A common question asked by potential clients we meet is, if we have so many attractive, successful, funny, well-rounded, wonderful clients, why on earth are they still single? Are they socially awkward? Psychotic? Emotionally blocked? Married?
The good news is, it’s none of the above (and FYI, we screen for that stuff). The bad news is that a February 25th article this year on Huffington Post titled “How to Pick Your Life Partner” shows us that there are several factors working against even the most amazing singles, keeping them perpetually single, and a lot of it is unconscious.
Below, are just some of the reasons that “perfect” catch is still on the market – and that might just be you:
People aren’t good at knowing what they want in a partner.
Studies have shown that single people tend to suck at predicting future relationship preferences, contradicting what they say they want within minutes of expressing those wants.
We don’t get good at something until we’ve done it over and over, but many of us just don’t have enough time to be in more than a few serious relationships before making that big decision. And, it’s hard as a single person to really know what you want or need from a relationship when you aren’t in one.
Society gives us awful advice.
We are told from an early age to allow romance to guide us. “Follow your heart, not your head” is a common adage. But in every other aspect of our lives, we are told to think critically, become educated and degreed on a subject, and being logical, knowledgeable and organized is crucial for success in our professional lives. However, if someone went to school to learn about how to take part in a healthy relationship, if they charted out a detailed plan of action to find one, and if they kept their progress organized in a spreadsheet, society says they’re irrational, desperate, or a weirdo.
Society frowns upon thinking too much about our dating lives and instead tells us to “go with our gut” and “rely on fate”. If a business owner took society’s dating advice for her business, she’d probably fail, but that’s how society wants us to approach dating.
Society places a stigma on using other methods to find our life partner.
In other words, people end up picking from whatever small pool of options they have (being matched by friends, meeting at bars, the workplace) no matter how poorly matched they might to be to those candidates. The obvious conclusion to draw here is that outside of royalty or socialites, everyone looking for a life partner should be doing a lot of online dating, using a matchmaker, speed dating, and other systems created to broaden the candidate pool in an intelligent way.
But society frowns upon that, and people are often still timid to say they met their spouse through one of the above means. The societal norm is to meet a life partner by dumb luck or being introduced to them from within your social circle. Fortunately, this stigma is diminishing with time, but that it’s there at all is a reflection of how illogical the socially accepted dating rulebook is.
Society rushes us.
In our world, the major rule is to get married before you’re too old — and “too old” varies from 25-35, depending on where you live. The rule should be “whatever you do, don’t marry the wrong person,” but society frowns much more upon a 37-year-old single person than it does an unhappily married 37-year-old with two children. It makes no sense — the former is one step away from a happy marriage, while the latter must either settle for permanent unhappiness or endure a messy divorce just to catch up to where the single person is.
Human biology evolved a long time ago and doesn’t understand the concept of having a life partner for 40+ years.
When we start seeing someone and feel the slightest twinge of excitement, our biology gets into “okay let’s do this” mode and bombards us with chemicals designed to get us to mate, fall in love, and commit. Our brains can usually override this process if we’re just not that into someone, but for all those middle ground cases where the right move is probably to move on and find something better, we often succumb to the chemical roller coaster and end up getting engaged to the wrong person.
Biological clocks are a b****.
For a woman who wants to have biological children, she has one very real disadvantage: the need to pick the right life partner by 40, give or take. This is just a crappy fact that makes an already arduous process more stressful. Still, it would be better to adopt children with the right partner than have children with the wrong one.
In conclusion, when you take a lot of singles who aren’t very experienced at knowing what they truly want, surround them with a society that tells them they have to find someone STAT but that they should under-think, under-explore, and “hurry!”, combined with biology that fogs our brains and promises to stop producing children at a cut-off point, what do you do?
Sta calm and keep exploring. Be honest with yourself. Be realistic in your expectations and know you can’t “have it all”. Pick out the most important qualities for you and go from there. Try new methods of meeting someone without worrying about what anyone else thinks. Don’t listen to society or compare your friends’ paths with your own. There is a reason you are on your journey and it should be respected, admired and applauded. Use both your heart and your head, and never, ever settle.