I’m so excited to e-introduce you to Erica Gordon, who’s put together some expert dating advice for us from her new book! Erica Majored in Psychology at UBC and has worked in the dating industry for over 6 years. She is the author of the new dating advice book, “Aren’t You Glad You Read This?” available on Amazon, Thought Catalog and on iBooks. You can see more of her articles on her advice column www.TheBabeReport.com or follow her on Instagram @ericaleighgordon. Now, let’s get to the good stuff!
Why Having Too Many Options Is The Modern Paradox That’s Ruining Dating
If you’re single in today’s digital age where options are endless and choices are everywhere, you’re probably wondering why it’s so tough out there. Modern daters have more options and more opportunities than any older generations had, yet modern dating isn’t by any means better than it was in the past. Why is that? Too much choice is ruining dating. We have options – lots of options, but this isn’t exactly a good thing. Enter the paradox of choice.
The popularity of dating apps has exacerbated the issue of the paradox of choice, and it’s causing all of us to be lazy daters. Having too many options makes us feel less satisfied with each individual option, and we put less effort in because we de-value each of our choices due to the illusion of having endless options.
All of these options can certainly be overwhelming, and feeling overwhelmed can prevent you from giving anyone a real shot. You could get overwhelmed by the choices and suddenly feel paralyzed, not acting on any of them. Even worse, you could end up alone because the deceptive perception of something better always being around the corner can cause you to never just choose someone and stop looking. Perhaps this is why some of us are so picky. It’s likely we will take for granted an amazing catch – someone special who we meet and discard. Too much choice is leading us to a state of dating stagnation.
The problem comes full circle because all of your dates are always too distracted by other options to give you a real shot. You’re not going all-in, either, due to the delusion of choice. In general, too much choice can complicate life, but it especially complicates your dating life.
And if you do meet someone special, how likely are you to stop using dating apps and just focus your attention on that one person? What sometimes happens, is that no matter how much you like the person you’re dating, you’ll still chat with others and explore other options. When you always think someone better is right around the corner, you’re allowing yourself to get distracted from the amazing person right in front of you. If you can break this habit and try dating one person at a time, that’s you giving it a real shot.
The paradox of choice causes you to hesitate instead of committing, because you’re reluctant to give up your other options. But what if these ‘better options’ are a mere illusion, and giving them up is the path to happiness and fulfillment?
Imagining that you have a ton of amazing options to choose from makes it difficult to choose, so you choose no one – and that’s getting you nowhere.
The paradox of choice has the uncanny ability to cause single men and women to feel lonely even while surrounded by options because they have trouble choosing when there is so much choice. This could be why so many of us inadvertently choose to remain single, neglecting promising opportunities that present themselves.
If you do decide that you want a meaningful relationship, you have to give up your other options, and it’s not as big of a sacrifice as you think to do so.
The privilege of choice causes ridiculously high expectations
The issue is not that you are too choosy; the issue is that there is too much choice – choice that you may be tempted to indulge in often, whether it’s because you can’t bring yourself to delete that dating app or you can’t help but be interested in someone else even if you’re already dating someone amazing.
It’s also choice that causes you to be extremely picky, and it is choice that causes your narrow-mindedness. It’s common to also feel entitled to something or someone better because of your awareness of your city’s options.
The more options we have the privilege to choose from, the pickier we become. Someone has to really stand out among all of those options to get our attention. Our expectations are too high. If you keep second-guessing whether or not a man or woman is right for you, you’ll lose out on scoring someone amazing.
The privilege of being able to choose may be more detrimental to your dating life than it is advantageous if you let this happen. Having standards is great, but having entitled expectations is not.
Instead of having high expectations, we should focus on the root of relationships: the feeling you get when you’re with someone special. Focus on how someone makes you feel, rather than focusing on whether or not they live up to your ‘expectations’.
Dating uncertainty is caused by too much choice
Having too much choice makes us second-guess ourselves, and makes us second-guess the person we’re with, which could be one of the reasons why you’re still single.
It’s common to feel uncertain about someone you’re newly dating, second-guessing whether or not he or she is the right one. But is the delusion of other options the only reason you’re second-guessing? It’s easy to think “the right one is still out there” when dating apps are constantly reminding you just how many really are “still out there.” It is a modern-day dating dilemma.
The feeling of uncertainty when you’re dating someone great but you aren’t sure how you feel is a common problem. It is caused by us feeling unsatisfied with a prospect because we’re sure we’d be settling, and we’re sure we could do better – but if what if we’re wrong?
The hookup culture is caused by the plethora of options
The hookup culture thriving within today’s dating culture. Meanwhile, real relationships are few and far between. What happened? Casual hookups are a dime a dozen, but what about genuine relationships that leave you feeling fulfilled and at ease instead of empty, anxious and alone? Having a plethora of options is tempting us to participate solely in the hookup culture instead of being content with one person – no matter how wonderful he or she is.
While hooking up is fun – and easy due to our accessibility to singles via dating apps – it’s not getting us where we want to be. It’s not getting us closer to finding love.
If the amount of choice you have is causing you to feel uncertain about someone you’re dating, ask yourself: Is this person a good catch? Have you given this person a real chance, and have you genuinely gotten to know them yet? The solution is to forget about the fact that you have other options and focus on the prospect in question for awhile, just to be sure.
If you put your other options out of your mind and spend some quality time with one person, the results will likely be quite positive. Your feelings for them will grow, especially if during that time you are not distracted by other options.
Simply put: If you feel something with someone, and they have the qualities you’re looking for, then it’s worth exploring. However, it’s impossible to explore that potential if you’re distracted by ‘other options’. A good catch isn’t as common to find as you might think. It may take self-discipline to see where things go with one person rather than continue looking, but the rewards of a fulfilling relationship with someone special are worth sacrificing other options. You’re giving up your options to find something real. If that’s not a worthwhile reward, I don’t know what is.
This article is an excerpt from the new dating advice book “Aren’t You Glad You Read This?” available on Amazon and Thought Catalog Books.
Well ladies and gentlemen, aren’t you glad you read this?