Rules often comfort us because they seem to offer a straightforward path to complex subjects: subjects like dating.
Because we don’t know what we’re doing when it comes to dating, we often soak up any advice that’s given to us. And although these “rules” probably came from good intentions, the data on how real relationships form and persist often proves them wrong.
Today we are going to debunk the common dating “rules” you’ve heard for years so that you can establish a better approach to finding the one, instead of playing just another game.
“The more people I date, the better my chances are of finding ‘the one.’”
Dating is a numbers game – just in a different kind of way than you think.
There’s an area of mathematics called “optimal stopping theory,” which some mathematically-minded people have used to predict how many other singles they should reject before settling.
Applying this strategy to dating suggests you should reject the first 37 percent of candidates. Of course, you’d have to know how many potential suitors you will date in your lifetime (which is impossible) or otherwise predict.
In other words, applying this mathematical formula means that if you predict you’ll date 10 people in your life, you should reject the first four. If that number is 20, then you should reject the first 8 – and so on.
Then, the first person you date after the rejection stage who is better than everyone else should be the one you should choose.
Of course, following this method isn’t perfect. You could end up finding Mr. or Miss Right early on. And rejecting them would only leave you longing for your “first love.”
But mathematics reveals the patterns in nature – including relationships, so this method – though contingent on your own intuitions – still “produces better results than any other formula you could follow.”
“I can’t fall in love with anyone I don’t initially find attractive.”
Yes, you can.
In fact, “43% of singles have fallen in love with someone they did not initially find attractive.”
Most of us think we have a certain “type” we should be looking for. But physical attractiveness often builds with time.
The more you get to know someone and discover things you have in common, the more you see that person in a different light. Like becoming familiar with someone’s personality, attraction is something that also grows.
“It’s better to wait before responding.”
You’ve probably heard this one since high school. While you don’t want your crush to think you’re desperate, you do want them to know you’re interested.
Navigating that fine balance is the question. Thinking you should take the too-cool-for-school route though won’t help you.
In a study that looked at 182,000 online dating messages, the researchers found that for every day someone didn’t respond, the response rate from the initiator of the conversation fell 0.7 percent for each day that went by.
So, don’t think it’s better to wait before responding. Just continue the conversation or respond at least within 24 hours.
“If I’m having conflict with someone, I know the relationship isn’t going anywhere.”
Not all conflict is detrimental to a relationship. Conflict can reflect the growing nature of the relationship. That is, if you both feel you understand each other.
A study showed that when partners feel like their “thoughts, feelings, and point of view are understood,” conflict can strengthen a relationship because it shows that one is invested.
However, there are times when conflict equals a bigger problem. Conflict that makes you feel worse about the relationship may be an indication it’s time to part ways.
“I know everything about my partner. I’ve been with them for a long time!”
But the results revealed that confidence doesn’t make it true.
Even though they had more confidence, the couples who were together for longer didn’t actually know their partners any better.
The survey asked them to guess their partner’s response to rating their own intelligence, athleticism, and attractiveness. 80 percent thought they were right, when in fact they only guessed right 30 percent of the time.
In conclusion, length of time together is not an indication you know your partner well.
Now that you won’t be letting these dating common dating myths stand in your way, there’s one more thing to remember: Your intuition is your greatest strength.