Dating: The Big Con

The Dating GameNo one thinks they are going to divorce, and usually literally hate, the person of their dreams.

But so many of us will.

We are a generation in love with getting what we want, when we want it. The idea of dating for years is fast becoming a myth of yesteryear. We have fallen in love with the idea of falling in love.

The entire process is broken and it starts with dating, the big con. If we are honest we know that all of us, and I include myself in this, lie like a used car salesman to our prospective partner. We pretend we have our act together, that our problems are minor; that we are sophisticated. What guy hasn’t pee’d on the rim of his girlfriend’s toilet so she won’t hear him splash. What girl hasn’t pretended she has it all together to keep the man of their dreams from knowing how crazy she really is?

Dating is all a big lie. If it isn’t a lie it surely is a misrepresentation of what we are in for if we buy the entire package. Almost without exception each of us is tempted to skew the truth, to reinvent ourselves as to be more palatable. It’s very important to understand that this person you are interested in isn’t really this person you are interested in. That man you are so intrigued with because he is such a good listener may not, in point of fact, be sensitive at all.

Every guy knows women fall for that sensitivity crap. You aren’t as mysterious as you think you are. I see you at a crowded bar and know that I want to impress you (why are you looking for a guy at a bar anyway?). Most guys will come on too strong but I’m the guy who loves to listen. I won’t even hit on you, you’ll know I’m different. You are looking for someone who is emotionally available so I ask you about yourself, your life, your dreams; because with me it’s all about you.

Yuck. But women in their thirties and forties eat that crap up. We know you’ve been burned. We know you are looking for a guy who is emotionally in tune, who is strong like a man but sensitive like the stereotypical gay man.

It’s all a game, but a game that can break your heart and steal your soul. It is incredibly important that single people realize that decisions made after a few weeks or months are extremely risky and the likelihood of finding your love of a lifetime in a few short weeks is next to impossible.

I will repeat this again so that there is no confusion. If you get into a serious relationship with someone after only a few dates or weeks you are almost guaranteed to have your heart broken because you really have no idea what you are getting involved with and the likelihood that this person is right for you is infinitesimally small.

It is no sin to want to impress the opposite sex but it may be one to make a lifelong commitment to someone you barely know and haven’t known through at least four seasons (a little nod to Dr. Laura Schlesinger there). I have an entire course on learning to speak so the other partner can hear. It takes a commitment to live sacrificially with another person, gay or straight, that is incredibly difficult and painful, no matter who you marry or shack up with.

Oh, and one other thing. Several times a month I am informed by someone who wants this oh so badly that there are exceptions to the rule. Yes there are, and chances are you aren’t one of them. I only say this from counseling thousands, actual thousands of people in relationships, so what do I know?

The stark reality is that you are signing up to live with someone for fifty years based on a few months of information. Any guy can pretend to be sensitive for a month or two. Any woman can pretend that she wants everything he wants, for a while. Living together in a lifelong commitment has very little in common with today’s dating rituals. Marriage/ living together takes place in what we call the real world – the world of diapers, arguments, problems and financial commitments, with two species who don’t have a clue what the other is thinking trying to make a life together.

Making it in this world is hard. Making it with another person is challenging and you deserve a chance at success and happiness, so don’t settle for Mr. Right Now instead of Mr. Right. You are incredibly special and need to be as picky as you can before you give away your heart and your future to someone who may trample your soul.

Take the time to find out about that other person. Don’t trust your heart – use your head. You’ll be glad you did.

And don’t get me started on cyber-dating!

16 thoughts on “Dating: The Big Con

  1. I clicked here, at random; I was actually looking for another blogger. An observation, if I might:
    Since I wasn’t looking for you and don’t know of you–and since I tend to view “bloggers” as the out-of-work philosophers of the day–I read your first few paragraphs with the interest of the locker room, because frankly, the first 3/5ths of your posting, reads like a low-rent Frank T.J. Mackey, e.g. “{women} eat up that crap”. I therefore was introduced to a conman and emotional shyster, a bar predator who feels no guilt, has no conscience, involves himself not at all with the hearts of others, read “female others”. And, by the time you turned into a smiling advert of “I Have A Course…!”, I wasn’t about to trust the physician, because as the line goes, “I know you’re a one-eyed jack, but I’ve seen the other side”…and fyi, in my neck, only the dirtiest scumsuckers, treat women as you say you do. If I therefore want advice on “How To Get Laid in 24 Hours”, I’ll be sure to look you up, again…but as a springboard for sharing a life with someone–and I’ve been married 13 years–you’re very much like the marriage counselor who has himself been married 4 times.
    With beer thrown in.

  2. All you’ve written sounds true, but you offer no real advice. I think deep down MOST people (sane, rational people, that is) know these things to be true. MOST relationships take time, effort, real work. They take compromise, communication, and understanding. And even after all of that, half of marriages still fail. The odds of 2nd and 3rd marriages lasting are even more slim. So what is the answer? No one gets married with the intention of getting a divorce. And sometimes, people just flip out for no apparent reason.

    1. great points and worthy of a whole book, not just a blog. thanks for the input.
      think you would agree that marriages that work are a hell of a lot of work, every day, by two stubborn people madly committed to persevere. let me think on this.

      1. Indeed, marriage always takes a ton of work. A lot of poo has been flung our way but we always work it out together and overcome it. Those trials make us stronger as a couple. To be honest, we balance each other. If I am agitated, he is mellow or vice versa. We keep each other in check,

      2. My friend’s husband says (with a wry chuckle) that the secret of a long lasting marriage is, “Don’t leave”.

  3. I meant to add in my thoughts on cyber dating. It isn’t all that bad. Honestly, I am thankful for it. My husband and I met on an online text-based RPG when we were 16. We kept communication going for three years (even after he joined the Army) and were finally able to meet in person. We got married later that year. That all was almost nine years ago and we are still going strong. If anything, that initial three years of long distance communication laid the foundation needed for us to get through countless TDYs and a deployment.

  4. Good points Scott. I wonder. When we’re pretending to our new dates, where do we get the instructions for how we should behave? This ‘better than I really am’ person must come from inside somewhere – such a shame we can’t keep being that person for good!

  5. Whew. Thank heavens my boyfriend actually is sensitive, and has been for over five years now. And smart, and supportive, and all that other stuff. Plus we never, ever argue about anything, really. So they ARE out there, even if few and far between.

    I agree that you do have to look carefully and use your head about choosing a mate, though. Learning about Meyers-Briggs personality types can really help, as there are some types that are better together than others. My boyfriend’s type is supposed to be the perfect one for mine, actually.

  6. Even if you date someone for a year, chances are it will still be a surprise once you marry them. Dating & engagement infatuation is a GIGANTIC cognitive distortion.

  7. I was going to say “NONO!! I’m the exception!!” as my late husband and I started dating, moved in together and were engaged within 3 months. Then I realized – we were friends with no intention of dating for almost a year before.that :p Good advice – all the other relationships i’ve had were miserable failures because we moved too fast.

  8. Maybe if more folks read this post there wouldn’t be so many marriages falling apart. Today’s society likes what they want right now and if it is broken they simply toss it out instead of fixing it. It is saddening to see.

  9. i dunno, scott, i actually would be interested in what you have to say about cyber-dating.

    i’d also be interested in hearing what you think about romantic love, because from this blog post it seems that you believe it has little place in dating (or at least, shouldn’t be any deciding factor). you’ve seen a lot of break ups and a lot of “crazy” people, a lot of lies and miscommunications. so you basically have a polling base. what percentage of people you’ve counseled have regretted falling in love? my wager…100%.

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