45 PM

Probably why youre 65 and unmarried.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
palmspringslen February 13 2014 at 1:40 PM

Clearly, two-thirds of all those reading this lame article are so tired of the fake statistics half-way through it that they skip down here to the comments without finishing it.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
hamcallk5co February 13 2014 at 10:15 AM

That's a very long article about a very weak subject.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Tom February 13 2014 at 11:37 AM

After 23 years of marriage and now divorced for 6, I am SOOO Happy I'm single.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
lbone Tom February 13 2014 at 2:35 PM

And I suspect your ex-wife is even happier

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Still Tom February 13 2014 at 4:51 PM

You did everything wrong I take it?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
bevisxz February 13 2014 at 10:44 AM

The title of this story sounds like it was written with the homosexuals as the lead........by calling it giving to your partner.........I absolutely do not have a partner, I have a wife of 53 years.

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3 replies
adika3z February 13 2014 at 9:49 AM

Valentine's Day is a not good day,
where is Valentine's Day come from ????,
who did invented idea the Valentine's Day ????,
Valentine's Day is a business about currencys,
that is so cheap Valentine's Day,
not important Valentine's Day,
forget it about Valentine's Day

Flag Reply +2 rate up
DALIAH February 13 2014 at 9:47 AM

I work at a flower shop PT, and I am amazed that people are tripping out about getting flowers and chocolate. What happened to the days of buying flowers "Just Because"? Note to all you guys and gals, a woman would appreciate flowers all year long, not just on Valentine's day, and Roses are just that, Roses!!! Put forth a little effort and assemble your own bouquet, I guarantee you those flowers will last longer and your lady friend/lover will reward you big time!! Happy Valentine's day all!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
katrinabennet February 13 2014 at 9:06 AM

Flower petals all over the house- bed - toilet bowl water, etc.. then SEX!!!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
adika3z katrinabennet February 13 2014 at 9:51 AM

after sex then will coming the problem again and break up / separate legal / divorce,
Valentine's Day is a big deal and fake

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ed.brantley katrinabennet February 13 2014 at 11:50 AM

And showing her heels to her ears.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
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