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No longer someone for everybody

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
I stumbled across this article, and it seems to make sense, at least to me. I don't know whether others would agree, so I'll paste it here and please feel free to give your thoughts. See underneath for a tl;dr.

There is No Longer Someone for Everyone

One of the common myths about dating is that there's a soulmate out there for everyone. Dating services have made millions promoting the idea that your perfect partner is out there, you just need to try harder to find them. This seems to make sense since there are an equal number of men and women. The reality is that in promiscuous culture, a small percentage of men can monopolize sex with a majority of women. When this happens, the matching up process does not occur, and singles end up floating indefinitely around the dating pool.

The Attractiveness Hierarchy

In the monogamous marriage system of the past, the majority of men and women found mates and got married. In that system, singles knew roughly where they were ranked in overall attractiveness and married a mate of roughly equal rank as soon as they could, usually by their early 20's. There were strong economic and sexual pressures to marry early, and this motivated singles to quickly find a mate of roughly equivalent attractiveness rather than wait for their "perfect soulmate." In the monogamous system, if one waited too long, the pool of eligible mates shrank, and it became more difficult to find a quality partner. (See The Pill and the Decline of Dating and Marriage).

In today's society, birth control removes the incentive for singles to settle into their place in the attractiveness hierarchy. Because women freed from birth control can have sex without marriage, they can engage in temporary physical relationships that have no marriage potential while they wait and hope for Mr. Right. These strings of temporary relationships help women meet their short-term emotional needs but delay them from pursuing serious marriage partners. Men have a greater evolved desire for unfettered sex, and generally prefer more sex partners rather than a commitment to marriage and raising children. Because women are willing to have premarital sex, the attractive men who have ready access to many new sex partners have little incentive to pursue marriage at all. They generally prefer to circulate among women rather than settling down.

(Note: Robert Trivers' 1972 parental investment theory proposed that men's stronger sex drive and stronger desire for variety in their partners is the result of a basic biological difference between the sexes. In order to procreate, men need only invest the few minutes to have sex, while women must invest at least nine months of pregnancy to bear the child. From a biological standpoint, sperm is cheap and easy to produce, while wombs are much, much more valuable. Women possess the more valuable reproductive resource, so sex and pregnancy imply a much greater investment on the part of women.

A result of this investment differential was that before the invention of contraception, sex improved the reproductive potential of man much more than it did a woman. When a man had sex with more women, he could have more children. One prolific example, Moulay Ismail the Bloodthirsty, fathered 888 children out of a harem of 500 women. A woman, on the other hand, can have only one child per nine months no matter how many men she has sex with. Because of this differential, over the course of evolution, women became pickier about the quality of their sex partners while men became the more sexually aggressive and less choosy gender.)

Circulating around the Pool

The promiscuous system allows very attractive men to avoid commitment and be continually available for sex. Because these men can have more sex, women have sexual access to more attractive men than they would have been able to attract as marriage partners under the monogamous system. However, there is a downside for many women and men. For most men, it means that the few particularly desirable men at the top of the attractiveness hierarchy can monopolize many of the women. By having many relationships, many sex partners and even multiple wives in serially monogamous fashion, the most attractive men can consume the prime reproductive years of multiple women. For biological reasons, a woman's fertile lifetime is much shorter than a man's, making it even easier for some men to consume an unequal share of female reproductive resources. When some men consume more than their share of women, there will necessarily be other men, lower on the attractiveness hierarchy, who will have no suitable women available for marriage at all. This also means that all of the men who are not at the top of the hierarchy must lower their standards.

Most men don't realize that rampant promiscuity hurts them. They think that the pill and sexual revolution have brought them a sexual boon. They don't realize that promiscuity prevents them from finding high-quality women. The monogamous marriage system allowed a man only one woman, which meant that virtually all men got at least one woman. In the monogamous system, attractive women were more evenly distributed so the majority of men were able to attract more desirable women than they could attract under the promiscuous system.

