These days it’s easier than ever to find a date. Between Grindr, Tinder, Coffee Meets Bagel or the seedy Ashley Madison, you can find someone within 1000 feet of you to get it on.
Great, right? Wrong.
For the most part, while it seems great for your short-term outlook, it’s actually damaging to your long term success. Seems counter-intuitive, I know. Let me explain why.
We all value what we have to earn more than what is given to us
In order to earn something, you have to work hard to get it. This takes time, effort and money. The more effort you put into something, the more valuable it becomes to you mentally.
Pre-internet days, if you had met someone at a friend’s party that lived a few towns over, you’d put in some time. You’d visit, she’d visit, you’d meet in the middle. Things would progress because of what you are allotting to it.
Think about this in terms of money. If you worked your ass off for $5000, you’d be very careful of how you spent it because it’s imbued with all of your blood, sweat and tears. But if you won $5000 from a slot machine, you’d spend it like it was going out of style!
The same thing goes with dating. If you can find someone else in a matter of seconds, you don’t place any value on it. Each person is much more likely to flake out on the date or not put any effort towards it.
Dates are becoming disposable
Similar to the first one, the more disposable something is, the less we care about it.
When I got my first cell phone, I treated that thing like gold! Kept it home if I was going out drinking, bought cases for it, etc.
Nowadays, with the insurance, trade-ins, switching perks and more, our cell phones aren’t getting the love they used to, even as they have become more expensive.
To harken again back to earlier times, like the mid-90s, if two people got set up through friends, they go on a few dates. So, maybe the first one wasn’t great. But, it wasn’t easy to get that date, so each was way more likely to have a second date, to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Now, if the person sneezes wrong, we’ll just toss that one out and look for the next, “more perfect” date.
Before all these apps, if you had one bad date after another, you might take some time for self-reflection. “What am I doing wrong that these aren’t working out?” And, since there was more time between dates, there was more time to self-evaluate, ask advice, soul search.
Yesterday, one of my clients had two dates. There is NO way that after the first he asked himself, “What did I do right? What could I have done better?” It’s just, “on to the next one now!”
Paralysis of choice
Basically what this means is that the more choices we have, the more difficult it is to choose.
If you were given the choice of having your bedroom repainted and they gave you the choice of blue or green, you’d be able to give them an answer the next day.
On the other side, if you were given the whole Pantone color wheel containing thousands of colors, you’re going to go bonkers trying to pick one out because you’re worried there’s another, better one somewhere and you’re sure you’re going to be disappointed after you choose one.
Likewise, you never want to fully commit to one person because you’re just SURE that the next person is the better one or the next one or the next one…
Amount of second dates stays the same
Many people are having more dates. But, this data is incredibly skewed.
Yes, people are finding it easier to have more first dates and thus they feel they are “succeeding in dating.” However, second dates are staying the same and in some case, decreasing! So yeah, you might have 5 dates this week, but if none of them want to see you again does that really make you better at dating?
We’re not getting better, we’re just getting more prolific. And, instead of working on it, we just cover that feeling with even more dates.
Hunt Ethridge is a Hoboken-based dating consultant and a fashion writer. Currently, he is the Senior Dating Coach at New York Dating Coach (www.newyorkdatingcoach.com).