Frank T Bird
When it Comes to Successful Dating, Transparency is the Law
Ok, so I’m not single. I’ve been with my ideal partner for several years now, but it didn’t come about by accident
Humans are judgemental creatures.
Perhaps that is the reason why we are also such underconfident creatures. All you have to do is peer into Hollywood to see god-like attractive humans changing their faces through plastic surgery because they don’t believe they are beautiful enough. If Hollywood demi-gods cant see themselves as worthy, what hope do us mere mortals have?
In the world of dating, this terrible lack of confidence can be problematic, not just during the dating stage but throughout the whole relationship.
Our lack of confidence as a species gives rise to what I call ‘Aspirational Dating Disorder’ or A.D.D. for short.
When somebody creates their dating profile, they want to come up with the most attractive version of themselves.
So, they might stick a photo in there that’s..well, say two years old. (Someone told me the limit is three years old.)
Then, even though they are a couch potato that likes to watch re-runs of Friends, they will write down their hobbies as kayaking, hiking, cooking. This isn’t straight-up lying, it is known as an aspirational dating profile. It is similar to my purchase of a suit two sizes too small for me last week because I know that I will lose that weight by the time my friend’s wedding comes around next month.
The dating version of this is that you aspire to be a better person, so you purchase a lie that you know you will be able to keep up with during your great transformation.
If participants wanted to present themselves as more attractive, for example, they would lie about how often they went to the gym. Or if their match appeared to be religious, they might lie about how often they read the Bible to make it seem as if they had similar interests — David Markowitz
Next, your aspirational dating profile makes for you an aspirational date.
You meet a guy or a girl who is into kayaking, hiking and cooking, and you are perhaps forced to cover up your intimate moments on the couch with Ross and Rachel. All is well. You can keep this lie up, and after all, they do say fake it till you make it.
So you keep faking it. The sex is incredible. You know you are falling in love with this person. They tell you they love you first and that they hope it’s not weird. You nearly pass out from sheer joy as you tell them you love them too. You kiss and make the greatest love that you have ever made.
You can't believe how perfect life is. You hike, you kayak, you eat cheese, you make love, sometimes all at the same time.
A few months later, the weekend rolls around, and your lover asks if you want to go hiking to a beautiful stream in the hills.
You want to say yes, but something has changed. You want to keep faking it till you have made it, but it starts to dawn on you that perhaps faking it isn’t going to lead to making it after all. Maybe the authentic character that you desperately tried to cover up has been sitting in the back of the coffee shop sipping a latte, waiting for you to show a sign of weakness. They see the chance, and they come. You hear yourself saying:
‘I’m not feeling too great. I’m just going to give it a miss.’
It’s another lie, but it’s the type of lie you only get one of. You know that the mirror has cracked and that next time, you are just not going to make the same effort to lie.
You start to become yourself again, and you clash with your aspirational partner because now, six months down the track, you realise how different you are.
You ask yourself, ‘Where did we go wrong? We were so good together in the beginning’.
You fail to realise that you were good together because one of you, if not both of you, has been faking it from the start and that your relationship will die as a result. If you are fortunate, the pain will be quick. One of you will point out the truth to the other, and that will be that. Otherwise, you will spend the next two years trying to break up before eventually enduring a truly macabre end. Sounds dismal? It is.
So how do we avoid A.D.D. from the beginning?
David Markowitz again:
Lying to appear like a good match or lying about your whereabouts can be completely rational behaviors. In fact, most people online expect it. There’s also a benefit to lying just a little bit: It can make us stand out in the dating pool, while making us feel we’ve stayed true to who we are.
Lying can open up your options but in the long term it spells disaster for relationship expectations. The solution is more straightforward but it takes courage and trust.
We adopt a policy of utter transparency from the beginning of the process.
We create a dating profile with an up to date picture and try to write as honestly about ourselves as possible. This is difficult for a lot of people to do because we suffer from so much self-loathing. We believe, deep down, that nobody wants us and hence, writing about ourselves, as we are, we believe, is guaranteed to fail.
But, what really happens when we create an honest dating profile is that we narrow our options to people looking specifically for someone like us. Will we get fewer dates? Perhaps. But doesn’t that mean we are wasting much less time than before?
An honest dating profile leads to a genuine date.
More than likely, if you have created a genuine profile and gone on a genuine date, you will end up with somebody on your level. Then you don’t have to worry that in six months when you can’t keep up the charade anymore, you will see each other’s true characters and fall apart.
If you have displayed your true character from the start, you will be your true character in six months, one year or ten years, and hopefully, so will they.