Mathematics of dating

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
thrifty++
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Mathematics of dating

Post by thrifty++ » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:58 am

I have lately been thinking quite a bit about the "mathematics"of dating.

I am perpetually single. And I find this quite un-ERE. I would like to settle with a partner and grow a life together. However this seems to never happen. And I think I have realised why, on an analytical basis.

I have been thinking that the chances of a successful relationship depends upon what each person "brings to the table". Being key things such as objective physical beauty, intelligence, charm, wit social skill, wealth, and social status. Sounds harsh to look at it this way but I am realising that when I break it down these are the factors subconsciously playing through my head, and I bet that of most other people whether they know it or otherwise.

I am thinking that the most likely chance of a successful relationship is where the two people are roughly equivalent in "value"" and can provide for a give and take relationship.

What do others think?

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:58 am

Why do you think being perpetually single is un-ERE? I think this forum probably has a greater proportion of single people than the general population.

I generally agree with your notion that people are seeking roughly equivalent total "value" on the dating market. One line of relationship theory holds that at the moment of consent for sexual interaction, the two participants must be at equivalent power state. So, a successful relationship might be defined as one in which over the long-run both participants regularly cycle into equivalent power states in the realm of sexuality and other important realms of relationship.

However, one of the problems with this theory, which those who promote it admit, is that relationship are only rarely perfect two participant models. For instance, sometimes a person might be described as "only staying in the marriage for the kids" and this is true. In other circumstances, society in general might be the third party that is altering the power structure in favor of one partner over the other. For instance, if you are a member of a culture in which one gender is punished more harshly for divorce. Sometimes it might just be something like you greatly value your membership in a bowling team which is comprised of other married couples. Or you are being driven by envy of the recent marriage of the cousin your grandmother always favored. etc. etc. etc.

In conventional marriage, monogamous contract is usually made in the realms of the practical (financial and domestic), romantic, social, and sexual. Long term successful contracts that do not include all of these realms can be made between individuals who are only power-equivalent at margin. Short term contracts are often made between individuals who are only intermittently or briefly power equivalent. For instance, when Hugh Grant had a deep need (weak moment) that caused him to hit it with a street-prostitute even though he was engaged to Elizabeth Hurley.

Therefore, individuals who are right around center of curve in all things will have an easier time finding other individuals with whom they can form successful multi-realm long-term contract. Individuals who are off the chart will have more difficulty, especially if they are objectively very attractive in some realms, and unattractive in others. Individuals who believe themselves to be in transition phase of status towards higher levels, will not want to lock in contract currently. Individuals who believe themselves to be in transition phase of status towards lower levels, will very much want to lock in contract currently.

Unless other party is otherwise in philosophical alignment due to generally valuing "conservation of resources" and/or "free use of time", your own frugal FI is a bit of a hard sell on the market, because in a way all you are offering is evidence that it is highly unlikely that you will ever be a financial burden on the other person. In some sub-markets, such as old affluent men, combined with still looking okay in a bathing suit given reading glasses and photo-shop, this is all that is required. In other sub-markets, such as young women who wish to start/raise family in conventional manner, not so much.

Farm_or
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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by Farm_or » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:10 am

Check their credit score.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:35 am

Credit score can be misleading, one way or the other, especially if individual is recently divorced. Better test might be taking candidate on walk through a mall. My BF does an amusing impression of the behavior of a couple of other women he dated in this situation. The amusing outcome of the manner in which I fall over the edge of the curve when put to this test is that I have a very large collection of very practical gifts from men I have dated. As in, "What do you buy for the woman who will store expensive jewelry in a box so she doesn't lose it while gardening, and then trade it in to a gold-broker as soon as you break up? I know, winter boots and some spare tubes for her bike!"

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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by Scott 2 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:54 am

Agree, noting that each individual will apply their own personal weighting to each variable.

A big part of making a relationship successful, is maximizing your variables in the context of other person's algorithm.

If this happens at selection time, when being yourself, life is going to be a whole lot easier.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:28 am

@ thrifty

Yeah, all that is true enough. But the math has changed. It used to be that dating was almost exclusively a social networking function. Your friends have friends, and there were protocols for courtship to minimize damage, because in the end, everyone will know everything, and people are always hurting each other in the name of love.

The end result was that the commoner your wants/needs/desires, the easier to find a mate. The more flexible you were to your partner's wants/needs/desires, the longer the relationship lasted. This led to norms of behavior, and an expectation that anyone outside this fence try to minimize how far outside the norm they wanted to be. And lots of suppressed frustrations.

