So, I read your Variety or Options IS a Good Thing. Awesome article but it does raise a question for me.
You made a very good point when you said that men and women both should date different people at the same time. Options.
Now, by doing so, do you think those relationships seldom consist of infidelity or end in divorce?
Do you think they are completely satisfied with the person they chose and don’t feel like they are missing out on anything?
When I was coming in to the dating world, there was no such thing as people dating multiple people at the same time. If you heard of it, he was a player or just a dick. Or she was a slut. Sad but true.
I really don’t know anyone that is in a relationship that played the field before getting into that relationship.
I agree with you.
I’m scratching my chin on this one…you got me thinking lol
Hey to you too and I believe a lot of people are scratching their heads on this one.
I decided to do a little research on this whole dating options, exploration, divorce statistics, and marriage to see what I can come up with for you. Thanks for all the work. 🙂
Keep in mind infidelity and having many sexual partners before marriage does seem to coincide or be more likely to happen so when I emphasize “dating” having sexual intercourse may not be included.
Just because I say “dating” does NOT mean “having sex”. Although I do find intimacy in its many forms including sex and masturbation or mutual masturbation is part of the healthy balance mentioned later in this article.
Let’s start with what I found… reason for divorce because I believe this is most important for determining or predicting success.
Researchers have identified the most common reasons people give for their divorces.
A recent national survey found that the most common reason given for divorce was “lack of commitment” (73% said this was a major reason). Other significant reasons included too much arguing (56%), infidelity (55%), marrying too young (46%), unrealistic expectations (45%), lack of equality in the relationship (44%), lack of preparation for marriage (41%), and abuse (29%).
How common is divorce and what are the reasons? (this is a .pdf file)
Those statistics help us figure what goes wrong in a marriage along with the average age of people getting married:
One of the major demographic and social changes of the last four decades has been the dramatic increase in the average age at which Americans first marry, from their early 20s in 1970 to their late 20s today. Delayed marriage in America has helped to bring the divorce rate down since 1980 and increased the economic fortunes of educated women, according to “Knot Yet:
Combine that with how many marriages and divorces there are (united states only):
MARRIAGES: 6.8 per 1000 in 2012 as compared to 8.2 per 1000 in the year 2000
DIVORCES: 3.4 per 1000 in 2012 as compared to 4.0 per 1000 in the year 2000
The results are interesting but they are just statistics and without any real information on social and economic dynamics it’s hard to separate what is actually happening or why it is happening.
For example, a study showed the people who had many sexual partners BEFORE they eventually got married were actually less satisfied with their marriage. Perhaps suggesting how wrong it is BUT on the other hand may point out that those involved were more aware of a bad marriage AND because they may in fact be less prepared to settle down.
“For example, people who tend to avoid commitment in general may have more sexual partners and be less happy when they settle down. It’s not the fact that they have more sexual partners that leads them to be less happy, it’s the fact that they don’t really like commitment. I would be very surprised if having multiple sexual partners before marriage, independent of any other factor, has a direct causal influence.”
It’s clear we can NOT separate the facts on this one easily and that will lead to a lot of opposite opinions which become more culturally biased over time.
My beliefs is to only look at the reasons for divorce and work our way backwards.
73% “lack of commitment”.
This tells me we often commit for the wrong reasons or at the wrong time. Commitment requires a solid foundation to build off.
“It’s a lot easier to build a home on a ground which is stable.”
56% Too much arguing.
No real education on communication.
Let’s face it, we are not actually (mostly) taught on how to communicate effectively. We learn it from those around us and how they do it.
Arguing is probably going to happen but when it becomes consistent or the same argument over and over again then there’s no real communication or acceptance going on. Acceptance being a major piece of our self-esteem.
Primal drive to experience true desire or missing a balance which includes intimacy. All forms not just sexual desires.
You might also just lump this one in with everything else on this list because it’s not always the cause. Sometimes it the effect.
We cheat on our partners for many reasons and although this may cause a lot of divorces, I don’t think it can be included on whether or not it happened because too many other reasons lead infidelity which causes the break up.
46% Marrying too young.
This one is very important. Since we’re not taught early on how to communicate and we’re not really shown how to build our esteem we get married before we’re complete and capable of handling a marriage.
I feel those who progress quicker with establishing a healthy balance in their lives will do just fine getting married at an early age.
I also feel those who never or slowly progress or achieve a competent balance in their lives may never achieve it unless they date more before marriage.
In other words, finding yourself and personal balance BEFORE marriage may be more important or influential than being a “dater”. Although you still must date.
45% Unrealistic expectations.
Settling because of insecurity or a need to feel complete. If you expect someone else to complete you or make you happy when you’re not in fact happy alone is an unrealistic expectation.
Unrealistic expectation often begins with “future living”. There seems to be an instinctual link to starting a family after marriage or when we spend lots of time with someone we are in love with.
Those urges definitely impact our perspective.
For example, with only yourself to look out for you are less likely to consider the outcome. Just my feeling here.
We are more likely to consider the outcome when those we are in love with are impacted by our decisions.
Learning to be a “dater” might help us put a stable as we can future in place and therefore allow us to focus more on a present balance AFTER we are married and caring for a family.
