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Matchmakers

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Recently, I read an article about the secret talent of Ivanka Trump and her husband. They said they’re good at matchmaking, behind seven successful marriages. This mean she knows some key details about the people she set up, like for instance their hobbies, tastes,… I don’t see how she could set up people together without those details. It would be as if she wrote down each of the names of the single people she knows on a piece of paper, and then threw these papers in a bag and picked out two names  randomly.

Friends are better matchmakers than strangers. Because they know what their friends like and can pick someone with similar interests to set them up. It can happen, though, that the set up doesn’t work. Simply because the people don’t find each other attractive, or because their personality doesn’t match. You can have in common with people hobbies like going to museums, concert, painting,… But that doesn’t mean you could match.

Take for instance Tinder. This dating app collects all the likes you make on Facebook, as use this data to put it on your profile. When you look for a potential partner on this dating app, you can see the likes you have in common with the people you see on your smartphone.  I went to two dates with men who had at least 8 likes in common with me, and I was disappointed both time, because one of them had a problem with alcohol, while the other just simply didn’t call me or message me after the date anymore. I even saw once on Tinder a man who had 12 likes in common with me, but he didn’t swipe me right.

There’s another dating app called Once, that doesn’t work like Tinder. Instead of scrolling multiple pictures, you only get one profile per day. It’s up to you to start a conversation or not. Once uses human matchmakers who compare the profile of the users and decide to match the profiles they select. Those matchmakers try to have at least 50% of good results, which mean they try to have the people they select starting a conversation. Yet, it’s not perfect, because I had a lot of bad surprises with this app. And so far, I haven’t met anyone who met through Once.

Dating site like Match.com, Okcupid, also try to help you find the right partner, through the power of their algorithm, based on the list of our preferences. Yet, the rate of disappointing dates  is really high there too.

These dating app and online dating are made to make you come back, according to Tim Harford. 

So, what is the secret of Ivanka Trump?

 

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Married at first sight

Imagine if you get married to a guy you haven’t met and  who has 89% of compatibility with you according to the test you took on Okcupid or Elite Dating? That’s the pitch of a new TV show in my country, called Married at first sight. People choose to get married to a total stranger who has a high score of compatibility with them after taking a test.

For those who have tested OkCupid or Elite Dating, or any dating site where you have to fill a test to know your compatibility with a potential partner, it may rise eyebrows. Because it’s not because you have a high score of compatibility with someone that you may fall in love with him/her.

One explication is because you don’t really find a right answer to the questions asked in the test. Or if you hacked Okcupid like Chris McKinlay. People also lie on internet.

Another reason could be because you don’t find attractive in real life your compatible date.  It can happen. I’ve been disappointed a lot by my first encounters with the men I met through online dating. To be fair, once, I even turned back on my heels when I saw one of my date seating in the cafe where we agreed to meet.

It can also happen you feel no sparks when you meet your date for the first time. Women do use their smell cue to choose their partner. The guy in front of them can be handsome, but if they can’t smell him, they won’t go on a second date with him. One of my friends also told me she just felt cold with every guy she met online during their first date.

Besides, even if you do start a relationship with someone you met online and who has a high score of compatibility with you, it’s not guaranteed to last and to end up with wedding bells. There are many hurdles in a relationship.

So marrying someone you just met is not a really good idea.

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How do we become friends with benefits?

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A friend with benefits (FWB) is a friend of yours who ends up involved in sexual encounters with you, without much more commitment. A friend of mine used to have a FWB when she broke up with her ex after cancelling their engagement. She told me she needed to have a physical proximity with another man to help her cope with the pain of the breakup. One of her friends, who didn’t want any commitment, offered her to be a FWB. She told me they made an arrangement together, to remain friends even if the “relationship” turned sour, and to spend one night together at least per month. My friend was conscious she could want more from her FWB so she dated other men during the time she remained FWB with her friend. Eventually, one of her ex’s came back into her life and asked her to move with him. That’s how her relationship with her friends with benefits ended. Unfortunately, she didn’t remain friend with him.

Some people, though, start to be friends with benefits with people they just met, but it’s difficult to create a new arrangement with someone you barely know, because of the complicated nature of what you’re trying to create.

