The Dating Vector: People Are The New Vanishing Point

Andreas Joachim Lins

“So, I’ve been dealing with a breadcrumber for a year. The usual: endless phone and video chats, stalking each other on social. Then there’s talk of a date-that never happens! Then he reappears with the random “like” on IG, “hey, WYD?” Whatsapp message, giving me false hope that maybe he’s not an asshole and IS going to make date plans. He reads my messages, but no reply. EVER.” Monica*, 22, European Blogger.

Thought breadcrumbing was just happening to millennials or just Americans? Not according to my latest research! It’s happening for Millennials and GenXers across the globe to both men and women. Many are experiencing it, but don’t know there is a term for it. Regardless of the term, the experience alone should trigger red flags.

Here’s the backstory: Kelly met Jake a year ago, right after he left the mother of his children. Red flag #1. They were on and off, for about 3 months and then he hooked up with his former baby momma and she got pregnant, again. Red flag #2. Fast forward to now, he has been living with the baby momma and two kids, but has reached out to Kelly to rekindle things. Red flag #3. All the while, Kelly is breadcrumbing LaMar who seems like the ideal guy for her. “Kelly openly told me she should try to build something with me instead of going with this guy, but for some reason she is still pressed on the guy.” LaMar, 29, American Programmer.

Supposedly LaMar is a “great role model, a fantastic supporter, a great friend, a great lover, and a great husband”. Yet, she has been balancing both men on and off for about a year now. Red flag #4.

Par for the course in your 20s, it is what social scientists call your “defining decade”. It is the time in life that you establish your career, love life, and your philosophy about the world. In your 40s, you’ve modified some of the ways you dealt with those definitions based on life’s challenges. You are better at calculating risk and measuring volatility when it comes to your sense of sanity. Long gone are the days of spending years in unfulfilling jobs or relationships. Or is it?

Deb Davis, 48, an American Healthcare Professional, explains “I connected with this man who I had known met for “coffee” and spent 5 1/2 hours in a coffee shop. I had a message everyday first thing in the morning. The chemistry was something I had not experienced since I had fallen in love for the first time with my daughter’s father. And then nothing!”

We are just looking to connect with one person that isn’t about games. Does breadcrumbing shaming have any impact on your future dating? Not according to Davis, “He told me my first breadcrumber did what he did “because he didn’t care”! Well, WTF a man who wooed me, showed me love, and said “I love you” and then never responded to me again! I think it’s safe to say he did that because “he didn’t care”.”

“For the last 7 years, these 2 guys that I briefly dated (at separate times) have always stayed in touch— they will like some posts on FB or send me messages for valentines’ day, my bday, or xmas. Whatever they say to you, I think they just like to have their ego stroked by having me respond, even if it’s just a polite response. I’’m not mad at either one, so I have not told them to lose my number, but it is very clear to me what they are doing: bread crumbing.” Melissa, 42, American Lawyer.

For many, people hold onto the hope of people not being the assholes they really are. How does breadcrumbing make you feel?

“I’m not so much hurt by it, but 1) I’m curious and wondering if he’s okay (I always viewed him as a friend) and 2) there’s a tiny part of me that assumes he found someone just a little skinnier, just a little prettier. That nagging low self-esteem creeps into the back of my subconscious as much as I try to push it away.” explains Hayley Nesbitt, 26, Canadian author of relationship blog 50 Shades of Tinder.

We’re connecting, not committing. We are only broadcasting the positive aspects of our lives on social media-the highlight reels. If we only broadcast the “look at me”, are we able to deal with the side of rejection, detachment, and non-commitment? In life, you don’t always only get highlight reels. Who is by your side when the non-highlight reel moments occur in life? The drama queen? Baby daddy? 4th dude on tindr? The truth is that breadcrumbers don’t really want to be in a relationship. The idea of one is different than having to really function in one.

In reality, all of these dating trends adds another dimension to an already fractured relationship. “It was a tumultuous relationship to begin with, I just ignored the red flags. There will always be a shadow.” says Phillip, 32, IT Executive.

What should we do to cope?

“I hold out no hope that anything will ever be re-kindled with either one of these guys. If their messages bothered me, I would honestly just delete them from FB or block their numbers. That is the advice I would give to anyone that is upset by this tactic.” Melissa, 42, American Lawyer.

Approaching dating as though it is testing out what I call, Your Happiness Hypothesis, your personal algorithm that can help minimize some of our own expectations. Create an equation or a list that includes the elements that you absolutely require and the elements that you think you want. Focus just on characteristics, qualities and life desires. You might find that dating based on a system testing out your happiness hypothesis, will help you figure out what is a better fit for yourself and not have to rely on someone else’s BS.

