Alice, a marketing executive in her 40s, has been a member on and off of the Jewish dating site for years; at her count, she’s been on more than 100 dates with men from the greater Dallas region.But the more she lingers on the site, she says, the harder it is to settle on any one suitor.She blames online dating for her inability to determine who, precisely, qualifies as her perfect match.
They may not willingly admit this to their friends and family as they complain that there are just too many choices, but the reality is that an online dater will never really find satisfaction if she doesn’t know for whom she’s actually searching.
Dating sites and the algorithms they employ don’t assess us on the qualities we’re looking for in others; rather, they ask us for data about ourselves.
As I argue in my book, people are perpetually single or labor on in unfulfilling relationships not because of tyranny of choice but because they haven’t created a specific list of what they want in a mate.
“Aligning on religion, finances and family” doesn’t qualify as a list.
To wit: if you were to visit a grocery store with a list that simply read “meat, produce, dairy,” you’d have a hard time choosing and settling on the right items too. ) I believe that I was successful at finding the perfect person because I made an extremely granular and specific list, noting everything from acceptable attitudes toward work and sports to what type of jazz he should like.
In all, I had 72 attributes that I parsed into two sections: one was a top-tier list of 10 deal-breaker characteristics, and the other was a secondary tier of 15 important qualities I would demand in a partner. I need someone who was raised in a Jewish household.
I assigned each of those attributes varying point scores that reflected how important each was to me. He should know what’s kosher and what’s not, what all the holidays are, the lore and the history.
(MORE: Why Restaurants and Valentine’s Day Don’t Mix) When Alice mentioned this predicament to me at a conference last week in Texas, she was echoing the growing sentiment that online-dating sites actually prevent people from finding long-term partners. The “tyranny of choice” theory posits that surrounded by too many options, we become paralyzed, overwhelmed and unable to make a decision.
Some of us begin to think that we have infinite opportunities and become lured by the prospect of bigger, better deals.
Others just want out, so they’re willing to settle for someone who seems good enough at that moment in time.
But this phenomenon is only applicable for those people who aren’t really looking for long-term love.