For women, the transition to the promiscuous system has made it more difficult to find a marriage partner as well. The attractive men don't commit because they have new sex partners constantly available. Lower-status men shun marriage because they hope to gain more options as they gain status and rise into the ranks of the highly attractive. Women who are accustomed to having sex with highly attractive men also don't want to "settle" and marry the kind of less sexy man that would be willing to marry. Men don't want to to be settled for, either. This means that both men and women remain circulating in the dating pool for long periods without settling into marriage. Shows like Sex and the City and movies like Bridget Jones' Diary resonate because this experience is so common among modern metropolitan singles. As promiscuity increases, marriage declines and fewer singles can find lifelong partners.

TL;DR. Contraception has changed the way people date - seldom do people marry their first sexual partner anymore, emancipation from unwanted pregnancy has allowed men and women to have a lot more sex. So highly attractive men are more likely to have multiple female partners (not necessarily at the same time) instead of settling down. This means they are having a greater proportion of the pool of single females. This means average men have a smaller pool of single females available to date, and those single females that are available may not want to settle for average guys instead waiting for one of the sexy guys to become available.

Hence men and women get stuck into cycles of singeldom / dating rather than finding a stable long-term relationship - we all think we can do better.


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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ok we may be single for longer/never find someone to settle down with and marry but the beginning of the article suggests that 50 odd years ago, people were only marrying for economic and social reasons i.e. becaue they think they should, rather than becaue theyve found their 'soulmate'. If this is the case, i'd rather be where i am today than settle for marrying the first rich guy that comes along but i think i have to
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You're right in a way. It's not a case of today is better or worse I think. However I do sometimes think because we live in a 'designer life' generation where we can / expect to have everything we want, people carry this across to their relationships, their workplaces, everything. Nobody accepts the mediocre as being okay anymore. Everyone aspires to have a better job and believes street cleaning or being a binman is below them. The same is similar for relationships.

    But I suppose if you find someone who makes you happy, that can be enough. They don't need to be a movie star or 6'6 or anything like that. I wonder (open question) if people struggle to appreciate the simplicity of not having the best everything, but just being content in our day and age.

    Do you think most people would ever find their perfect soulmate? I know recently I've been thinking and constructing what my perfect girl would be like... and I've never met anyone close to that really :p. I think it might just be a pipe dream, and the best way to be happy is to go along in life with an open mind and take happiness where you can find it. That of course doesn't mean staying in unhappy relationships of course.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Mates is an analogous term for friends, friends come and go...I interpret the term soulmate to mean someone who you feel you can relate to on a higher level (whatever that may be for you) at that time. I have been in a relationship with only one person I felt that with, and that was only for a short time, yet I have felt that feeling with friends and people I've had flings with. Sometimes it only lasts a while, sometimes it comes and goes.

    I totally agree that its about finding someone who makes you really happy, I think in the past people have put up and shut up with totally missmatched relationships. But also, people seem to have lost the skills to be able to work at a relationship and sort out the niggles. I think being able to be content in a capitalist world where you are constantly expected to have the biggest and the best is very difficult, but its an essential tool for us all to have in order to be ok even when the shits going down. I think thats why they had the blizt spirit...because people were able to be content, even in awful situations.

    I think that people who live enough find someone who provides them with much happiness. Whether that be a friend or a partner.

    Too many people base their primary happiness in life on someone external to themselves. Theres the saying of if you don't love yourself, how can you love another, and to an extent I think its true. You can't base your happiness on someone else.

    But I normally draw up a check list, kind of a open invitation to the universe, hoping that at least some of it is fulfilled.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I agree with people that in the past you married for economic reasons or you married who your parents wanted you to marry rather than marrying for love. Nowadays we are more romantic and will want to marry for love. However maybe its gone too far, a lot of couples wont work at their relationships. A lot of married people (especially women sadly) seem almost childish when it comes to relationships and expect married life to be like something out of a Disney film.

    Another factor which has not been mentioned is that in the past women needed a husband more than they do today as they were limited in what jobs they could do and it was not acceptable to have children outside of marriage. This would have encouraged women to drop their standards regarding men. Now women are able to get good jobs, earn their own money and have children without a male partner. If they cant find the right man then they have the option of going it alone rather than settling for the wrong man.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That is the biggest load of misogynistic bollocks I've heard since the last halfwit came here copying Neil Strauss' bullshit.

