Do our standards with partners change as our dating pool increases and decreases?
Have you ever said "I would never date that person", only to end up dating them later?
Why did you change your mind?
Some of the reasons I hear are things like "After getting to know them I liked them" or "My first impression wasn't fair, so I changed my mind". And sometimes I think those reasons are true. I also think there may be another factor at work here. The theory that with abundance comes selectivity. With dearth of options comes acceptance.
Starting from the bottom let's imagine a single female who hasn't been dating. She just isn't being asked out by anyone. It is easy to then imagine if anyone asks her out, she would accept. Why not? It isn't like there are other options available on her date card. She might as well go do something, right?
Now let's imagine the same woman being asked out infrequently. Maybe once a month she is asked on a date. Assuming a quiet social life she would probably accept the requests and go on the dates. But with a busy social calendar she might be a bit more selective.
And finally, imagine the same woman being asked out regularly, say once a week more or less. Regardless of her social calendar it is easy to think she will probably start being a bit more selective. Are the dates attractive? Is there long-term potential? Are they sexually attractive, financially and emotionally stable?
I believe that as our dating pool increases, so do our standards. By the same token as our dating pool decreases, so will our standards. The two are directly proportionate.
Now is this a bad thing? Generally I don't believe so. Accepting the available date, without respect for quality or fit, allows people to maintain an active social life and keep their dating or social skills up to date. Where I do believe it becomes a problem though is when lowering expectations to maintain a social life is done without consideration of the reasons for dating in the first place. In other words, if you lower your standards to maintain a social life but still expect to find that *perfect partner*, you may be leading yourself into dangerous territory. After all, you are dating people that may not meet your usual standards. Could this explain some of the frustration people have with the quality of those they are dating?
Chasing this a bit further, it would be easy to see how one could be dating someone they wouldn't normally date, only to become frustrated when they turn out to have different standards or beliefs.
Where this theory seems to fall apart a bit is when applied to the poly community. At least, in my experience, plentiful dating options seem for some to actually decrease their standards. People who previously led monogamous lives and had specific standards like lifestyle, income, or education, suddenly begin accepting any offer of a date. I haven't quite figured that one out yet.
Don't get me wrong here, I actually think it is a good idea to challenge your self-imposed guidelines once in a while. You never know when you might click with someone on a level you never thought possible. My suggestion is simply this; if you have modified your standards in any way, be consciously aware of doing so. It may help you avoid some heartache, and headaches.
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