Dating: Outgrowing the Scarcity Mindset
I used to have a scarcity mindset around dating because I thought the odds were stacked against me.
If if you’re a quality person worried about finding a quality partner, the odds are actually in your favor.
At 19 years old, I lost a lot of sleep worrying over how I’d find and attract a quality woman into my life. I even created an elaborate statistical model to prove I couldn’t.
Fast forward 5 years to present day, and I’ve learned a lot more through experience. I dated a high-quality, attractive, intelligent woman for 2 years. I met her friends of the same ilk. And I’ve outgrown the old mental models which limited my potential and kept me in a mental space of scarcity and insecurity with women.
Let me take you through my old teenage thought process. It started with making a long list of traits I desire, physical and psychological. Here’s how it went:
Well, she’s got to be smart. That’s non-negotiable. Preferably very intelligent like me, let’s say in the top 10th percentile. I also want her to be hot. I guess like a 7 or above? Preferably above, but an intelligent 7 with a good personality is really like a 9 anyway. So let’s say 7+, or the top 30th percentile. I’d prefer she be on the taller side. I love tall women. Let’s say 5’6″. That’s the top 20th percentile. We’ve got to share values, too. I want to be with a Libertarian woman, which probably 5% actually are. Preferably dark hair, which thankfully 75% of women have. Above all else, she absolutely has to be self-aware, which if I’m generous, probably about 15% of people actually are. And to top it all off, only ~14% of the U.S. population is even in my dating range of 20-29.. And only 51% of people are women!
Let’s see my odds… 1 / (0.1 * 0.3 * 0.2 * 0.1 * 0.75 * 0.15 * 0.14 * 0.51) = 207,490
So I’m looking for a “one in two hundred thousand” kind of woman… Hmm.. How many dating age woman are in the United States?
Well the population of the U.S. is ~327,167,439, of whom 51% are women and only 14% are in my dating age range.
So there are 23,359,755 dating age women to choose from.. Divided by 207,490…
There are only 112.58 datable women in the United States. Fuck me to tears.
So basically 2 per state. And most of them are probably already taken, because they’re awesome.
Time to pack my bags and move to China. At least there are 477 women I could actually love there.
I stopped there, and concluded dating is hopeless – but again that was me at age 19. 24 year old me sees things differently.
By my first set of criteria, I was looking for 112 women out of 23,359,755. By definition, I had filtered my criteria down to the top 99.9996th percentile of compatibility for me.
That’s unrealistic and absurd. Why place such high standards for dating? Dating is not marriage.
Dating is high-fun, low-stress practice for marriage. Both parties can give and receive love/support, help point out each other’s blind spots, learn to resolve disputes, and foster mutual growth and self-actualization.
You don’t have to agree on everything to have a very successful, joyous, interesting relationship. The last woman I dated was actually a feminist who valued social justice. I vehemently oppose leftism in all forms, so that didn’t bode well with me. It turns out, people can value feminism and social justice and not be a toxic human being dominated by rigid ideology. I learned immensely from dating her. And she learned from me. Talking through our disagreements made us grow closer. Had I shut her out from the beginning because she didn’t match the full set of rigid criteria, I would’ve robbed both of us of 2 years of joy and love.
The best relationships are when two complete individuals voluntarily choose to take on the journey and challenges of life together, because they both see it as being in their own self-interest to do so.
And this is precisely why a statistical model for assessing the dating market is impractical and wrong. So long as you and your partner are finding value in your relationship, and you both equally deem it the best possible thing you could be doing with your time, pursue it. If it’s something that starts dragging one person down, or one or both parties are no longer enjoying the relationship, end it.
Viewing dating like it itself is marriage is a mistake. It’s not. And thank God for that. Young people are too stupid.
The point of having standards isn’t to “weed out the unworthy masses”. It’s to honor yourself, and stand firm in ownership of your own desire.
People who don’t meet your standards are not bad people. They just don’t meet your standards. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that. I have a 0-tolerance policy for manipulative people, people who routinely play the victim card, chronic complainers, and sociopaths. That’s a boundary, not a standard.
I have high standards for those who I’d consider to be friends. 100% of my friends are on the path to self-awareness and self-actualization, value freedom and personal responsibility, are intelligent, and are multiple flavors of virtuous. Someone who’s not currently operating within that trifecta isn’t immoral or bad. I just won’t generally choose to spend my time with them if I can help it.
The same applies for women / dating. I have no romantic interest in the overwhelming majority of women. It certainly doesn’t mean I’ll stop holding doors, being kind, or taking genuine interest in other women’s life experience and perspectives.
Quality people find standards attractive. It’s a signal of self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-love – all of which make for quality romantic partners. There is nothing wrong with standing firmly behind your values. You will only be respected, appreciated, and thought-sexily-of by quality people.
Here’s another thought:
Why worry about being attractive to women, when they’re just as worried and insecure about finding a quality man?
The last woman I dated introduced me to a couple of her friends, who shared something with me that blew my fucking mind. These are attractive, high-quality, high-intelligence, ambitious, virtuous, self-aware, empowered women. As they met me, grew to know, me and became friends with me, they actually thanked me for my existence and said that I “give them hope” that there are still quality men out there. I responded:
“Give you hope..? What do you mean? You guys are the unicorns. I know at least a dozen men like me and 0 women other than my girlfriend like you guys. There are scores more quality men than women out there. That’s why they’re called ‘unicorns’ – they don’t exist!”
“WHAAAT?! Shut the hell up! I know 20+ AMAZING women who are all starving to meet ONE quality man. Instead we see the same idiots and jerks over and over. There’s practically none of them. Where the hell are they? Because we don’t see them. There are FAR more beautiful women who are into self-actualization and cultivating good character and virtue than men. They don’t exist!”
Quality men and quality women have been tricked into believing their ideal partners don’t exist. The truth is that any quality man knows many quality men. Any quality woman knows many quality women.
These experiences have slowly but surely transformed the way I view dating. And while I’m still enjoying the privileges of being a single bachelor, the pressure is off of my shoulders to figure all this crap out. I used to needlessly worry over it. Just like some girl is needlessly worrying right now over how she can meet someone like me. It’s amusing and ironic.
Age and perspective weathers worry away.