    Firstly, it's a complete fallacy that all men want as many sexual partners as possible and all women want a nice strong man to settle down with and make babies with. Some men want a strong monogamous relationship and some women want a diverse sexual life.

    Secondly, it's a complete fallacy that men want sex to father as many children as possible. It's recently been shown that men's testosterone levels drop dramatically after becoming a father, indicating that the "natural" thing is for a man to settle down and stick with the mother of his child/ren. This would make evolutionary sense given how long it takes for a human child to become independent; it's no good fathering 500 children if 495 of them get eaten by tigers.

    Thirdly, it's complete fallacy that the number of sexual partners a person has affects their ability to begin a strong monogamous relationship with someone. It's true that, in many cases, people have more sexual partners than they used to but there isn't any decline in the numbers of people settling into strong monogamous relationships. What is happening is that women aren't forced to carry the baby of a man they sleep with and men aren't forced to marry the first woman they impregnate. Women are increasingly financially independent (although there's a long way to go, a woman's income is hers not her husband's) so don't have to marry the first man they meet.

    Fourthly, the simple truth is that you think you can do better right up until you meet someone that you really like; you then realise you can't do better. If you're ditched by someone it's not because the "promiscuous woman" (whatever the heck that means) is after a "sexy guy to come available", it means that they're just not that into you. That works either way.

    And fifthly, of course, that entire thing assumes that all men want to have relationships with women and that all women want to have relationships with men.
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    *gulps* that was a very strongly worded response arctic, you frightened me! You make a lot of good points but I suspect some of them are strawmen because they don't really attack the central point (or at least, the central theme of the article). I agree it's not the best article but at least its a starting point.

    Maybe I could frame the question as: since the advent of modern contraception through condoms and the birth control pill, this has emancipated men and women from relationships they would have been stuck in due to pregnancy in the 1950s, which has led to a maturing and changing of the face of dating especially in the US (though the UK has followed suit). With good changes this has brought with the increased freedom to date more people, experience life without being tied down, and also find better quality relationships in the long run - are there complementing bad changes? As a dramatic rhetoric - are we headed towards a society of spinsters and bachelors unable to find a happy coupling?
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    Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Maybe. But what's worse? A generation of people in unhappy marriages staying together out of a sense of duty, or a generation of single people? Perhaps a more important question would be, would you rather have everyone getting together and having kids because it's the social norm, or only those who really wanted them?

    I've seen this first hand since moving to Vietnam. Daughters who depend on their parents until they can find a husband to depend on, pressured into marrying the first person they have any sort of relationship with, but banned from dating because of the intense fear that she might not be a virgin for her husband (as usual, the husband's sexual history seems to be less of an issue :rolleyes:). And this system is just rife for predatory older men (and foreign men) to bag a wife that they'd never even be able to dream of getting on their own merits. And men complain of women who are only interested in their money (duh, that 19 year old model doesn't like you for your beer gut?) but speaking to these girls, they're generally doing it out of necessity and a sense of debt and duty to their parents (who are often still paying for their lifestyle at that point). Even in my own experiences in this area, where I think there was at least some level of equality in terms of attractiveness, there was a definite eagerness to pin down the relationship very early on (I even wrote a blog entry titled "Why do Vietnamese girls fall in love so fast?"). It's a system that only exists because one party is completely dependent on another, and I don't think it's something the West should be looking at replicating, or even capable of replicating.

    It's not a cultural thing, it's an economic thing. Divorce increases as women realise they no longer have to put up with their husband being unfaithful, because they're no longer economically reliant on him, for example. Divorce is seen as a Western problem, but in reality it's simply a rich country problem, in as much as it's a problem at all. Similarly, most British kids would have no problem surviving without mum and dad if push came to shove. Most don't, because they enjoy the lifestyle, but they certainly wouldn't put up with the level of control that Vietnamese parents inflict on their children (22 year olds not allowed out after 9pm - ridiculous). I think the economic impact is a far bigger impact, because women in the developing world (at least the parts not controlled by religious fundies) have few problems getting hold of the pill and taking control in that respect. It's the money that's the issue.
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