And the benefits outweigh the costs, at least for now. Neuman talks briefly about how people who worry that marriage will be unpleasant or find the process of looking uncomfortable or demeaning, saying that these problems “are an outgrowth of certain inaccurate ideas some people have developed about themselves and about the world.” While he does mention psychotherapy in passing, the emphasis is “If people can be persuaded not to be proud and not to be fearful, there are plenty of opportunities to find someone to share their lives.”***If someone has had bad experiences with dating or with a previous marriage, are their ideas about future experiences ?After all, just because someone has a phobia of elevators because one malfunctioned while they were on board doesn’t mean they should be afraid of all elevators.
There may well be 8 million people in New York City, but most of them won’t do, and that’s an awful big haystack to sort through. Don’t tell them to stop being picky or make more of an effort.And Internet dating may actually be a hindrance for some people. Honestly, those things can create so much defiant anger in the single person that it becomes a barrier to looking.If their previous experiences with dating haven’t been reinforcing, remind them that it may not necessarily be the dating itself that’s so unpleasant—it may be that they’re uncomfortable with particular aspects of it. What about the people who are avoiding dating because they’ve had bad experiences with marriage?Some people hate meeting strangers for coffee, and others find that walking up to an attractive individual is difficult for them. What changes can they make to reduce the punishing aspects of dating? Remind them that they’re not getting married to anyone they date right out of the gate.We live in a coupled world, and many people are so afraid of being alone that they don’t know to be alone. You never really know if you have chemistry until you meet.
Yet when a single who enjoys being independent (regardless of how much she also wants a partner) wants to find a partner who is more reinforcing than that autonomy says that she’s having trouble finding a good match, the statistics come out. Maybe rather than telling singles they just need to try harder, should try harder to help them.
And even if these singles do go out with many, many people, at what point are they choosing a relationship not because the potential partner in question is an excellent match, but because they just want to stop the discomfort of dating? Neuman says, “[Some people] really do not want to get married; they want to maintain a fiction of aspiring to marriage; but it is only a fiction.”I’m not sure exactly what that means, because I’m not sure for whom the fiction is being maintained.
For family members who wish the individual would just get hitched? People can certainly maintain fictions to avoid unpleasant situations or experiences (for example, once in a while someone will attend therapy religiously to maintain the illusion that they are going to change their lives when they really have no intention of doing so), but if it’s for oneself, isn’t that an interesting fiction to choose?
(Unless you’re the sister of one of my students, who has had getting coffee with strangers. Add to that the fact that dating is time consuming.
When you have a busy job or children, for example, there may be barriers to going out with every potential match you meet.
magazine has an interesting article out this month called “Why You Should Stop Googling Your Dates.” In it, author Samantha Henig argues that online information about potential dates can be problematic.., an associate professor of information at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who explains that the treasure trove of data available via social media sites has encouraged people to treat their dating options like a shopping experience. Rather, appreciate that there are a lot of benefits to being single and that they may have trouble giving those up. Help them build their self-efficacy by encouraging them.