Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in dating, relationships, success, and fulfillment, and explore the psychology of masculinity. Now here's your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.
David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I’m David Tian, your host, and it is my great pleasure and honor to introduce you to this new episode and this episode is all about beginning with the end in mind.
In this context, what I'm referring to is for all those guys who want to be in a committed relationship that's loving and passionate and intimate, to begin the dating process with that in mind is everything, because what you want is to be able to smoothly enter into the best relationship for you with the right woman for you.
In this episode, I’ll be getting into four big reasons why optimizing for casual dating success actually sabotages your relationship success, why optimizing for casual dating success actually sabotages your relationship success down the road. [01:11.3]
If you use as the main metric to decide on your dating strategy or how you're going to go about dating, and your main metric is whether you are getting the results in terms of casual dating, getting the number, getting a good date, getting a kiss, getting laid, all of that. These are casual dating success metrics.
If you're optimizing your dating strategy for casual dating success or even just in terms of just having fun and hooking up, and that being your main metrics for measuring whether you're succeeding in casual dating, all of that optimizing for any of those metrics will actually sabotage your success in your relationship, your long-term relationship, down the road. [02:00.0]
The reason many people fall into this trap of thinking that if they optimize for the short term, that will actually set them up for success in the long-term, is the very common myth of the “just settle down” myth, and that's where guys think that the plan is to just date a lot of women and then just pick one of them, pick the one they liked the most and settle down with her. But that's the “just settle down with the one you like the most” myth.
This is probably the most common approach to getting into a relationship for most guys and it's the wrong approach, and there's no mystery if you understand why this is a myth. There's no mystery why so many relationships are failing. It's because they’ve started off on the wrong footing. They didn't begin with the end in mind and they already are on the wrong path right from the beginning.
Okay, so why is the “just settle down” myth so bad? Why is optimizing for casual dating success actually going to sabotage your long-term relationship success? I've got four reasons and let's dive in into those now. [03:06.0]
The first reason is that playing the field, the “playing the field” approach, actually ends up conditioning the wrong character traits. It ends up reinforcing the wrong behavior patterns if what you want is actually a successful long-term relationship.
Why? Because if you are actually successful at playing the field, that generally means that you're playing the field. You've got lots of dating opportunities. You're going on lots of dates. You're attracting a lot of women, or your flirting or bantering, or putting yourself out there in such a way that a lot of women will respond positively and you will respond positively to them on dates, and you'll spend hours connecting with each other and then, of course, you can then physically escalate, if that's your thing. But you don't even need that to see why this is going to mess things up. [03:57.0]
Playing the field is actually going to condition character and persona, and patterns, behavioral patterns, patterns of words that you say, reinforcing the wrong patterns, because what you're doing in order to attract a large percentage of the women that you meet is actually going to be conditioning a certain type of character, and that character to be effective will be flirtatious regardless of what she is like.
Okay, to be successful playing in the field means that you're going to have lots of dates and lots of dating opportunities. It does not mean that you're going to be weeding out a lot of women quickly, because what you're going to optimize for a long-term relationship success, you're optimizing for one. You're literally optimizing for “the” one that will be the right person for you, and that means, if you're doing that well, you should be turning off all of the women that are not, that that are not right for you, that they're not going to be the right woman for you. [05:00.0]
Here's an analogy. Imagine you're a company that's hiring for one person. There's one job opening and there's just this one candidate that you're looking for to fill this one job opening. Okay, so maybe it's like, in this case, actually, you can think of it as the CEO of your company, the most important person other than you in the company, so this is a major, major hire.
Now, what you don't want to do is make the job description so broad and to make the position so appealing that you have thousands of candidates, because now you're going to have to spend a lot of extra time sifting through those thousand CVS and all of the hundreds of interviews as you narrow it down, and that's a lot of work and it's a lot of time, more importantly. It's also going to mean, if you have written that job description and presented the opening, the opportunity, and your company, in such a way that way too many unqualified people think they have a shot at this, then you have not done a good job in conveying the specific candidate you're looking for. [06:07.8]
It also probably we means you haven't thought through very well what the job actually entails and who exactly, the precise type of person who would be perfect for that job and you haven't articulated that well, because if you do that well, then it will match up with that person that it will resonate with that exact ideal candidate and—maybe “turn off” is too strong of a word, but—it will not appeal to all of the other candidates that you would end up wasting your time with.