It’s easier to set the sexual connection with someone new, but friendship is more difficult, because a friend is someone you trust and who trusts you. That relationship develops over time, through shared history, experiences, thanks to compatibility or mutual interests.

One of my friends told me she met a guy in a club who asked her to be FWB. She didn’t know him before. “All he wanted was to fuck me” she said. “I don’t think he bothered to be friend with me. Besides, how can I trust someone like that?” she added. So she turned down the guy.

To put a label like FWB on any relationship put pressure on people, with a high probability of failure.

FWB between friends is even difficult, because one of the partner can have deeper feelings for the other. Some people accept to be FWB in the hope to have a commitment relationship but are too coward to tell the truth to their friend because they fear it would scare them off.

In that case, FWB can be deserving you, and make you feel belittle.

So, yes, FWB is a complicated arrangement between people.

 

 

 

 

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Those who don’t use Tinder &cie

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Not every single person is on Tinder or another dating app or a dating site. A friend of mine doesn’t use Tinder &cie, although she tried to use those, but got bored with it after just two days. “On these dating sites, the picture is the single element in consideration.  I have a hard time finding a guy attractive just by looking at his picture” she said. “Maybe because there are so many profiles and I don’t know who to choose” she added. My friend has never managed to go on a date with someone she met online.

To be fair, I find it very time consuming to use Tinder and chatting with my matches, especially since I have a high ratio of failures, and I feel bored easily with online conversation. So I can understand why my friend doesn’t like those dating apps.

Besides, if there are so many people using dating apps, 88% of the people in the United States who have been with the same partner for five years or less met their significant other offline. Among my married friends, most of them met their partner while they were in high school, college, or through their shared friends, or at work. Most of them spent a lot of time together before they started dating. When you spend a lot of time with someone, you begin to know him/her more intimately, to the point of creating an emotional bond.  High School, College, work, same group of friends, … allow people to spend a lot of time together without much effort. It’s not the same with online dating. Both partners have to want to spend a lot of time together.  And it’s difficult when you don’t belong from the same circle.

As I have experienced so far, none of the men I met through Tinder were willing to spend a lot of their time with me. Because they have their job, their hobbies, their friends, their kids,… So it’s difficult to know them more intimately and to create an emotional bond with them.

But some of my friends who met their significant other online have managed to spend a lot of time with their partner from the very beginning of their relationship. One of them even moved into her partner’s apartment just one month after meeting him.

Offline or online, the key to build a genuine relationship is the time spent with your partner. When you don’t feel the hours go by when you are with him/her, it’s the sign you’re into him/her.

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The biology of mate choice

In her book “Anatomy of love“, Dr. Helen Fisher defines four categories of personalities. The first is the explorer, a person born free, curious, creative, spontaneous, energetic, novelty seeking and open-minded. This kind of people will look for a partner who will either leap off the coach to go adventuring with them (in the deserts, mountains, seas or cities) or join them at the movies, ballet, theatre or opera, or explore nature or whatever captures their fancy at the moment. Explorers look for other explorers, writes Helen Fisher.

The second category is the builder, a person traditional, calm, cautious, who likes the familiar. That kind of people follows the rules, respects authority, enjoys plans, routines and schedules. They tend to be modest, orderly, and conscientious. Builders look for other builders.

But Helen Fisher says that men and women who are foremost expressive of the traits associated with testosterone and estrogen  can be attracted by their opposite. Men with expressive traits of testosterone have high forehead, heavy brow bridges, high cheekbones, and chiseled jaw. They are also gifted by spatial and math skills.  People with a great deal of estrogen activity tend to see the big picture, are imaginative, display superior verbal skills, excel at reading postures, gestures, facial expressions and tones of voice and are intuitive, sympathetic, nurturing, mentally flexible, agreeable, idealistic, altruistic and emotionally expressive.

The people with a great deal of testosterone activity are called directors.  They are inventive, openly competitive, bold and tough-minded. Helen Fisher writes that this kind of people are the most likely to harass their significant other after a break up.