Breadcrumbs=carbs! It’s McDonald’s! Run, don’t, walk.

“No-one who loves you would do this to you. Therein lies the only solace you’re going to get: Why would you want to be in a relationship with someone who knowingly causes you this much pain or disrespect?” says David, 44, Finance Executive. 

 

The Millennial Virus

Most of the articles and research on millennials is targeted on marketing to them, how we could sell better to them, how we can better understand their preferences, or we characterize the hookup culture like it’s something new. We try to talk about their sexual patterns, how many, how often, variations of sexual practices, birth rates, and on and on. But, we never talk about what I call, The Millennial Virus (c), what they are at risk of. We never talk to them about the risk of getting an STI/D. Today, NYC announced increases in STDs among millennials. The hookup culture is nothing new-it was AIDS prior to this generation.
So, I conducted polls over quora, google + and reddit and 50% were aware of STI/D risk, but were unaware of the recent CDC report that states “ages 15-24 make up just over one quarter of the sexually active population, but account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year.”
Credit: Anqa
According to a study conducted by Downing-Matibag & Geisinger (2009), “nearly half of participants were unconcerned with contracting a sexually transmitted infection from penetrative intercourse during a hookup, and a majority were unconcerned about diseases in hookups that included fellatio or cunnilingus. Most students reported not considering or realizing their own health risks during hookups, particularly those that occurred within their own community such as with someone else on their own college campus”. Another study by Paik (2010), reported “individuals involved in hookups are more likely to have concurrent sexual partners”. Which only compounds disease risk by increasing the spread of infection.
We like to blame Tinder, Bumble, and other dating apps for this behavior, but when I asked where people are hooking up; the top places were:
1. Tinder
2. College dorms
3. Instagram
4. Facebook
5. Bars
6. Clubs
7. Cars
8. Frat parties
When you ask why don’t people prefer to use a condom? The answer is obvious: “we don’t like the desensitizing feeling condoms have.” You know what is more desensitizing? An STD.

Top 5 ironic reasons you aren’t finding the right one

Summer’s here so people try to blame the weather for not wanting to commit (aka the break-up season). The summer isn’t the reason you can’t find the right type. The reason is simple: it’s the irony we create about love and relationships. Here are 5 examples of what holds some people back and how to change it:

  1. Some people allow one past relationship to disallow their future relationships and happiness. Re-read that statement. Does it sound like it makes sense? Doesn’t it sound paradoxical? Aren’t you looking for happiness? Aren’t you seeking out that one right person? By allowing one person to determine your future is delaying your happiness. Isn’t that counter-productive to your goal? The next time you find yourself thinking about the negative aspects of your past relationships, meditate on this mantra: Chalk it up to your ex’s inability to handle your greatness 🙂
  2. Your heart will keep seeking love, but your brain will identify patterns and stop you from seeking love. Harmonize the two by creating a list of the patterns you see. Sometimes you will find that these patterns reveal what you think you need and not what you want. Pay attention only to the aspects that you need. That part is responding to your nature and character. What you think you want is responding to your past experiences.

    Teddy Kelley photo
    Credit: Teddy Kelley
  3. You realize you took for granted someone that is gone and that becomes the very thing you want. Here the solution is simple: you’re just a dumbass. Each person we encounter makes us either realize something about ourselves or inspires us to be better people because of the nature of how they make us feel about ourselves. If you encounter someone that makes you a better person and you didn’t recognize that, ummm what’s my blog called? 🙂 Don’t fret. What is designed for you doesn’t disappear. Keep track of what you wish you still had and seek it out in someone else.
  4. You’re seeking happiness, but wind up settling. Deep down inside, when you’re settling, you know it. Sometimes people convince themselves that it is ok; other times they realize that they want more, but don’t think they can get it. In either case, why live only partially happy?
  5. The very type you don’t initially find attractive is the one you wind up with. Several studies show that when you ask successfully married people where physical attraction ranks in the scale of their relationship, initial looks ranks really low. Don’t believe me? Check out eHarmony’s take: http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating/little-physical-attraction-deal-breaker/#.V2sAaOsrIlg  Moral of the story: Stop treating people like they are your social networking streams. Focusing on the shiniest object. If you are checking them out based on their looks, chances are so are another 100 other people.

Want love? Stop doing dumb shit that gets you no one.

“I want tall, dark, and handsome.” So do plenty of other people. “I want barbie who can cook and clean.” Take a #. The problem with approaching online dating this way is that we’re treating profiles like we do our online social networking streams. The shiniest object is what we stop at. We should be efficient and select what we find attractive, but not where it discounts good candidates. Perception is an illusion. You know why? Because #1 person we lie to is ourselves.