Okay, so that's just sifting through that selection. That’s half of why playing the field is bad, but the other half is the conditioning and the reinforcing element. Let's go back to dating. In dating and flirting, for you to be good at it, so that you're able to attract lots of different types of women, and part of it is you have your mind open to lots of different ways and you're nonjudgmental of lots of different lifestyle choices and so on and different personality choices. [07:04.0]
Maybe one of the things that's really important for you in a long-term relationship is that she's loyal and that she is responsible, in addition to the obvious feminine energy that she's really physically attractive, obviously. When I talk about selection, most dudes just go straight to “I'm very picky,” and when I get to that, like, Picky in what way? it's always about some physical things. That's nothing, right? That's obvious. You should be as picky as you can be or want to be physically. That's just one of many criteria you should be looking at.
But I’ll give that to you. However picky you are on the physical, let's add into that all of the sexy energy that you prefer. For some guys who are more on the nerdy side, they generally like a more quirky girl, more of a manic fairy dream girl type of personality. Sure. I'll give that to you, whatever, right? Whatever your type is, her feminine energy, that physical attractiveness. But let's add in there that it would be good for you to find a partner who is loyal and responsible, and is mature enough to invest in her own growth. [08:09.7]
Okay, so you're going to meet lots of women who aren't those. You're going to meet lots of women if you're good at dating, you're good at flirting and good at attraction, that will be physically attractive enough and have that right kind of sexy energy, that playfulness and so forth, but maybe she tells you a story about how she cheated on her boyfriend or maybe she tells a story that conveys in some indirect way that she's not mature or responsible. Right, so these are make or breaks for you.
Now, you could, because you're playing the field or you want to maximize, part of the metric for deciding or figuring out whether you are playing the field successfully is how many girls have you hooked up with or how many opportunities have you had, so to figure that out, you've got to be tracking these metrics. Am I actually successful in playing the field? That would mean that if you are successful, you have lots of dates, you have lots of opportunities to hook up and so forth, right? And you've got to check whether you do or not, because you can't just say, Oh, she liked me, but we're like, What's the evidence, right? [09:11.3]
Playing the field means you're going to be conditioning your character in such a way that, regardless of whether she meets all of your standards, you're still going to flirt the heck out of that, right? You're going to be conditioning a character that is still going to be flirting and attracting, and spending hours on dates.
A typical data is three hours, let's say, so if you go on one date and hook up, that's already pretty good for playing the field. Some guys need three to five dates and I think that's the traditional pacing in the modern West, three to five days, and that'll be … what is that? Nine to 15 hours, one-on-one with this woman who doesn't meet your standards and you already know she doesn't meet your standards because you're hearing all of this stuff from her that maybe you're denying, you're suppressing, you're trying to just ignore that she isn't loyal or that she's not responsible, or that she doesn't have integrity. But, heck, she's hot, right? So, you're staying with that. [10:05.8]
The more you do that, the more you engage with that energy, the more you compromise your own standards just to close the deal, to play the field, the more that actually conditions your character in such a way that you end up becoming more like that and that it actually reinforces behavioral patterns that are going to make it hard for you to convey that you have the actual standards you really wish you had.
When you compromise your standards in order to have fun, play the field, optimize for casual dating success, which means more women that you hooked up with or more closes, or more confirmatory evidence that she likes you, but you have to go out and get, and more hours spent one-on-one with women that you know aren't relationship material for you. In the back of your mind, they aren't, but you're just going to stay on the date and try to hook up for casual dating success. [11:02.1]
The more that that happens, not just one time, I mean, if it's just a couple of weeks like that, okay, no big deal, but if you're doing that for months or if you're doing that for years, and you're still wondering, How come I can't find any good women anymore? that's because you have changed your character into the type of guy who plays the field, compromises his standards and so forth.
That's going to seep into your sub communications, the way that you react to things, so that the right woman when she sees that—the woman who begins with the end in mind, the right type of woman who's mature enough, but also sexy and physically attractive, granted all that other stuff, but we're looking at moral integrity and all of that now because that's much more rare than physical attractiveness and that's required for long-term relationship success—she's seeing that you're the type of person who will put up with these lowered standards.
What is she going to do? She's going to be staying away from you. I guess she is sussing out the candidates quickly. She is the big company with a very demanding role that they're trying to fill for that CEO role and they're not going to waste their time with someone who would be a good middle manager because they don't have that opening right now or this person is not looking for that right now, and you would be the middle manager. [12:15.6]
You're sort of like the company who's spending lots of time, courting middle managers, when what you say that you're really looking for is the CEO position and that's why you've never found that CEO position. The person who would be the prime candidate for that top job is turned off by the fact that you keep sleeping with or, staying with the corporate analogy, you keep courting and offering jobs, sending job offers for this position to those who are unqualified and that would really turn off the person who would be actually qualified.