This was a great system for the extroverted, well socialized, majority. But if you weren't part of that group, things got real hard, real fast.

But, now dating is arranged by the internet. And that changes everything.

Introverts now have a wide selection to work with. With all the options, a good fit is more important than your ability to adapt to a poor fit. Tech has changed dating as it changed shoes.

There is a story Mormons tell of the early mormons moving to Utah. Many didn't have what it takes to cross the plains and climb the hills. To help, each was issued 2 boots. Not a pair of boots, just 2 boots. See, old footwear was nothing like what we have today. Often it was just a boot big enough to get a foot in, and then you padded it to fit your foot. You adapt to the boot, the boot adapts to you, and eventually, a tolerable fit comes about.

This same principal of adaptation was the standard for relationships, as well. It is still being taught as relationship skills. But the game has changed. Now, with all the options open, and less permanent social circles, selection is more important than adaptability. By that I mean the initial costs of making contact are so low, dick pix are used as introduction, at the wholesale level.

With the low cost of entry, the efficient method is to date, a lot. Because you don't know what you like, and what you don't, and what you will tolerate, and what you won't, until you live it. You can't be trained here, effectively, you have to discover this. So the goal, for both sexes, should be rapid failure.

Because every relationship until the last, hopefully, will fail. Your goal should be to get as much self discovery out of each relationship as you can, and if it's not right, move on. As a side benefit, not dragging a bad relationship out means easier, less damaging breakups, and less overall dysfunction.

Soon, you get a pretty good idea of what you want, what you have to offer, and how rarely that combination is met. And now it's time to optimize. You know what you want, and what you bring to the table. From here on out, you should be working on you, to make sure that when you find the right her, you can keep her, and ensure that she is the one who feels lucky. When both parties feel lucky, you have done this right.

As a side note, I think internet dating is an influencing factor in why we have seen so much progress in the LBGQT community in the last 2 decades. It allows the majority to continue with their preferred techniques, without the folks on the fringes impinging their options.

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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by enigmaT120 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:42 pm

What Riggerjack posted reminded me of a Towns van Zandt song's lyrics:

"You're the only one I want, and I've never heard your name.
Let's hope we meet some day, if we don't, it's all the same.
And I'll meet the ones between us, and be thinking about you,
And all the places I have been, and why you were not there."

Sometimes I think it's a really sad bit, other times I guess it's hopeful.

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BRUTE
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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by BRUTE » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:34 pm

brute agrees that the dynamics of dating has changed, but also the value proposition. there seems to be very little upside to having a relationship today.

sex? almost certain to be less exciting and more rare than with constant flings.
financial stability? apart from maybe sharing rent, no benefits here. significant financial risk introduced through a relationship.
social status? there's no shame in being single in old age any more. in fact, it's almost a sign of virtue, at least for human males.
kids? sure, that one. then again, even humans in relationships seem to fuck this one up pretty badly, so maybe humans should just stop having kids altogether.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:06 pm

@ brute.

All true. None of those are good reasons to be in a long term relationship. For me, it's the partnership. Life is easier as part of a team than on my own. And of course, that is entirely dependant on how good a teammate you have, and are.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by Riggerjack » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:10 pm

kids? sure, that one. then again, even humans in relationships seem to fuck this one up pretty badly, so maybe humans should just stop having kids altogether.
My understanding is that it takes a village. So I support a model where the number of villagers vastly outnumber the number of kids. Seems simple enough.

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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by thrifty++ » Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:59 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:58 am
Why do you think being perpetually single is un-ERE? I think this forum probably has a greater proportion of single people than the general population.
I guess in terms of having economies of scale to share expenses and grow wealth with a greater pool of capital. Also to be focused on nesting and minimizing expenses at home. Rather than being out and about at bars and restaurants like I seem to be as a single person lately.

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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by thrifty++ » Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:04 am

Scott 2 wrote:
Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:54 am
Agree, noting that each individual will apply their own personal weighting to each variable.
Yep totally. I think there is objective weighting and subjective weighting. Objective being what most in society values and subjective being each persons own particular preferences.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 9:07 am

Riggerjack wrote:This same principal of adaptation was the standard for relationships, as well. It is still being taught as relationship skills. But the game has changed. Now, with all the options open, and less permanent social circles, selection is more important than adaptability. By that I mean the initial costs of making contact are so low, dick pix are used as introduction, at the wholesale level.

With the low cost of entry, the efficient method is to date, a lot. Because you don't know what you like, and what you don't, and what you will tolerate, and what you won't, until you live it. You can't be trained here, effectively, you have to discover this. So the goal, for both sexes, should be rapid failure.

