Thoughts on Dating and Relationships

“Deserving” someone. The concept of “deserving” a desirable romantic partner, simply due to one’s innate existence, is absurd. This seems to be something that women espouse more than men. Of course, Western society continues to vapidly value women for their appearance while men are valued for their accomplishments. However, believing that one “deserves” someone, just due to existing, seems no better. I would instead propose that no one “deserves” anything when it comes to dating.

“Just be yourself.” Don’t be yourself. Change yourself. If “yourself” is a lazy alcoholic who accomplishes far below his or her capacity, whose word is mud, and who behaves neurotically when dating, then this is not someone you should want to be. The argument that I should “be myself” is more aptly applied to not compromising—not pretending my predilections line up with my date’s in a futile attempt to curry favor. If a date professes to me her great love for hockey, I am going to “be myself” and pretend I like hockey too. However, just because my natural tendency is toward overeating does not mean I should “be myself” and allow myself to become obese.

“Let’s just be friends.” When someone continues to be “friends” with someone for the possibility of sex, he has done so willingly. We should have zero empathy nor sympathy for vultures who offer so-called friendship on a foundation of resentment for not being repaid with sex. Also, accepting gifts from someone, which by definition are supposed to require nothing in return, should not be considered “leading on.” In fact, anyone who offers a “gift” expecting repayment is a hypocrite. Their “generous” acts are completely nullified.

“Dirty” old men. No one ever refers to “dirty” young men, even though they are dirtier (have higher sex drives) than old men. The idea that men should be attracted to progressively older women as they become progressively older is egalitarian, but perhaps not realistic (shown in a somewhat-dubious study on OkCupid messaging trends). Women who date older men, particularly in the free world, usually have a choice in the matter, and thus are culpable for aiding and abetting dirty old men.

Cheating. If someone “cheats” or is “cheated” on, they could have completely avoided this violation of trust by not entering into an exclusive arrangement. There is plenty of cultural pressure and perhaps psychological pressure by the monogamy-inclined to cajole others into exclusive arrangements, but refusing this pressure, like being vegetarian or transgender, is becoming increasingly acceptable. Hopefully, this will reduce the prevalence of cheating, although people who cheat do not necessarily plan to do so from the outset of a relationship. Overall, the idea that one can claim sexual ownership over someone else for years on end, in marriage or exclusive arrangements, is contrary to the desires of the flesh and prone to violation.

Dating “advice.” People are far too eager to offer vapid and often patently false advice on dating and relationships. Even “good” advice usually has no empirical evidence behind it. Most would be better off avoiding advice from family and friends whenever possible. A common rejoinder people like to use against me is my “failure” to find a girlfriend reflects on my bitterness and arrogance. This is reminiscent of “law of attraction” pseudoscience. It is neither efficacious nor helpful. Additionally, if advice is given, it should be male–male or female–female (among cisgendered heterosexuals). The world of dating is much different for women than men. An average-looking woman will often have men ask her out even while grocery shopping, while an average-looking man can go an entire lifetime without this happening. Women have to sift through hundreds of messages on dating apps (including many misogynistic messages), while men often have to send hundreds of messages just to get a few responses. Comparing apples to oranges is like comparing dating for men to dating for women.

Neediness. I am not convinced the opposite of “neediness” is that great. Seeing a text or message from a dating prospect, not having time to respond, and then forgetting for an entire week is common for me. I used to suffer from so-called “oneitis” where I would get stuck on a particular women (it’s only “oneitis” when not reciprocated). This is not something I consciously exterminated, so much as simply grew out of, despite having no meaningful relationships in my 25 years. So-called neediness is only a problem when your crush has much less of it than you. However, if you both lack it completely, there is no relationship—you will just go weeks without noticing neither has contacted each other. Michael Jordan does not have a basketball “problem.” A successful poker player does not have a gambling “problem.” One only has a “neediness” or “clinginess” problem if rebuffed. Moreover, neediness may be more of a habit than an indicator of irreparable brokenness. While it can indicate lack of self-worth, this is not always true. One partner being “needy” might be the best way to keep communication channels flowing. Of course, due to cultural and/or biological expectations, being a needy man is far worse than being a needy woman.

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