“He never texted me back.”
“We hooked up and the next time I saw him he completely ignored me.”
Unfortunately, the statements above are all too common of our dating culture today. An environment where prospects are quickly dismissed and someone better is only one swipe away. I’ve heard horror stories on both sides, and I am shocked at the poor behavior that suddenly has become the norm rather than the exception for so many singles out there.
In a city like New York, where single, college educated women outnumber single college educated men by 39%, the dating economy breeds a hookup culture and a lower incentive for men to commit. The marriage rates for women is 13% in New York City versus 33% in a male abundant city like San Jose. According to the book Date Onomics, studies show that when there are more single women than men, women are valued more as sex objects, and when there are a surplus of men, women are valued as romantic love objects.
In New York, single, college educated women outnumber single college educated men by 39%. Unfortunately, that means in cities like New York, men can get away with behavior that just wouldn’t fly in male-rich cities like San Jose. Why? Because in San Jose, where there’s an over supply of men, and women are higher in demand, it’s less likely that a woman will give a second chance to douchebag behavior. But if you’re not planning on moving to the Silicon Valley or the suburbs anytime soon, what can one do to improve this seemingly dire dating culture? Both men and women, listen up.
To The Ladies…
Stop tolerating bad behavior. Just stop. Do it for yourself and do it for all the other women out there too. When you lower your standards and start letting people cross your boundaries, disrespect you, ignore you, treat you with inconsideration – only to reward that bad behavior by giving them more attention and sex, you train men that this behavior is okay. So they keep doing it. And then when they’re done doing that to you, they go on and do it to the next person. It’s like passing the douchebag baton and seriously, someone’s got to stop this relay.
Stop Pretending To Play It Cool
Sometimes people mean well, but, they may be used to being a certain way, or have no idea how their actions affect you. I’ve noticed many people try so hard to play it cool and end up doing themselves a disservice. They don’t want to show vulnerability or their true feelings because of ego, insecurity and a fear of rejection. With all this armor on, how the hell is someone supposed to know that by not calling you that they hurt you when you acted like you didn’t give a shit in the first place? There’s a difference between pretending to play it cool and actually being it. Faking it gets you nowhere. Sure, it may prolong the back and forth a little, but eventually, the jig’s up.
If someone behaves in a way that hurts your feelings or confuses you, communicate like an adult and tell them. Not in a blazing-bitch, entitled sort-of-way, but in a matter-of-fact way. There’s a big difference between stating your boundaries and chopping a guy’s balls off – the latter approach is ineffective. When you vocalize your needs in a clear manner, you’ll be surprised at how much respect you gain. And the ones who don’t like your honesty and confidence in stating your boundaries, they’ll quickly get filtered out. And that’s a good thing.
Stop Giving Up Your Power
When you don’t stand your ground, when you tolerate someone walking all over you, when you say yes when you mean no – you give up your power. When you accept less than what you deserve because you’re scared someone will reject you or not like you back, you hurt your self-esteem. That turns into one negative spiral into desperation – the lower your self-esteem, the more anxious and needy your energy becomes and the more you’ll tolerate ill treatment. That way of being is the least likely to lead you down the path to happily ever after.
Stop Casually Hooking Up If It Makes You Feel Badly After
Sorry to break it to you, Sex and the City LIED to you and an entire generation of women. Casual sex is great for some, but has major consequences for many. WHY? Because when we have sex, we release chemicals that cause us women to bond and attach. Keep having sex with someone casually, and you may find yourself developing feelings of attachment. And when the person doesn’t want to commit after you’ve developed all these feelings, it can feel shitty. I definitely fall into this category. If I have sex with someone, I will develop feelings for them. I cannot compartmentalize sport sex and love-making.
And if I have sex with someone and they are dismissive or ignore me after, my feelings will be hurt and my superwoman goddess power will suffer. That’s not fun. I’m not saying to stop having casual sex, I’m saying, check in with how you feel, understand the science behind it and make choices that have positive after effects.
To the Gents…
Can you hook up with a girl, and for the next week ignore her texts and then when you feel like hooking up again, call her at 1AM for ‘a drink”? Yes you can, and especially in a city like New York, you can get away with it. I’m not going to use karma hocus pocus as a reason why you should not act like a jerk. But I think most of us want to be decent human beings, and maybe all this left swiping has affected the part of our brains responsible for good manners.
Grow A Pair…
It’s not about the chick du jour, it’s about your character. You don’t owe anyone anything, but there’s a certain way of treating people that is humane, and for no other reason but because, that’s the right thing to do. This means ghosting, ignoring someone after you’ve been intimate with the person, not being upfront and honest, lying, cheating – these are all ways of behaving that lack respect and human compassion, and it’s mean. It hurts people.
Treat people like how you’d want a man to treat your mother, your sister, your best girlfriend…
Look, I’m not here to give a lesson on morality, but here’s the thing. Hurt people will hurt other people. There’s a ripple effect to our behavior. This goes for men and women – if you hurt someone’s heart and that wound isn’t healed, that person will inevitably hurt the other people that cross their path – it’s a dating domino affect. And guess what, we do not create a better world when people are guarded, jaded, angry and hating the opposite sex. Seriously, if you want to do good in this world, start by how you handle people’s hearts. Also, for more selfish reasons, you may want to consider your reputation.
If someone is interested in me, I always look at how they treated their past girlfriends and also how they treat people they are dating casually. Why? Because if someone is a dick to someone because they don’t have feelings for the person, it’s only a matter of time when their feelings can fluctuate for you, and it’s indicative of how they will treat you when that time comes. Again, it’s about values and character, not how the person feels at the time. Reputations do not lie.
Ending on a Positive Note
I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer about this whole dating thing. I love dating, and I think there’s an abundance of really amazing humans out there, and I feel fortunate that the majority of the people I meet are good human beings that are kind and loving. So to leave this piece on a high note, I want to share a story of a recent experience that really restored my faith in men.
I went on a date with someone a month ago, and it went really well. We had interesting conversation, we laughed a lot and there was chemistry and attraction. Due to our hectic travel schedules we didn’t see each other for a month. We finally met up last week and he surprised me with a matcha green tea set that he got for me during his trip to Japan (anyone who knows me knows I’m OBSESSED with matcha). We met up at a wine bar, talked for two hours and at the end, told me he had a “bomb to drop”.
He went on to tell me that when we had met, he had also met another girl around the same time and while it’s still new, he had decided to go exclusive with her just a few days prior. He said that he respected me, admired by values and integrity, and wanted to tell me in person. I was floored. He owed me nothing, we only had one date and he could have just texted me. But the fact that he took me out to tell me in person was pretty cool. He’s someone I definitely would love to have in my life as a friend. And because of such a positive interaction, he feels good, I feel good. We all win.
Acting with consideration and integrity is a practiced skill. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes. Being honest and kind is not always the easy route, and avoidance is definitely more convenient. But if we could all just inject a little more compassion in how we treat people, especially when it comes to matters of the heart, I guarantee you, you’ll feel better, and you’ll also likely attract healthier people and situations. It can be a win-win game for all, and it starts with you.