I don't think "wholesale" is the correct term to describe the market on which dick pix are offered as introduction. Some term that would convey a combination of the markets on which Jehovah's Witness pamphlets, dog slobber and stolen goods are offered would be more apt.

I agree that the internet has had a profound effect on the dating/mating market, and the fact that this change is coming very soon after our culture has not yet quite adapted to other changes such as advanced methods for birth control, and something approaching economic parity for women, leading to changes in acceptance of sex outside of marriage, divorce, or choosing to remain single but not celibate, has piled complexity on top of complexity.

In "Passionate Marriage", Schnarch makes the simultaneously obvious and subtle point that modern marriage is inclusive of the reality that very low 3rd party penalty is applied to divorce. So, in any negotiation between marital partners, if one party does not accept the reality of this option, that party will ultimately lose every negotiation. I would suggest that internet dating, especially given it's huge overlap with social media in general, has similarly altered the "rules of the game." Many of my peers (old Gen-X/young Boomer) who have not been single since the advent of this technology don't understand how different the field has become, and is still becoming, as the technology continuously changes.

As you noted, the barrier to entry is low, which means that the barrier to re-entry, and the barrier to ever having to completely leave the open market or make a "final selection" is also low. As an example, if my BF had spent two years in Korea in the 1950's and entered into a temporary relationship with a young woman in the region, after the end of this tour of duty, the two of them would have likely gone on with their lives and never heard from each other again. In 2017, my BF is still Facebook friends with the mother of the young woman, as well as the young women herself, with whom he formed a temporary relationship while on contract in the Middle East 5 years ago, while he was still married (although pretty much just on de facto practical level) to another woman in the U.S! He also maintains a practical, social relationship with his ex-wife, mother of his son, to the extent that he might give her money not required by divorce settlement to fix her roof, and he does holiday visits to build train under tree with son, and takes both of them out to dinner on regular basis, etc.

Now, it's not that I don't have the "power" necessary to put the old-school K-bosh on such goings-on, or to demand monogamous sexual fidelity from him, as well as practical/social/romantic/domestic/companionate/FITB. I don't put the K-bosh on him, because I want to retain the freedom that modern technology and mores also offers me to form and maintain multiple relationships involving varying realms of engagement and level of commitment to contract.

Anyways, I just wanted to make the point that it is possible to have a very companionate relationship without taking on a monogamous life-partner. The low transition costs of the modern system, as well as making it possible to quickly shop for one person who best approximates ideal in most realms, also makes it possible to attain/retain multiple relationships with a number of individuals who best approximate ideal, each in different realm. IOW, your cuddle-buddy, red hawt lover, co-parent, equity partner, housemate, best friend, and subject of romantic infatuation can all be different people.

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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by enigmaT120 » Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:05 pm

What does this mean? " ...modern marriage is inclusive of the reality that very low 3rd party penalty is applied to divorce."

JamesR
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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by JamesR » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:27 pm

I'm surprised no one mentioned that this is a well known math problem :P
The math problem is known by a lot of names – “the secretary problem,” “the fussy suitor problem,” “the sultan’s dowry problem” and “the optimal stopping problem.” Its answer is attributed to a handful of mathematicians but was popularized in 1960, when math enthusiast Martin Gardner wrote about it in Scientific American.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... g-to-math/

Toska2
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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by Toska2 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:16 pm

https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/dating_pools.png

Considering the amount of poor (in a variety of meanings) people marrying, I see it as "equivalent values".

To lightly borrow from the Fourth Turning, our affluence allows us to artificially choosier (I root for this sports team) as other people have pointed out. I say affluence also allows a very good life being single. Maslow's hierarchy of needs fulfilled adequately.

Someone (JP?) posted an article about marriage and what we expect out of our partners has changed.

" So argues Eli Finkel, a professor of social psychology at Northwestern University in his new book, The All-or-Nothing Marriage.
As Finkel explains, it’s no longer enough for a modern marriage to simply provide a second pair of strong hands to help tend the homestead, or even just a nice-enough person who happens to be from the same neighborhood. Instead, people are increasingly seeking self-actualization within their marriages, expecting their partner to be all things to them. "

i.e. people being picker because of the narrowing hierarchy of needs

Thus as someone who has climbed a bit solo is also looking for someone on the same mountain, figuratively speaking, is making it hard on themselves and others. The rewards are that much greater though.

One of my ideas is to move to where I am more normal. Where I am now, I am in the top 10% for wealth and fitness.

