Everywhere you look in the dating world, there’s more choice than ever. The abundance of dating apps now available has brought “choice overload” with them. While that might seem like a good thing on the surface, it’s left us all with a few problems when we’re looking for dating success. So, what is the “abundance philosophy” and how is the “paradox of choice” holding you back?
Variety and choice are good things. They give us a better chance of meeting someone that we’re truly compatible with because there are more people available at the swipe of a thumb. However, that fantastic selling-point is also its biggest flaw – if there are always more people available with just a few swipes when you know when to stop swiping?
In his book Attached, Dr Amir Levine breaks the abundance philosophy down into a few key points:
- There are plenty of great people out there who would make a brilliant partner.
- It’s sensible to give several people a chance without settling for one person very early on in a relationship.
- People assume that meeting someone suitable is unlikely but there are plenty of people out there you can meet who might make you happy.
- Working on the law of probability, the more people you meet, the more likely you are to find someone you connect with.
All sounds reasonable, right? The sticking point is the second one – it can sometimes be difficult to draw the line and stop swiping. In fact, it can be a compulsion to see if the next one is “better”. To justify our decision to carry on looking, we pinpoint flaws that we don’t like. Maybe one person’s eyebrows aren’t level or they’re slightly shorter than you’d like. We become perfectionists, looking for our version of perfect, and there’s always something that can be improved on if we just keep looking.
Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you go for a date with one person and that you need to settle down with them for life. Dating is about kissing a few frogs to find the one that’s right for you, and you shouldn’t stop looking if you find you don’t have that spark.
But make some mental adjustments while you’re single to determine what you’re going to do when you’re faced with the possibility that one more swipe might make all the difference.
Nobody is going to tick all your boxes and have absolutely no flaws. The abundance philosophy suggests you can continue looking until you find someone who’s just right, but the compulsion to pass over someone that you have a lot in common with and who is attractive just because the next person might be more attractive is damaging your prospects.
So, forget the abundance philosophy and focus in on what you’re looking for in a partner. If you find someone who has a lot of potential, don’t carry on swiping until you find someone better.