5 Reasons Dating is a Waste of Time

Please understand that I am not anti-dating in any way. Or, more generally, against the practice of squandering time.

Sure, swipe right if all you're looking for are casual sexual encounters. In case you and your partner are sincere about your motives, go ahead and have fun. You should not read this article.

But if you want something deeper, like love, like a partnership that won't be blown apart by an argument or two or destroyed by the everyday stress of life, then I'd recommend you need a different approach.

The dating scene is exciting, no doubt about it. What could be more thrilling than meeting a completely new person who shares your desire for love?

You never know what you're going to receive, as Forrest Gump's mother often warned him. There were a few flops, a few home runs, and a whole lot of mediocrity. And if you're very fortunate, you could just meet THE ONE and ride off into the sunset together.

While dating's fun aspects certainly help, the likelihood of really landing the relationship you're shooting for is, well, rather low. This is why.

First dates reveal very little about a person.

In the early phases of dating, impression management begins with the words and photos we choose for our profiles and continues through our choice of outfits and anecdotes to share.

Are we being dishonest? True, most of us don't do it on purpose. However, we anticipate competition from other potential partners and aim to demonstrate our strengths in this regard.

It's a fight of attractiveness, after all, and we'd all like to come out on top. We yearn to be deemed the most interesting, attractive, and entertaining individuals around. Our goal is to make it to the final episode in the off chance that our date is a keeper.

Yes, we make our caveats and confessions of (usually small) flaws, but we plan these times strategically such that they aren't the most memorable aspects of the evening for our dates.

And in our time together, we laugh, charm, and amuse one another.

We figure we know each other well enough after three or four of these nights out to make a limber vow of commitment. Are you serious?

Second, sexual attraction is a major factor in deciding to go on a date.

And it gets better: A Mr. or a Ms. Right has been found in both of you (Now). You have demonstrated a level of curiosity warranting further exploration. You stop just "hanging out" and start calling it "dating," updating your social media status to reflect this transition, and sharing photos of yourselves as a "couple."

Okay, but what exactly are the grounds for your conclusion?

You two clearly have a mutual attraction. You have fun in one another's presence. You've probably established your compatibility in bed and spent a lot of time together, talking and maybe even watching movies.

The two of you have probably discussed your common future and found that your values and aspirations are compatible. You've asked each other the tough questions about your backstories, and you're certain that nothing substantial is hiding in the answers.

But how well-versed are you in one another?

When your bodies say, "well enough!" you listen. As soon as two people lock lips, a signal is sent from the tongue to the midbrain, indicating whether or not they are a good match. Sexual desire is a strong force that may even overpower our more complex capacity for reasoning.

Because we tend to view one other via unconscious templates in the first phases of a relationship, what we think we know about each other is actually far less than we believe. We "see" each other and know instantly that we've found "the one."

That's why it hurts so much when we realize a few weeks or months later that the person we love isn't who they seemed to be when we first fell in love with them.

During the initial few weeks of dating, when many couples are considering whether to move forward or move on, it is not always possible to see the attributes that do indicate relationship stability or that make someone a suitable future partner.

Third, we tend to pair up with individuals who are similar to ourselves, even though a significant other who is extremely different from us could be more compatible with us in the long run.

Like the brains of other mammals, the human brain places a high value on familiarity. Having a natural rapport with someone is a big factor in whether or not they feel "right" to us. It's not magic when you find someone who knows just how and when to touch you, who seems to have known you in a previous life, and whose voice and laughter seem to awaken something from your past. A shared emotional upbringing is a good indicator of compatibility.

Early in life, we are exposed to the "scripts" that will guide our interactions with others. Such patterns are modeled for us by our early caretakers, and we often use them as templates for our interactions with others as adults. If we come from healthy, supportive homes, we are more likely to model such traits in the households we create.

However, if we were exposed to harmful environments, such as those characterized by substance abuse, maltreatment, or mental illness as children, we could have internalized such stereotypes. The psychological pattern known as codependency develops when one consistently puts the needs of another person ahead of their own.

This is crucial knowledge for everyone who has experienced unhealthy or violent relationships in the past. They keep going for the partners who "feel right," but it's really just a clue that they're following the same tired pattern. Engaging with someone who seems, well, unusual, is necessary if you want change to occur.

Dates may be awkward and get in the way of making new friends.

Relationships that persist and bring happiness to both individuals are almost often described as "my best friend." Your ideal partner is someone you can trust to not only have your back but also to be honest with you when you've gone and made a jackass of yourself in the face of the inevitable obstacles that arise as the years pass and the world around you changes.

My second marriage ended after 25 years, but during that time we accomplished a lot: we both got advanced degrees, started successful jobs, had two beautiful children, formed strong and supportive networks of friends and family, and had a positive impact on our local community. We still have mutual respect for one another after all these years, and we talk things out if we have an issue.

And while the desire ebbed and flowed during that quarter century of union, the friendship — the endless discussion — was the rock against which the storms would always crash.

For a friendship to develop into a best friend relationship that sparks, both parties must put in effort to learn about one another. Building trust takes time, and it won't happen if we're all hiding behind well crafted public personas.

So long as you're fixated on the outcome — Will she sleep with me? — you're not going to be able to focus on anything else. Will he give me his word? You're not in a good spot to be making new connections at the moment.

It's impossible to make an objective decision about whether or not to quit a relationship if you've come to view it as a success if you stay in it and feel that breaking up would be a failure.

So, if dating isn't the way to find true love, what is?

Gather a group of pals that share your interests and values rather than focusing on their sexual allure. People who are engaging and kind, who are helpful and humorous, who care about you for who you are rather than what you can do for them, who are there to lend a hand when others are in need, and who have, to an adequate degree, perfected the great art of adulting.

Spending time with each other's friends is a great opportunity to get rapid answers to these kinds of inquiries, the kinds of things you can't be sure of when you're busy enchanting one another. It's time to call it quits if you and your buddies don't get along with his or her pals or if your friends don't appreciate the energy that person exudes.

Last but not least, the simplest red flag: if someone tells you, "You're too good for me," take it seriously.

5, dating is essential in the future.

Friendship has been formed. There's a natural flow of people from one of your social groups into the other. You've put in time and effort together, getting dirty, sweaty, tired, and grumpy, and now you know each other too well to be impressed by any more attempts at impression management.

And your feelings for one another are sincere. Although you may have previously thought that you were only attracted to tall, dark, and handsome men, you may be surprised to find that someone who is "not your type" can be quite attractive once you learn to look at them with objective eyes.

Now is the time for one of you to make the first move and ask the other out on a date to toast your friendship and explore the possibilities.

And if you decide to build on what you've built, whether that's by cohabitating or whatever name you give your partnership, and especially if it's marriage and you've had a child or two, dating should be a part of it.

You should go on dates that are both romantic and serve to rekindle the flame that first brought the two of you together. Dates where you and your partner know you'll end up in bed together, but you still act like you've just met and try to seduce each other as much as possible.

Even though it will be a waste of time, by that point you will realize that there is nothing more worthwhile than wasting an evening in the company of your dearest, most devoted friend.

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