Who Gets to Decide Whom You Date?

An interesting and funny article in The Washington Post provides a little insight into how internet dating is similar to arranged marriage. Do you wait in life until you meet that special someone, a spark happens and you live happily ever after? Or do you think about who you are what whom you want to be with and then look for someone? The actor and director Ravi Patel went to India and with the help of his parents sought a bride. The insights are interesting.

Dating in the modern age: You carefully type up a profile, taking care to sound fun, awesome but also so busy enjoying yourself that you can barely find time to date. You list your wants and needs, post a flattering photo or five (one with a tiger from that time you went on safari), and you hope someone clicks.

Dating 150 years ago: Your parents penned your biography, taking care to make you sound highly fertile. They asserted their wants and needs, and in lieu of having your portrait taken for an exorbitant price, they paraded you around social functions, hoping someone would take you off their hands. But so we’re clear: They’d decide exactly which someone. Your request for a cute face wasn’t high on their list of priorities.

With his sister filming the adventure Ravi Patel’s search for a mate was turned into a documentary, Meet the Patels. In the USA dating and finding that person is largely based on love. But when you use online dating you are narrowing your search to people with whom you have things in common and likely improving your chances for a happy relationship in the end although not necessarily for a hot first date in the beginning. In the sense that you start with some planning and narrow your search online dating and arranged marriage are similar. Where they differ is in who gets to decide whom you date and whom you marry.

Making Your Own Decisions

Getting decent advice about whom to date, how to go about the process and whom to marry in the end is all OK. But letting someone else decide for you can be perilous. To the extent that you parents have your best interests in mind an arranged marriage could be a good thing. To the extent that a marriage is to cement a political or social alliance an arranged marriage may not work out for you. Our belief is that some of the same perils exist in getting advice from your friends or online via dating apps. A few months back we wrote about getting dating advice from the crowd.

When you have an issue with dating there are many people who will be glad to give you advice. But, you want good advice and not mixed dating advice from the crowd. You can talk to your best friend, your sister or our mother. Or you can ask advice from a total stranger. Getting advice from a lot of total strangers is what you are getting with dating advice from the crowd with Jyst. Cosmopolitan recently published 12 dating dos and don’ts about dating in New York. Perhaps the most important advice has to do with setting standards with which you are comfortable.

“Everyone says they have standards for how they want to be treated because it’s fashionable to say, but they only have standards with people they don’t give a shit about. When they like somebody, standards tend to go out the window. I’ve seen it done even with the strongest women. The thing that actually makes a guy settle down is when a woman comes along who has a different set of standards than the other women he’s met. Then she immediately becomes unique.”

Add to your list of standards that you will not let perfect strangers confuse you with conflicting bits of dating advice. There are various ways to arrive at a satisfactory solution to finding a friend, lover and mate for life. But who gets to decide whom you date and marry is important. It should be you!

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