My live-in mother recently started Internet dating, which has been quite an experience for both of us. Whereas many adult children are uncomfortable with their older parents dating and actively discourage finding a new partner to replace a deceased or divorced spouse,1 I actually encouraged her to get back out there again.
Entries in dating (91)
Imagine that a guy and a girl are at a party, and one approaches the other and strikes up a conversation. Chances are that when you envisioned this scenario, you assumed it was the guy who approached the girl. That’s because we have what psychologists call behavioral scripts, or a sequence of events that we typically expect to occur in social situations. In most cultures, expectations or norms about male and female dating behaviors (e.g., guy approaches girl) are so entrenched that there are special days or dances where the script is flipped. On Sadie Hawkins Day (traditionally observed in early November) or at a Sadie Hawkins Dance, women have the opportunity to break social conventions by asking men out on a date or to a dance. To study dating behaviors like this, researchers have used the somewhat unique experience of speed dating.
My friend Hope came over the other day seeking relationship advice. Hope’s mother set her up with a man from her work (so Hope was skeptical), but he called and they spoke on the phone for well over two hours. Not a bad start, so Hope agreed to meet him for drinks. When he walked into the bar, her jaw dropped. He was Gorgeous (yes, with a capital G). Not just the run of the mill, attractive-enough kind of man, but George Clooney caliber. Way to go, Mom!
They spoke for several hours and had a few too many cocktails. Both said that they had a great time and wanted to get together again. After giving the server his credit card, Hope used the restroom. When she returned, her date then left to do the same. She waited at the table for him to return. The server brought back his credit card for his signature. She continued to wait. And wait. And wait. After about 15 minutes, Hope called his cell phone to see if he was ok. No answer.
What happens when you treat your relationship like a game? And what do relationship researchers think about the "gamification" of relationships? Head on over to TheAtlantic.com to find out.
Recently, I wrote that dreaming about close people in your life can reveal aspects of your personality (specifically, attachment style). Highly insecure folks often have terrible dreams about their partners, because they expect their partners to behave badly and those expectations surface in dream content. But do people’s dreams predict their behavior after waking up? I’ll cut to the chase—the answer is yes.
I was recently talking to a (male) friend from college, reminiscing about how all the guys in the dorms wanted to learn how to play guitar because we thought that it would increase our odds of landing a lady. Is it really true that women find guitar players attractive? Two recent studies have attempted to answer this question.
The first study, conducted in France, enlisted a young male research assistant who was highly attractive.1 He was not aware of the study’s hypotheses. His task was to systematically approach 300 similarly-aged women who were walking alone across a particular walkway and passing him (that is, he was told not to select only women he was attracted to). When a woman walked by, he asked for her phone number, saying that he would like to call her later so that they could go out and get a drink together.
I've been in a relationship for over 5 years. We are both still young and plan to get married eventually in the future. I was wondering if there are any down sides in having long-term relationships. I feel very secure and confident in our relationship, but just as I've heard that short relationships (or courtships) can be a bad thing, I'm wondering if it works the same for long lasting relationships? -- V.N.
Ladies, would a guy’s car influence whether you give him your number? In a recent study, male confederates (guys in cahoots with the researchers) approached over 500 young women who were walking in a city. To test whether a males’ car affected women’s likelihood of sharing their digits, the male confederates waited in one of three cars (high, medium, or low value) before getting out and approaching the women. Men with a high status car were more likely to get a number (23.3%) than men with middle (12.8%) or low status cars (7.8%). Apparently women use the car that a guy drives as a clue to his income, his status, and to whether he is worth dating.
Guéguen, N., & Lamy, L. (2012). Men’s social status and attractiveness: Women’s receptivity to men’s date requests. Swiss Journal of Psychology/Schweizerische Zeitschrift Für Psychologie/Revue Suisse De Psychologie, 71(3), 157-160. doi:10.1024/1421-0185/a000083
In a study of 70 undergraduates, researchers tested whether attractiveness and mating strategy (short vs. long term) influence receptivity to pick-up lines. Replicating previous research, women preferred men who took the innocuous “Do you have the time?” route, or those who used direct pick-up lines – e.g., “…I’d like to meet you. What’s your name?” Cute or flippant lines -- “Can I get a picture of you so I can show Santa what I want for Christmas?” -- continued to strike out. But women preferred attractive men for short-term relationships, regardless of the type of pick-up line he used. For long-term relationships, women preferred men who used direct or innocuous lines. Even though flippant lines made men seem outgoing and humorous, they also made them seem less trustworthy and less intelligent. Men who used direct lines were seen as the most trustworthy and intelligent.