Edit: Ego posted this in Marriage Trends thread.
Last edited by Toska2 on Wed Dec 27, 2017 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by CS » Sat Dec 23, 2017 1:34 pm

It is hard to find equivalent values, this is true. Dating also takes a lot of social energy. Since pairing up is no longer needed to survive, I find it gets pushed off until other goals are met (and pushed off, and pushed off...). Without the strong hormonal monkey on my back of youth, it is easy to simply forgettaboutit.

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daylen
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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by daylen » Sat Dec 23, 2017 2:41 pm

Through the self-actualization process some humans eventually start to connect with a hierarchy of groups. The desire to focus on only a single relationship diminishes. This doesn't mean it can't have value from a subjective standpoint.

Personally, I am okay with being forever "single" because I don't actually feel singular, but instead I feel as if I am part of society.

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7Wannabe5
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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 4:55 pm

enigmaT120 wrote:What does this mean? " ...modern marriage is inclusive of the reality that very low 3rd party penalty is applied to divorce."
The state and society do not penalize individuals very harshly for divorce. I think self-filing my divorce in a no-fault state after our youngest child turned 19 probably cost approximately $241. When people say that divorce is expensive, what they should usually really be saying is that a bad marriage is expensive, but sometimes you don't know just how expensive until you get the final bill. Otherwise, the main expense of divorce is simply equal to once again assuming the separate expenses of two single people, combined with maybe a bit of a leaning curve on how best to do that these-a-days-at-this-age. As far as social costs, among my peer group, one divorce would still generally be regarded as more "normal" than "never married."

In relationship therapy, one thing that becomes clear is that some spouses are very over-fearful of rocking the boat to the extent that their partner might threaten to walk or file, so they allow themselves to become so miserable in the relationship they are very frequently stuck in a "should I stay or should I go?" rut themselves. IOW, too much "fixing", compromise and accommodation can sometimes render a marriage more rather than less fragile. Threatening divorce is toxic, but challenging your spouse on conflicts up to the point that you fear he might walk or push-back in some hurtful manner is often re-invigorating.

@JamesR:

In the age of internet dating, part of the problem with applying any sort of optimal stopping mechanism is that the size of your pool becomes rather immense. Also, studies show that dating is one of the realms where people are least likely to stick to their objective value criteria shopping list. Also, if you date enough certain somewhat disturbing patterns will emerge. For instance, virtually every man I have met for coffee who was 10 or more years older than me has declared himself to be a rather serious suitor almost immediately. So, if I ever decide that I want to get married again, all I have to do is go fishing for a few months max in the still rather well-stocked pool of Baby Boomer men. I suppose if I developed a decided preference for men my own age or younger, I might have to make more of an effort, but that's not likely. Of course, given the current age of my potential serious suitor pool, my number one filter would be something like Likelihood I Will Be Called Upon to Provide Extended Nursing Care, which is not all that easy to calculate.
CS wrote:It is hard to find equivalent values, this is true. Dating also takes a lot of social energy. Since pairing up is no longer needed to survive, I find it gets pushed off until other goals are met (and pushed off, and pushed off...). Without the strong hormonal monkey on my back of youth, it is easy to simply forgettaboutit.
From my perspective, this is true for both men and women as they age, but more true for women. According to census, there are more single women in my age range than single men, but I don't see them. My advice to straight male friends would be to not wait until you are over 50 to make your optimum pick, unless you are truly confirmed bachelor or Harrison Ford, or willing to wait until age when a lot of recent widows become readily available on the market.

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Re: Mathematics of dating

Post by thrifty++ » Sat Dec 23, 2017 5:41 pm

As I have been thinking about this issue I have realised I have developed some bad habits.

I typically have gone for men who provide less "value" overall. Due to I think insecurity. I focus on wealth and status as number one and other things are often lower down the scale, looks etc. There is an immediate short term benefit of this situation in that I think you tend to get treated very well if you see someone who brings less to the table, you might even say "worshipped" - narcissitic I know. However longer term I find that the relationship does not progress as I am embarassed to be with them and the relationship doesnt progress to a social level.

This has created flow on effects, When I have dated men who are more "equivalent" and more suitable and sustaining I become very insecure and stressed, because they wont display similar eagerness and I wont be lavished with affection and attention that I am used to. Then I develop bad behaviours which stuff the chance of a relationship.

So unless I want to be perpetually single, which I dont, it seems there are 3 options:

- find a way to address my insecurity somehow
- Expect less when dating equivalents and stop being so lazy, be more giving and generous
- Be satisfied with someone less equivalent and get over being embarrassed about what other people think.

Has anyone else had these sorts of experiences before?

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