The people with a great deal of estrogen are called negotiators,  savvy at dealing with people. They are drawn to directors, and idem mutatis mutandis. Helen Fisher says negotiators are the most likely to commit suicide of fall into depression when their significant other let them go.

Our chemical system plays a role in our choice of partners, according to her. For women, the smell of their potential partner is very important. That’s why most of them are at disadvantage with online dating, because they lack the smell cue. Sometimes, we can’t explain why we fall for a person. Psychologists would say we fall for the partner who reminds us of the parent we have the most difficult relationship with. The explanation is not always rational.

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Tinder surprise


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In her book, “Tinder Surprise”, Ana Ker challenged herself to meet 20 men in ten days. She used Tinder to reach her goal because today, unless you go to a single resorts where all of the people are looking for a hookup or for love, it’s almost impossible to get many dates in so little time.

She’s reluctant at the beginning to use that dating app. But Tinder helped her to have the number of dates she was looking for. And she didn’t hesitate to schedule two dates on the same day, one just after the other.

She didn’t spend time chatting with her Tinder matches during a long time before meeting them. Just a few exchanges, and then her matches and her agree to meet for a drink.

A drink is absolutely non committing, and it’s very convenient if you don’t like the person who’s in front of you at the bar. The choice of the bar also tells you if your Tinder guy is putting a lot of effort in your date or not. For instance, if he chooses a bar near his apartment/house, it’s a huge signal you don’t really matter to him. But as the philosopher Alain de Botton says, a date is like an audition. You have to seduce the person who is in front of you.

Ana Ker explained she met only two men who could be more than just one date. The other ones were either liar (about their age, the most common lie with dating apps/sites), socially awkward, or just didn’t make any effort.

People, especially men, as I experienced, think their future partner should embrace them as they are, without making any effort to seduce first. To seduce someone doesn’t mean you have to dress up, pay a lot of tips, invite your date to an expensive restaurant, list all of your achievements in life, or worse, make drink your date in the hope she/he will surrender easily. To seduce someone means to ask some personal questions to your potential dates and reveal some genuine aspects of your personality. A little investigation ahead of your date can help you.

But when you have plenty of dates ahead thanks to Tinder, you can easily forget about that. No wonder why Vanity Fair wrote Tinder is a dating apocalypse. Ana Ker seems to consider Tinder as a way to consume dates like you would consume any staple goods.

Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg insist it’s important to invest in your date (and not financially) instead of collecting dates in the hope to find someone better. Nobody’s perfect. To invest in your date means to prepare your date, and consider the person who’s in front of you at the bar.

Two of my friends met their significant other thanks to Tinder. Another one met her husband thanks to a dating site. We all know couples who met each other thanks to a dating app or a dating site.

I’ve had bad luck with Tinder so far, to be fair. But I learned my mistake.

 

 

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He likes wealthy women

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I dream about wealthy women. I would like to date one of them who will want to sustain me” said one of my friends. He said that while laughing, adding he will probably last three weeks in this kind of relationship. He’s not a boy toy.

I told him he will be crushed in this kind of relationship because even if he’s not poor, his wealthy girlfriend would probably think he’s lazy or doesn’t do anything good. One of my friends, who used to date a wealthy woman, told me she was very mean with him, always gunning down him in front of other people. Wealthy people are much more meticulous about matters of law and propriety than people who are not that rich. So they are very careful about their wealth. In general.  My friend who used to date one of them told me his ex used him to parade at gala, but he felt she didn’t love him for who he is.

Women marry ‘up’ in income according to Elizabeth McClintock, but they tend to marry high status men when they are themselves high status. I don’t think a high status woman would be kind to sustain a man unless that man used to be high status. And even that case is not obvious.  I can’t see Amal Clooney leaving George to start a relationship with a man who just wants to be sustained by her. Nor Hillary Clinton, nor Melissa Gates,…

I don’t think I would accept to sustain a man either, to be fair. I expect the men I date to be financially independent at least. The only men I would sustain if there was a problem would be my godsons.

But I can understand my friend about some comfort to be in a relationship where your date invite you at his/her second/third/fourth residence located in the Bahamas, Courchevel, … Although I would be proud to pay for my vacations there…

 

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