Senko, C., & Fyffe, V. (2010). An evolutionary perspective on effective vs. ineffective pick-up lines. Journal of Social Psychology, 150(6), 648-667. doi:10.1080/00224540903365539
Master manipulators know that the way to get people to part with their money is to create an illusion of scarcity. In other words, if you want people clamoring for whatever it is you’re selling, tell people they can’t have it (“Act now! Quantities are limited!”). Next thing you know, they’ll be lining up to pay you even more than you were originally asking! So does the same thing work when it comes to finding a date? Can you enhance your desirability by making yourself less available? A new set of studies suggests that you can.
Whether you like it or not, Facebook has become a central part of young people’s lives: about 75% of adolescents and young adults (aged 12-24) in the United States are active users of Facebook.1 As an important part of their day-to-day social interactions, Facebook reflects and plays a critical role in the development of young people’s romantic relationships. The importance of Facebook is illustrated by a recent paper published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships,2 which employed in-depth interviews and focus groups with 55 college students to gather their thoughts about Facebook’s role in relationship development. College students are typically heavy users of Facebook; this sample of students reported spending, on average, nearly 2.5 hours actively using Facebook each day (which is similar to the frequency reported in other studies).3
Based on these interviews, the researchers identified three themes that are relevant at different points of relationship development:
I just read about DateSim.netTM, a service that is co-founded by Dr. Jennifer Harman that uses dating simulations to give objective feedback on dating skills. I think it sounds like a great idea, but the $500 fee is outside of my budget.
How about reviewing existing profiles on a dating website and giving suggestions? I've been on the same dating site for 4 years and have only been contacted 3 times - twice by obvious scammers and once by someone whose picture alone scared me to death, not to mention his inability to write a complete sentence. I remain on that website because it's free. (I know, I know.)
Maybe I should mention I'm 55 yrs old, divorced 12 years after a 24 yr marriage, and have yet to have a first date. I'm not a ravishing beauty but I don't scare dogs or small children. I'm 5' 6" 140 lbs, so I'm not bigger than most women my age. I'm self-sufficient and own my own home. It seems that the men in my age group, 50-65, are looking for young sexy starlets. Does a woman my age have any chance at all of having a date?
Great question. The way we present ourselves on the dating market, particularly on-line dating services like Match.com and Plenty of Fish, is tricky business. These on-line sites are not technically matchmaking services...they are essentially tools that you can use to market yourself to show how desirable you are.
In a previous post, I critiqued the recently-released report of the “Singles in America” survey. The report is the third annual attempt of Match.com to perpetuate the myth that what single people care about, more than anything else, is becoming unsingle. The company pretends to don the mantle of science, and gets lots of media attention, so it is important to take the report apart claim by claim, rather than just dismissing it out of hand.
The Huffington Post took the press release from Match.com and turned it into a slide show with the title, 10 things you didn’t know about single people. The 10 things included such topics as sexting, sex, more sex, snooping in a partner’s Facebook or email account, hiding things online, dating, and more dating.
Real single people live bigger, more interesting, and more meaningful lives than those very circumscribed topics would suggest. So here, in tribute to the real lives of single people, are 10 meaningful things you might want to know about them.
It is customary to do something special with your partner on Valentine’s Day to celebrate your relationship. Have you planned what you are going to do? You can go with the standard commercialized gifts like chocolates, lingerie, or overpriced roses. Or, perhaps you plan on simply spending some time with each other. If you go that route, rather than the trite dinner and a movie, you may want to consider doing something together that will actually make you and your relationship better.
I once had a (very brave) student ask me if I was familiar with the old saying about teachers. You know the one, it goes a little something like…Those who can’t do, teach. I begrudgingly admitted having heard the saying. Before I could even begin mounting a defense or rebuttal, she continued on with her playful, but oddly poignant, musing: “And Dr. Leder, you teach about relationships. What does that say about you?” Ouch. I put on a brave face and bantered back about how it made me the master of her classroom destiny for that semester. However, her off-hand teasing really got me thinking. Upon reflection, I realized that her jesting about my relationship prowess was surprisingly insightful.
A friend recently passed along the following and termed it the first date riddle:
“A woman is attending her mother’s funeral and sees a man in the back of the church that she wishes to talk to. He leaves before she gets a chance to speak with him. The next day she kills her sister. Why does she kill her sister?”
The answer to this riddle is that she kills her sister so she can see the man in the back of the church again (she assumes if he attended her mother’s funeral, he would also attend her sister’s). A pretty dark answer, right? The assumption is that the person who answers this riddle correctly is more likely to be a psychopath (empirical evidence not available). Given this possibility, you can ask this riddle on a first date to identify potential psychopath romantic partners before you make the mistake of scheduling a second date.