“Building a fence to protect us is easier and more rewarding and can be done with more attention to detail IF our focus is not on WHY we are building that fence.”
If you’re putting up a barrier to protect your child while at the same time caring for that child, you’re more likely to make a mistake on one end or the other.
44% Lack of equality in the relationship.
This one is interested and I’m sure is affected by the culture we grew up in.
It also suggest that one partner may be more controlling than the other which again is often associated with our self-esteem and confidence.
Leading me back to finding a healthy balance before we even attempt to marry someone else.
If you’re being controlled by another and are not capable of projecting your beliefs strongly enough to affect change and comprise, then learning that skill before marriage becomes critical to a successful relationship.
41% Lack of preparation for marriage.
I find it highly unusual that this one was selected less than half of the time when IN FACT I believe it’s the MOST COMMON reason for a divorce.
Lack of preparation tells me everything which should have happened above didn’t.
We didn’t build a stronger personal self or created more security within ourselves before we got married.
“If you’re not happy (complete) with yourself or being alone then being with someone else will not complete you or make you happy.”
Preparing for marriage, in my eyes, means taking out as many variables as we can so we’re able to handle more which unpredictable problems that might come our way and so we can better focus on the relationship on hand.
Which includes but is not limited to once again, achieving a healthy productive balance BEFORE we commit to marriage and family.
From Maslow’s hierarchy of needs See chart on right for the order.
Looking around at my family and friends MOST of them went through a few divorces, hence a few marriages too, been cheated on, were cheaters themselves, were committed, had children but then quickly broke up and the list goes on.
Most of the old marriages I know function the best BUT they are also the third marriage. Each one went through several attempts before they got it right.
Of course studies have shown that second marriages and third marriages are more likely to fail but they don’t take into account the years between marriages and the fact that only a very small percentage of men and women actually do get married three times.
The divorce rate for a third marriage is 73%. When it comes to marriage, practice doesn’t make perfect. In fact, it only seems to make you worse. That’s why the divorce rate continues to get higher for each additional marriage. Nearly 3 out of every 4 adults who are on their third marriage end up divorced again.
The facts are only 3.1% of 115,797,000 men get married three times and 3.2% of 123,272,00 women get married three times. From Number, Timing, and Duration ofMarriages and Divorces: 2009 (.pdf file from US Census).
Also noted from the Us Census was:
Duration between first divorce and remarriage for those whose first marriages ended in divorce and who had remarried:
Men 3.8 years.
Women. 3.7 years.
Duration of second marriage for those whose second marriage ended in divorce:
Men 8.5 years
Women. 8.0 years.
Which only proves to me there was not enough time to work on that balance after going through a divorce which can be a traumatic event and set our balance back.
We have a small percentage of people getting married more than 2 times and the times between the marriage was incredibly short compared to the actual marriage itself.
Rebound marriages seems to be the most common and therefore are most likely to fail.
Only again proving to me, dating multiple guys or exploring our options or securing our present FIRST proves to establish better more happier marriages.
When two people complement each other and not complete each other it just works better.
When two more complete balanced people meet and eventually marry it stands to reason THAT relationship has a better chance of survival and maintain happiness.
Let me put all this together and finish it up.
Two fairly competent balanced people who are able to maintain or develop that balance while practicing “just dating” who eventually find each other and get married and stay married and have children… those children are more likely to learn those survival traits from their parents and are therefore ARE more likely ( and it has been proven ) to enter a healthier longer lasting marriage later in their life.
Dating many partners at once while maintaining a stable balanced lifestyle…
Exploring many options first to experience many types of people…
Enabling real choices and being allowed to compare compatibility without scrutinizing them…
Being or becoming highly selective but not critically judging those we might not match up with…
ALL allow us the time to find our inner balance and work on ourselves while at the same time learning how to communicate with a potential partner can and does lead to better marriages which prove to promote happiness or a more healthy state of being for us and those around us.
Yes, back to your question this DOES lead to better relationships, less infidelity, and a better satisfaction with their partners.
Think about this…
You’re given a choice between five Apples and you’re only allowed to eat one BUT you can take a bite out of each one.
What do you do?
IF you finally decide which Apple to fully eat and you do eat it entirely, yet you still do not feel satisfied, don’t you think or believe it’s not the Apples fault but in reality you were not sure in your decision in the first place therefore doubted your choice after.
You had the choices.
You had many selections.
The only thing which made you decide was probably the fact you felt you HAD to make a decision when nowhere in that statement did I say, you HAD to choose to eat it.
Satisfaction or happiness is and will always be contained within your inner self because you experience happiness as a feeling. When you are more than assured you’re making the right decision and making that decision makes you happy, then finally choosing that Apple will never (generally speaking) leave you disappointed.
When you’re feeling pressured or you feel you have to make a decision, I don’t think you’ll ever feel satisfied. You will always experience doubt.
I believe achieving that balance above (the best you can) and to continually date several people at once will not only alleviate the stress or thoughts that you must make a decision but will also make you feel more satisfied and happy in the choices you DO make.
*Highly recommended reading from one of my most favorite coaches:
When you’re looking for your “One”, it’s easy to get caught up focusing on one man. But that’s exactly what will keep you from finding the person who is truly right for you. Here’s why… and what to do about it. –