If you are using dating apps to find that special someone, it may appear that you don’t need to worry about whether this is the right person or not. Apps like Bumble, Tinder, and Match seem to have this all figured out. You simply type in what you want and what you don’t want, add an Instagram-worthy photo.. and poof! Let the magic unfold.
But are match-making logarithms feasible? Can these apps really predict attraction? Being a relationship coach, I was curious – and this is what I found out.
Research has shown that combinations of traits and preferences concluded little predictability. For example, you may insert that you are a dog-loving, philosophical, introverted redhead, and then matched to another person who is fond of those traits. However, this provides little assurance that you two will be a ‘match made in heaven’. That match is about as predictable earthquakes.
Not sure if earthquakes are predictable? Here is an excerpt from the Geophysical Journal International on the level of prediction, “earthquakes are non-linear, chaotic, scale-invariant phenomena”. After doing this work for about 20 years, I can’t think of a more accurate description of relationships. Brilliant!
However, don’t despair. There is still hope.
There is still hope because we really have no idea what our level of attraction will be until we physically meet that person and spend time with that person. So now that you know that attraction is instead a messy complicated highly unpredictable non-scientific ‘throw the spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks’ mishmash, here is how to approach relationships…
Start with compassion and curiosity.
I don’t know about you – but I see this as exciting. For me, predictability is boring. I wouldn’t attend a live soccer match knowing which team is going to win…would you? Of course you wouldn’t!!
Research has demonstrated that it is not so much the combination of traits and preferences as it is learning to show up in a way that celebrates what good relationships really mean. It is the way you behave around each other and towards each other. It is the experiences that you share.
If any of you have been in a committed relationship for 10+ years you know that this is the absolute truth. When you first committed to this person it may have been the superficial attraction that drew you towards that person. They filled your ‘preference’ checkbox nicely. Pet-lover, active, spiritual, non-smoker, so on and so forth…but once the relationship evolves and life happens, you soon realize that it’s your experiences together that make a relationship worth staying in. The ways you behave around each other and towards each other – therefore it would make sense to not be so hyper-alert towards these preferences and traits of this specific individual in the beginning, but rather can this person actively participate in building a long-lasting relationship? The kind of relationship that communicates honestly about our needs AND strives to meet those needs, while celebrating each other’s successes. In other words, how are you nurturing the environment that supports a solid relationship?
When taking this perspective, you don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself to find the right partner, but instead simply BEING the right partner. You are in the driver’s seat. Life doesn’t just happen around you – as it may appear. It turns out you have much more control than you think you do. If you have worked with me in regard to your relationship, you know that I stress the idea that YOU need to do the inner work first. Clients that come to me with a laundry list of ‘why my partner is broken’ and ‘can you fix him/her’ often do not find fulfilment from the session. My job is to help you get a bird’s eye view of the situation and begin the problem-solving process by perhaps taking a different approach. If you are wondering what part of your self-talk is not aligned to your true self, look at what you don’t like about your current situation. This is where you need to re-evaluate the thoughts and ideas you are attending to and begin the work here.
“You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself to find the right partner, but instead simply BEING the right partner. You are in the driver’s seat.”
Michael Bublé said it perfectly
“You’ll make me work so we can work to work it out, and I promise you kid, that I’ll give so much more than I get”
In summary, if you haven’t yet found that special person in your life, I want you to know it is more than possible that you haven’t been the ‘special person’ that you need to be. I want you to feel less hopeless and helpless in the dating/commitment scene and more empowered.