Dating in today’s day and age can be an absolute minefield, not to mention a protracted waste of time for us hopeful singles looking longingly for our soulmate.
Given that most of us are strapped for time (after all, we all have to focus on “other things” to appear already-fulfilled and attractive to that future special-someone), we often turn to dating apps as a way to efficiently shortcut the process of finding the love of our life.
When you think about it, it seems quite ridiculous to think that “time-saving” even features in our approach to the pursuit of love. On what planet was it decided that even this doesn’t deserve time, effort and careful consideration?
Regardless of whether you think it is right or wrong, subscribers of dating apps love the ability to quickly weed out the good from the bad and oh boy, when we’re exhausted from countless failed dates, we become very efficient at culling the list of prospective suitors.
In fact, one swipe in the right direction, and they could potentially be That Person we’ve been waiting for all our lives. Conversely, swipe left and bang! they’re gone; never to be placed in a position of contention, ever again.
So, with that in mind, how about we slow down and think about the reality of the really ‘big’ decisions we often make too quickly. How can we reduce the likelihood of making a very big mistake?
Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
The dating apps require us to swipe right (if we want to match with a prospective date) and given the visual nature of these platforms, its no wonder we tend to use aesthetic appeal as our stage one screening criteria.
However, this may just be our first big mistake. As we all know, youthful good looks don’t last forever, but what if it was also the case that our perception of someone’s attractiveness changes over an even shorter period of time.
Professor Paul Eastwick mentioned on the How To Date podcast that he had university students rate their peers’ attractiveness at the beginning of the semester, and then again at the end of the semester. Interestingly, by the end of the 10-week semester, attractiveness ratings varied amongst participants, yet at the beginning of the semester, opinions on who was attractive – and who was not – were pretty similar at the start of the semester.
“If you look at broader samples over time, people start to disagree about whether people are attractive as they get to know that person in real life,” Professor Eastwick explained, suggesting that even aesthetic appeal becomes more subjective upon getting to know a person.
Ask Yourself: “What Qualities in a Person Will Really Translate to a Happy Relationship?”
Professor Eastwick suggests that “people who are more satisfied with life are people who tend to also be more satisfied in their relationships”.
So, on that basis, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to read through a prospective suitor’s profile (even if they aren’t quite up to your standards, aesthetically) and try and get a feel for the tone and tenor of their attitude to life in general; are they happy with where they are at? Do they have gratitude for their daily joys? What are they doing in their pictures (as opposed to: how hot do they look doing whatever it is they are doing!)?
As Professor Eastwick recommends, it might pay off being more lenient with our judgements about physical appearance and allowing attraction the chance to grow over time.
Physical and sexual attraction is one thing, but as Professor Eastwick suggests, the “full experience” of a relationship with that person “comes from multiple face-to-face meetings” and is much more enduring than the initial appeal they might exhibit.
Don’t Be Too Quick to Decline a Second Date
For those of us serial daters, there is no doubt we have entered into a date concerned about the lack of initial attraction.
But don’t write them off – even if the first date doesn’t go well. “The extent to which you hit it off at the beginning doesn’t end up mattering all that much for where this thing is going to go,” Professor Eastwick explains.
“Yes, sometimes people hook up almost instantly, but that bodes no better or poorly for how long the relationship is going to last on average. The same thing goes for feeling pretty negatively in the beginning.” According to Professor Eastwick, it takes multiple encounters to fine-tune your attractiveness rating of a person.
Remember, in order to find that special person for you, don’t be tempted to rely too heavily on a picture; always try to get a feel of your future date’s level of life satisfaction, and unless it’s an outright “no way”, don’t be too quick to decline a second date.
Monique Robin is a yoga teacher, wellness coach, mother-of-four and the co-host of How To Date, a podcast about how to master the messy, complex, and downright bizarre world of dating.