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In a study on what governs our dating choices more, our preferences or our current opportunities, opportunities wins hands down—our dating choices are “98% a response…to market conditions and just 2% immutable desires.Proposals to date tall, short, fat, thin, professional, clerical, educated, uneducated people are all more than nine-tenths governed by what’s on offer that night.” In other words, people end up picking from whatever pool of options they have, no matter how poorly matched they might be to those candidates.
But good old society frowns upon that, and people are often still timid to say they met their spouse on a dating site.One study found that speed daters questioned about their relationship preferences usually prove themselves wrong just minutes later with what they show to prefer in the actual event.This shouldn’t be a surprise—in life, you usually don’t get good at something until you’ve done it a bunch of times.Unfortunately, not many people have a chance to be in more than a few, if any, serious relationships before they make their big decision. And given that a person’s partnership persona and relationship needs are often quite different from the way they are as a single person, it’s hard as a single person to really know what you want or need from a relationship.If you’re running a business, conventional wisdom states that you’re a much more effective business owner if you study business in school, create well thought-out business plans, and analyze your business’s performance diligently.This is logical, because that’s the way you proceed when you want to do something well and minimize mistakes.
But if someone went to school to learn about how to pick a life partner and take part in a healthy relationship, if they charted out a detailed plan of action to find one, and if they kept their progress organized rigorously in a spreadsheet, society says they’re A) an over-rational robot, B) way too concerned about this, and C) a huge weirdo.No, when it comes to dating, society frowns upon thinking too much about it, instead opting for things like relying on fate, going with your gut, and hoping for the best.If a business owner took society’s dating advice for her business, she’d probably fail, and if she succeeded, it would be partially due to good luck—and that’s how society wants us to approach dating.To a frustrated single person, life can often feel like this: And at first glance, research seems to back this up, suggesting that married people are on average happier than single people and much happier than divorced people.In other words, here’s what’s happening in reality: Dissatisfied single people should actually consider themselves in a neutral, fairly hopeful position, compared to what their situation could be.A single person who would like to find a great relationship is one step away from it, with their to-do list reading, “1) Find a great relationship.” People in unhappy relationships, on the other hand, are threeleaps away, with a to-do list of “1) Go through a soul-crushing break-up. 3) Find a great relationship.” Not as bad when you look at it that way, right?