Saturday, October 29, 2016

Dating Done Right: Making Dating a Rational Enterprise

A week or so ago, after having a brief exchange with a potential date, I posted the following on Facebook:
"Me: Want to go a date?
Girl: Yes! I would love to.
Me: Is this going to progress into a relationship?
Girl: I don't know.
Me: Offer withdrawn, thanks for your time."
After putting that out as a way to vent, I wished that Facebook had a way of preventing people from commenting because I got at least 30 comments (all of which I deleted) which either said what I did wasn't fair, or that it was unreasonable for me to expect a girl to know whether or not a relationship would occur before a date took place. I was not in the mood to argue with people then (very out of character for me), but said I would talk about the issue in blog form.

I am always a bit surprised when talking to my intellectual friends that they believe that dating is not a rational thing. It is not surprising that they believe this (people believe in the unproveable metaphysical idea of  "chemistry"), but that they believe this with no reason to believe it. I recently talked to my friend who is a professor of philosophy, saying that before a date you should know if there is a potential for a relationship before the date happens. She responded this puts too much pressure on the girl.

While I can understand how it may come across that way at first, the truth is if you know where you stand with someone before a date this actually relieves pressure. How so? Because you don't have to spend the entire date wondering if the other person is interested, you already know they are. You are then free to be yourself and if the other person and you like each other after that, things can progress nicely.

At issue here is the meta-philosophy of dating; meaning the purpose or aim of dating. From an LDS perspective, the aim is to find a spouse. While some people may believe that marriage is always happy and care free based on their married friends pictures on Facebook, any married person will tell you that marriage is not easy. It requires patience, compromise, deep thinking, commitment, and trust. Dating, which is the precursor to marriage, requires the same attributes.

So, if dating is the precursor to marriage, how can dating be made rational? Simple, use the principle of verification, which I have argued for here. In short, if you don't think there is a 70 or more percent chance (this is a very low percentage, a C-) that a relationship will come out of a particular date, decline it. I refuse to believe that you do not know if that is possible before a first date. You can tell whether you are attracted to the person, what you think of their personality, intelligence, and character before a date occurs. This may make dating a bit more difficult in the beginning, but since you will need the trait of patience for marriage, you might as well use it in dating.

Dating, like many things in life, requires luck. You have to find someone who wants what you want when you want it, not an easy task. But, being upfront places the relationship on the foundation of honesty, and if you are being honest with each other, you are off to a great start.

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