Op/Ed Fridays: Dating

November 1, 2013 by Joshua
in Awareness, Blog

[I’m testing out something new for this page — to comment on current events or other opinion/editorial from the perspective of this blog on Fridays. My goal is to counter the common practice that other media generate readers and viewers by promoting outrage, fear, indignation, and so forth. It gets them but it fills their lives with emotions they probably don’t want. I want to help people feel more calm and capable. See my posts “A model to keep you from being manipulated by the media” and “Always remember the media wants to sell ads,” for example.]

Today I want to comment on an article I’ve seen many times, most recently here “Why women lose the dating game“. The article adopts the common belief that women get older with age, men get distinguished so that dating is harder for men when they’re younger while women have it harder when they’re older.

If you read it critically, you’ll see it doesn’t present new information or evidence so much as elaborate on a belief with what passed the author’s confirmation bias’s filter. You could as easily write a story with the opposite thesis — say, that women are dating younger men in record numbers, creating for them the most optimistic outlook they’ve ever had — and make it sound as convincing. It wouldn’t get as many viewers, though, because it won’t evoke the same anxiety. Anxious people look for help. Calm people don’t.

I don’t know the numbers behind the trend, if it exists, and I doubt the story’s author does either. If you read my book or this blog, you know the value of models. This article presents a model. If you adopt it you’ll probably feel smug if you’re a single man in his thirties or later, anxious if you’re a single woman of the same age, and so on.

You don’t have to adopt that model, even if you find the evidence compelling. It implies you can’t do anything about the situation. It implies a general trend, whether it exists or not, applies to your unique situation.

I prefer beliefs that empower people. I’ve found choosing beliefs based on their consequences to your life the most effective way to choose them.

I propose not distinguishing the “winners” and “losers” by sex to understand who has the upper hand, but by those who act on what they want and those who don’t.

I suspect the people who end up not getting what they want tend to be the ones who don’t put in the effort, especially taking the emotional risks in attracting others, initiating relationships, and making the relationships work the way they want.

Many men and many women put in this effort. Many men and many women also don’t put in this effort. I suspect the former group has much more success than the latter group in the long run whether male or female, though I suspect they face a lot more rejection and emotional pain in the short run. I suspect the latter group faces less short-term pain and rejection, but is lucky to get what they want from relationships if they ever do.

The emotional challenges of making yourself vulnerable are harder for most than pursuing a career or hobbies so many men and women go the emotionally easier route of working hard at their jobs. In my experience, along with overcoming those challenges comes tremendous emotional growth.

(By the way, I disagree with the zero-sum mentality of winners and losers because people can have more than one deep, meaningful relationship and relationships come in many forms, but adopted it for consistency with the article).

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