We’re living in a self-absorbedie culture. Attraction is the first cut for dating. Are we trying to stand out? Yes. Do we have to go to extremes to stand out?

Let’s find out:

How many selfies do you take? How many final photos are filtered? A study found that women spend 753 hours on taking selfies and that includes filtering photos. Are these the photos that make it to an online dating profile? Yes. What’s the #1 complaint of online dating that I hear? That people don’t look like their pics! For men, posting selfies has been linked to having narcissistic traits. Not rocket science. It was also linked to self-objectification. Should men pose with tigers? WTF? [Not even lying! Check it out: TNDRGWTPhoto and article courtesy of Diamond Coleman at BuzzFeed] Is that upping sexy? Are men discounting other qualities like their accomplishments, drive, honesty, so that they could beat the guy above or below them?

Here’s what you can do:

Use an accurate photo. Men: No one wants to think they are meeting with a Brad Pitt look-a-like to find Mr Magoo showing up. Women: Most of the time we look better in real life. If the wrinkles bother you that bad, Botox not airbrush.

Online dating shouldn’t be a competition with the person above or below you. You’re looking for a specific set of qualities that compliment you. So is the person above or below you. At the end, you will get what you want and so will they.

Stop being a persona. Be you. Not the guy/girl you think women/men want to respond to. Women get too many messages from “undesirable guys” while men send hundreds of messages in order to get a response. One of the draws to online dating is efficiency. Filtering through hundreds of profiles from people who don’t fit your search criteria and spamming everyone is not efficient.

 

5 things you can do right now to change your online dating experience

1. Don’t force fit someone into your life because you are experiencing online dating fatigue. The process of several serial dates with people that you lack chemistry with or experience rejection from people that you think are potential candidates can be very frustrating and result in online dating fatigue. Where you just want to quit for awhile till you regroup. It’s totally understandable. Take a break, if you feel you need it. But, don’t let the fatigue inform who you choose.

2. Meet in real life. The point of online dating is to date, not to have a epenpal. If you haven’t gone on a date after a lengthy back and forth, cut it off. Two things are happening to you while you epenpal: 1) you are creating a false reality about who is behind the device and 2) you are delaying your own happiness by dealing with someone that isn’t on the same page.

3Screenshot 2014-11-06 at 1.56.54 PM. Diversify your dating approach. Don’t just rely on online dating as the only method of meeting someone. That will create online dating fatigue quickly. Include in your strategy both online and offline because love is a complicated process and has no formula. We can’t create the when and where. We just have to be there.

4. Approach online dating like it’s a social experiment. It really IS. Treat dating like you are collecting data on what you want and don’t want. See what combinations of qualities and characteristics better complement you. Approaching dating as though it is testing out our happiness hypothesis or algorithm can help minimize some of our own expectations. Create an equation (just like the dating sites) that includes the elements that you absolutely require (fixed variable) and the elements that you think you want (random variable). Focus just on characteristics, qualities and life desires.

5. This is the grand daddy of them all! Ready? Men, listen to me: don’t lie about your height. Women hate when you lie about inches 🙂 The reality is that men over 6’0″ in US society is about 15%. Seems like 100% online 🙂

Want to improve your OKC profile? Christian Rudder tells us how.

I recently had the honor of being a panelist with Christian Rudder, OkCupid‘s co-founder, on HuffPost Live about his new book Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking). On http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/christian-rudder-okcupid-cofounder-dataclysm/53da6a2002a760346200058e  , I had a chance to ask Christian the burning question we all want to know: what are some of the reasons that people represent themselves as what they want you to see rather than the real person that will emerge in a relationship?

Christian attributes that to be something that is part of real life and human nature. He also added that the advantages of OKC is that people can meet each other in real life and determine chemistry quickly. I was hoping that he was going to provide stats about the discrepancy and maybe discuss some of the ways their algorithm may refine the process. Darn 🙁 Screenshot 2014-09-12 at 2.46.55 PM

Other highlights from the interview:

*Women search for men closer to their age, while men regardless of their age still seek 22 year olds. Christian attributes that to men still not growing up and that models in magazines are that age. Check out Dr Drew’s take: http://www.hlntv.com/video/2014/09/11/ok-cupid-online-dating-age-women-men-attraction

*50 year old men don’t usually contact 20 year old women for the realities of a higher rejection rate.

*The hot or not feature is not designed to have everyone flocking to the most popular person on the site, it’s designed to give everyone a chance to pair off with what they find most attractive.

*OKC does not manipulate factual data such as age, sexual orientation, they alter minor details like size of photo to help users have better compatibility results based on their desired characteristics.

