“A Million First Dates”

01.13.2013, 4:08 PM

At the Atlantic, Dan Slater argues that especially for men the rise of online dating — “a million first dates” — is likely to undermine marriage and monogamy.  (Hat-tip Peter Hoh.)


8 Responses to ““A Million First Dates””

  1. La Lubu says:

    I read this article before it was posted here, and my impression was that the man described was immature and not ready for marriage. So, if online dating helps keep people who are immature and not ready for marriage from getting married—-isn’t this a good thing?

    I think its also important to point out that the man featured in the article kept looking online because the women he was involved with either dumped him or never developed a relationship with him—it isn’t that he’s being picky, but that he isn’t being picked. And he isn’t being picked because he’s “date material” but not “relationship material”.

  2. Diane M says:

    @LaLubu – “I think its also important to point out that the man featured in the article kept looking online because the women he was involved with either dumped him or never developed a relationship with him…”

    Yeah, I think he kind of missed that.

    But the point of the article was that he didn’t have to try to learn how to grow up and behave better so that he could keep a girlfriend.

    I agree with you, though, I’m not sure if we can really say online dating is changing people or that some people are immature to begin with.

  3. La Lubu says:

    But the point of the article was that he didn’t have to try to learn how to grow up and behave better so that he could keep a girlfriend.

    Right. But the only thing that is going to make him consider a change is if or when his status quo is no longer satisfying to him. It’s not online dating that is making it possible for him to postpone to growing up and behaving better. It’s that women have more choices and don’t have to stick around to make him grow up and behave better—which is what the women in the article were doing. That would happen regardless of whether online dating existed or not; it’s just that online dating ramps up the pace.

    “Jacob” is responsible for his own life and his own lack of maturity. At his age, it’s going to rapidly catch up with him—there is an extended timeframe for young men gaining adult maturity, but it isn’t indefinite. Meanwhile, tasking Some Woman, Somewhere with the job of making (cajoling, begging, nagging, pressuring, pleading, bargaining, etc.) Jacob get his act together isn’t something I would wish on even a person I didn’t like. Besides, that’s part of the problem—as long as people keep coddling Jacob and looking at his immaturity as something that will disappear once he finds a Good Woman (as opposed to something he should be generating himself—like “Rachel” managed to do despite being over a decade younger and without all of Jacob’s class advantages), Jacob can rest pat in the status quo.

    Or not; he’s seeing his friends less often because his friends are married, and their wives are getting pretty tired of Jacob (it’s phrased in the article as the wives getting tired of befriending each new girlfriend just to see her disappear into the ether, but come on. It isn’t the girlfriends they’re getting tired of). Those friends live in the age of online dating too.

  4. Diane M says:

    I don’t think the women being able to leave has anything to do with what’s going on here. I don’t think that’s an especially new phenomenon (they’re not married).

    What the guy says is that when the last girl left, he just figured he could find another one easily and quickly. He didn’t think he needed to try to change for her or even to win another girl. That is a problem, although I’m not sure it’s a widespread issue.

  5. La Lubu says:

    When I said “women being able to leave”, what I was referring to is that the pressure to marry young and/or marry the first man one has a real romantic relationship with is gone. Women can be choosy now in a way that my mother’s generation could not. There is social approval for moving on, away from an immature partner that didn’t exist in the past. Being a single adult woman is socially acceptable.

    Online dating isn’t why Jacob isn’t settling down. To be blunt about it, Jacob is dating out of his league—he wants a good-looking, educated, professional woman as a partner, but hasn’t been able to find any who are willing to either accept him as-is or take him on as a fixer-upper Life Project. That Jacob is now well into his thirties and hasn’t changed his priorities is a sign that he probably won’t. His friends are married. Jacob is not representative of men of his age group.

  6. marilynn says:

    My husband is on all those sites, not the nice sweet ones the dirty hard core ones.

    I know because I’m an amiture dectective and he hates that about me. I honed my sleuthing skills that reunite so many families having to prove he’s up to no good.

    Now its like no big deal to me I figure they all do it. It’s beyond me I don’t even bother to tell him what I know anymore. Like water off a ducks back they all cheat.

  7. ki sarita says:

    Having been single through my late thirties, let me tell yall that on line dating is no picnic. Myself and most of my friends rather disliked it. Irresistable is the last word I’d use to describe it.