Playing the field, in and of itself, over the long-term of weeks, months, or years, will end up creating the wrong character, the wrong behavior patterns, and wrong verbal patterns or the long language patterns. You end up getting used to flirting and engaging with women who are beneath your standard or who don't meet your standards, whatever your subjective standards are, especially if, in the example I'm using here, it’s moral integrity. [13:11.8]
That's the first thing, playing the field. That's the first point. Playing the field ends up conditioning and reinforcing the wrong type of character or the wrong type of patterns for long-term relationship success.
Another fallout of playing the field is the second point, which now I'm going to bring in, the peer-group effect and this is a scientific phenomenon. The best book on this so far that I’ve seen is called Connected by Nicholas Christakis. He's a senior professor in psychology at Yale and previously I think he was at Harvard, really top name, a top-level psychologist, Nicholas Christakis.
He has done a bunch of TED Talks on this very theme of the peer-group effect and this is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, psychological effect in the human personality that our peers rub off on us in our lives and we can trace their influence to the fourth degree. [14:07.3]
I’ve given a common example, obesity. Not just if your friend is obese, because if your friend is obese, the chances of you actually becoming obese are quite high, more than 50 percent. I can't remember the exact number now, but it might even be around 80 percent. But even more shockingly, your friend's friend's friend, to the fourth degree, the four friends out, somebody you don't even know, but your friend's friend's friend's friend, if that person is obese, your chances of being obese are higher than 10 percent. It just increased by 10 percent because of how strong the peer-group effect is and the downstream effects of it rubbing off on you. The same with smoking.
One that's probably the most tragic is the widowhood effect, that if your partner, your life partner, dies suddenly and you're widowed suddenly—so it wasn't like years of cancer, for instance, so you were prepared mentally for it, but they died suddenly, maybe in an accident—the chances of that widow dying in that first year is about 90 percent. [15:11.0]
If you have someone that you love and that person's partner dies that year suddenly, you really should watch out for that person, that widow, the newly-widowed person, because that first year is a really crucial period, if you want to keep helping them stay alive.
All right, so the widowhood effect has been shown even, again, to the fourth degree, so a friend of the widow, that friend’s friend—I was trying to say apostrophe s—the friend of the friend of the friend of the window, fourth degree out, also has increased now chance of dying, increased by 10 percent.
There's plenty of other evidence. You see this in many other areas of life. This is just known as the peer-group effect. You can go and look up that research by Christakis. He's the best. I've seen that as the best summary of the research, but there's many places where this research has been done. [16:02.6]
In the self-help world, you might have heard of this in terms of you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. There's another guy in kind of a more of a sleazy, toxic, narcissist approach to self-help. I can't remember his name right now. He's an older dude who came up with this phrase, “Show me your friends. I'll show you your future,” which is getting at the same point. I don't really like his approach, but that's true. “Show me your friends. I'll show you your future.” I mean, it's just a catchy slogan.
I'll put it differently for you as a catchy slogan to help you remember this point about the peer-group effect. “Show me your lovers. I'll show you your future.” Show me your lovers. I'll show you your future. Obviously, the lovers that you've had most recently, not the one that you broke up with five years ago, but the ones that you're spending the most time with, because if you've spent a lot of time courting this person, in other words, if you hooked up after 10 minutes at the club, there may be a minimal effect.
I mean, you probably compromise some of your character there just doing that. Okay, but it's minimum 10 minutes, okay, and then you just had sex and it didn't talk to her for the rest of your lives. Okay, fine. It was just a random hookup. All right, that has a minimal effect on your character because you would have had to be a certain character to be doing that in the first place. [17:10.3]
But if you went on dates with this person, this is what a lot of guys who are actually judgmental and they look down on bars and clubs as places of sin or evil or something, so they're like, That couldn't be me, but actually it is. They're still optimizing for casual dating success, even though they don't have much casual dating success, but they're still looking to see, Am I succeeding in dating? based on how many dates are they having, how many of those dates are converting into something physical, and those sort of casual dating success metrics, right? They're still doing it, even if on those metrics, they're failing.
What's happening is they think they're better off and that they're not changing their character, even though they want to go on every single Tinder match they get. They want to go on multiple one-on-one, multi-hour dates with this person that they don't even really know yet. [18:01.1]
Just by that, they're already compromising right there. Their standards are so low and then they're wondering why, first of all, they're not attractive to the other candidate, but they're also not getting the right type of person for a long-term relationship.
Right, so no matter what’s happening, if you're spending a lot of time with that other person, they will rub off on you. If this is the type of person that you've already deemed as not relationship material and you haven't decided another category for that person, right?