Check out the full video for more behind the scenes insights on OKC and let me know what you think.  http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/christian-rudder-okcupid-cofounder-dataclysm/53da6a2002a760346200058e  

Is there a science to love?

HPLSJCS_62414I recently had the honor of participating on HuffPost Live’s segment “How We Can Understand Love Through Science” with Dr. Sue Johnson. Dr. Johnson’s book, Love Sense, is a result of her groundbreaking research on our emotional bonds and attachment styles. Love Sense “presents new scientific evidence that tells us that humans are meant to mate for life. Dr. Johnson explains that romantic love is an attachment bond, just like that between mother and child, and shows us how to develop our “love sense”–our ability to develop long-lasting relationships. Love is not the least bit illogical or random, but actually an ordered and wise recipe for survival.” -Little, Brown and Company

Dr. Johnson says that she wrote this book as both a guide and a warning. Tune in to hear about her views on sex, dating, love, and the impact social media plays on our relationships. http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/third-metric-thrive-on-live-love-sense-dr-sue-johnson/5363f31f02a7604eae00045c She’s concerned about our relationships in the age of technology because “it is making people lonelier and more isolated”. I asked her what her thoughts were on online dating and why single women are having difficulty finding sincere men. I see it as a function of online dating. We treat online dating like we do our social media streams and select only the images that stand out to us. Is it related to a faulty attachment style? Tune in to hear Dr. Johnson’s take.

What do you think? Are we selecting people based on superficial qualities and discounting other factors? Do you think online dating makes it easier to run game? What frustrates you the most about online dating?

 

Top 3 things to help get over an ex.

Dealing with a break-up, separation or divorce is often difficult. Here are a few things that can help you cope with the break-up, separation or divorce.

1. Try to refrain from highlighting negative things about your ex. Simply because it disrespects you. Afterall, you were in the relationship with the person. When you re-tell events or character flaws, the person listening will wonder why you were in the relationship to begin with. Utilize your discussions to be about rebuilding yourself and not diminishing the other person because that doesn’t improve your sense of self. It may feel good in the short-term, but not long-term.

breakup 2. Cultivate a network of support that has diverse perspectives. That way you will have different outlets to express the range of your emotions.  Especially when dealing with divorce where you can experience anger, resentment, and loss all in the same breath.

3. Forgive yourself. The only thing you did was try to show someone love and cultivate a life for you both. Allow yourself to feel the pain and unburden yourself of what was your former life. All you did was demonstrate that you have the capacity to love and build a life for yourself. You can do it again.

Thanks to a great relationship wellness panel discussion by The Law Firm of Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, P.C.

What they don’t tell you about online dating: the mathematics of love.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 relationships start online and predicted that 70% will use online dating services in the future. The current reality of online dating:

onldstingdodontexcel

 

Approaching dating as though it is testing out what I call, your happiness hypothesis, your own personalized algorithm that can help minimize some of your own expectations. Create an equation (just like the dating sites) that includes the elements that you absolutely require (fixed variable) and the elements that you think you want (random variable). Focus just on characteristics, qualities and life desires. For example: a friend of mine has the following requirements of the men she dates: ivy educated, graduate degree, professional, shared religion, family-oriented, certain age range, & certain height requirements. Physical appearance, sense of humor, adventurous, and work-life balance are not priorities for her. Identify the elements that you think you must have and those that you’d like to have.  You might find that dating based on a system testing out your happiness hypothesis, will help you figure out what is a better fit for yourself.

 

Online Dating Rituals of the American Male

Bravo’s latest dating installment “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male” is a hilarious show. Ever wonder why so many of the “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male” guys are being dumbasses? Ever wonder why the girls seem desperate? Want to increase your craydar while online dating?

Just check out my twitter feed https://twitter.com/urjustadumbass from the first episode  for some of the comedy:Screenshot 2014-04-04 at 3.24.47 PM - Edited.png

Despite these characters, the show has a nice mix of professionals, entrepreneurs, and aspiring singles. It has featured these types with a bird’s eye view into what men are thinking as they go on dates and while they are on dates. Some of it is designed to shock you, most of it is built on some stereotype of what men are doing in the new online dating scene.  According to a recent article by Paul Hudson, http://elitedaily.com/life/9-ways-the-hook-up-culture-is-ruining-love-as-we-know-it/, the show really highlights how the hook-up culture is impacting the dating scene.

The show will have you wondering why guys like Alex, Grant or Brian get away with being dumbasses? Then you’ll have women like Alix, Mindy, or Candis that you really want to cheer on, but watch them fail miserably. If anything it will increase your craydar while online dating 🙂

Online Dating Rituals of the American Male airs Tuesday nights at 10pm EST on Bravo. Watch the show it is entertaining!