Forget Dating Down

Dating down is a crime and it’s time to put an end to it! You know if you are guilty of this. Perhaps you were licking some wounds from a love affair torn to pieces and you thought, perhaps if you date someone who is much less attractive, successful or interesting than you they will never leave you and break your heart.

And so, the very next time you are out and scouting the world for the next best thing to the person who just left you shattered, you make eye contact with someone you think will be nice. Someone who will be like a security blanket. Someone who will put up with you because you have so much going for you and clearly they have so little. Okay, maybe not all of these thoughts specifically come to mind, but selectivity can get thrown to the wayside in the light of acute loneliness or a broken heart – even moving to a new city can throw you off your stride.

And let’s face it, being single doesn’t suit that many people for any length of time. So maybe it’s okay to just “love the one you’re with,” even if you would never date them under normal circumstances. Except, um, here’s the big news… it never works! If you find yourself wincing when faced with the phrase “dating down” here’s some food for introspection as to why committing this darkest of dating crimes is a train to distasterville.

Hiding your dates
Are you hiding your love from your friends? Have you really not made the time to introduce them to your friends or are you hiding your latest dating adventure? If you find yourself purposely going to dinner far away from home or in completely “undiscovered” places, you might be shame-dating. You are enjoying someone’s company and attention and physical affection, but you are keeping them outside of your “real” social world.

You might rationalize that you don’t want the judgment of your friends clouding your own, but if you feel that insecure about your feelings for someone you are seeing, should you really be seeing them? If you want to test yourself, go ahead and introduce them to your friends. If your anxiety spikes when they start talking about the year they spent living in a tree to stop the logging industry or conversely, they name drop people and places that make you cringe, or you’re embarrassed about how they’re dressed or their misuse of the English language… you may not be going out with your “equal.”

Important similarities
The ugly truth is that couples who are of the same attractiveness fare better in the long run. Age, income, physical attributes, personality and perhaps most importantly – general energy level are all a part of how we rate each other’s attractiveness. The Greeks believed there were rules to what we find beautiful and overall, again and again, it seems there are. Symmetry in the face is highly prized in both males and females. Additionally, certain proportions in the face are selected again and again as attractive. The nose is not longer than the distance between the eyes, for instance. And though no one would recommend whipping out a ruler during a coffee date, you know instantly if you feel attracted to someone. Not lying to yourself about your true reaction is important.

Sympathy dates
That’s not to say that unless someone is a true Adonis should you give them the time of day, but you don’t do anyone any favors by continuing to see them when you are not genuinely attracted to them. Think about the couples you know that have been together, happily together, for a long period of time. They usually are within range of each other’s attractiveness and are even attractive in the same way. So take this as a clue. Know yourself, and accept who you are. And accept when you just aren’t that into the person.

Don’t worry if you don’t do this, because they’re going to dump you. The worst thing you can do when you are out there looking for love is hold on to someone “until something better comes along.” And isn’t that what you are doing if you continue seeing someone you don’t really feel that spark with?

And if you think you are fooling them, you aren’t. Unless you are dating someone in a coma, they are going to put the pieces together. And when they dump you for not dumping them, you’re going to realize that if you’re dating down, you’ve just put yourself at the bottom of the barrel.

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