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Perplexed by her own dating struggles, Birch dug into research and spoke to about 100 men and women about why it’s so hard to find the relationship they desire.

She does more than blame online dating’s flakiness and an abundance of choice — which singles have been living through and reading about for years.

Rather, Birch finds an explanation in the enduring pressure men feel to be providers, even in an era when, in about a third of married or cohabiting couples, women bring in half or more of the household’s earnings.

Until men can provide for a family, Birch finds, they don’t feel comfortable dating seriously or making a lifelong commitment.

[ How to survive a boring date — and even enjoy it ] Bonos: How does that play out in real life?

Birch: I would get on dates where a guy would be so excited about the date, we’d have intellectual sparring and then we’d get there and it started to be a competition.

They have that second paycheck; they’re intellectually in the same plane and they are similarly educated.That was a big guiding question from the beginning.And then Lora Park had research that came out in 2015 that showed psychological distance matters a lot. Birch: “Psychological distance” has to do with when you’re thinking about something as an abstract concept.Individually, you can kind of decide what’s worth your investment and how to structure your time wisely. He’s so skittish.” But a lot of the women learned that they had to be patient and work through it on an individual level with these guys who were putting so much pressure on themselves to provide, which I thought was really great.There were a lot of women in my book who ended up dating men who all their friends and family said: “Don’t do it. A lot of that comes down to really looking for things that you like in someone and maybe being patient with someone who’s not fully there yet but you see potential there.I’ve also had situations where, on first dates, men will say things like: “I can’t have a girlfriend right now.” They might be thinking about moving, going to grad school or taking a job out of state.

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