The paradox of choice
In The Paradox of Choice (2004), psychologist Barry Schwartz argued that the more choices we have, the more effort we put into our decisions and the more we expect to enjoy the benefits of those decisions. This, in turn, makes us more likely to be indecisive, anxious and dissatisfied.
With dating apps like Tinder and OkCupid, we gain access to thousands of card-carrying members of this city’s “single and ready to mingle” crowd – no wonder we’re overwhelmed by choice.
“People might not be sure on who to commit to, or they might think there’s always someone better out there,” says Alex Tam, founder of GaiGai, dating app Paktor’s matchmaking arm. He pointed out that it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re reluctant to get married – we do, but maybe just not now. Not before playing the field, that is.
In the current dating scene, many of us don’t delete our apps even after we’ve started seeing someone. And when we really like the person we’re currently seeing, we might still be talking to a few other people on the side. And we don’t see that as cheating – not unless we’ve had the “are we exclusive?” talk.
“As a dating coach, I see this almost every day. There is so much choice that people become disposable,” dating coach James Preece wrote in a Bustle column. He went on to elaborate on how this pickiness has made us less likely to work out small problems in new relationships, give people who aren’t our “ideal type” a chance, or go for a second date if we didn’t feel instant fireworks on the first.
His advice? “There’s nothing wrong with having standards – but don’t make them impossible… let go of the smaller things that don’t really matter in the long run.”