Let's say, you're interviewing for the CEO job. You decide after the first interview, the first hour or so, this person is not going to be the best for this and isn't cut out for this job, but maybe there's another position for this person in your company that might open up and something like that, and then you just open that up. You might end up making female friends and that's cool, so she's a friend. The level of attachment and commitment to a friend is very different from the one that you would make your intimate partner, so it's okay to friend-zone, so to speak, those candidates. [19:01.8]
But those guys who are saying, No, I'm going to stay in this hookup zone. I'm going to stay, making her think that we have potential for a relationship, when in the back of his mind, he has already kind of written her off, that's actually going to be compromising your character. Whatever her character is will be rubbing off on you unconsciously and you're going to become more of that, so that in months or years of staying with that type of personality, you adopt their personality traits, the phrases they say, the ways they think about the world, their value system.
Right, then you're out there two years road after having been deep in casual dating success, so to speak, hooking up and spending a lot of time one-on-one with women aren't relationship material, then you wonder why, Hey, the right woman, the woman who is relationship material, doesn’t give you the time of day, because your character has changed. You've shifted off course because of the peer-group effect and you didn't even know it. That's, again, going to create this personality change and it’s going to be largely unconscious because it's gradual, right? That's the peer-group effect. That’s the reason number two. [20:06.6]
One other thing that I wasn't planning and it's not one of the four points, but it just came to mind as I was sharing this, is that if you are saying or you're putting across that she is still a potential candidate for a long-term relationship position—going back to the corporate analogy, you've already decided this person is not going to be your CEO and, if anything, maybe there's a middle management position for this person in your company, but you keep treating her and telling her that the things you say and do are conveying this message that you are actively considering her for this position—that's unethical. It's actually making her think that there's something more here. Going back to dating, you're leading her on.
A lot of guys who play the field, the reason they get this bad rep is because they're actually lying, and if they're not lying explicitly with their words, they're lying with their actions, in their treatment or their behavior. There are low-level players who just straight out lie, like, I love you. I'm going to … Let's be in a relationship together. [21:07.1]
There's plenty of successful men who are successful because of their business acumen or their tech coding skills or something, who are actually really weak and cowardly when it comes to interpersonal relationships, so they lie a lot. This is pretty common and standard, and they lie to get their way and obviously that's unethical, right? I'm not even dealing with those cases.
But above that, there's a level of player and playing the field who doesn't lie verbally. He's got the guts to speak out what's actually really happening, like, You're not relationship material or at least the jury is still out on whether you are or not for me, but we're having fun, so let's just still hang out together. Okay, that's verbal. That's better. You're not lying explicitly.
But then the way you're treating her, so you're doing all of these couple things, coupley type of stuff, and the same goes to the women who do this to the guys, who say, Look, I'm not looking for a long-term commitment. Let's just hang out and have fun and just hook up on the side or whatever it is. We're just fuck buddies or whatever, and then they do these coupley types of things, where you go grocery shopping together and you cook together, or maybe you go furniture shopping together, this type of thing couples do, and maybe you go to the movies or the opera, right? [22:20.5]
These are all coupley things. This isn't just sex for fun. Now it's going to be hard for any human being to callus their hearts enough that when these romantic things are happening that they say, Oh, there's this distance. This isn't serious. This is just casual.
Regardless of whether it's explicit or implicit, you've got to be careful about leading the other person on, and if you were playing the field, part of the reason people hate players is they lead girls on. The same with the female players, they lead the guys on and you might have been in that position, right? So, you know how hard that is on you, how badly that hurts. It's important not to make these character compromises, because they actually do change your personality and your character, right? [23:10.6]
That part of you that's making these compromises ends up being out there in the world to see that people can see that this is the way that you interact, the way you talk, the value system that you're speaking from and that you're operating out of. The right one, the right person for you for the long-term relationship who's a person of moral integrity, and also sexy and hot and all that good stuff, will stay away from you, because if she's mature enough, she's smart enough, she's wise enough, she's been around the block, so to speak, experientially, she'll know, Oh, this guy is not ready because he's playing the field.
That's what that means. You're compromising morally and then you wonder why you can't find someone who's moral. Those more people will stay away from you, right, generally, unless they're forced to work with you at the company or something, in the business. But then, personally, in their personal lives, they ought to keep their distance because of why? Because of the peer-group effect. You're going to rub off on them and they already know if they have the experience that it's not going to end well for either party. [24:10.8]
They're not helping you very much either, right, because you're probably spending a lot of time in your peer group with other like-minded people who are making similar character choices, but making similar compromises in their morality, and you're flirting with that, flirting with danger, so to speak, a lot. There's just one little bitty her in that mix, so she's definitely going to get pulled in your direction, all right, unless you change your peer group, right? That's something that I’ll get into in a later episode.
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Okay, so that was a side note. I didn't plan to share that, but think about the other person, her. If you end up leading her on by playing the field, not only does it fuck you up, it messes her up as well, and it hurts her and that's more blatantly unethical.
Okay, so the third point quickly here is that if you just continue to make these, playing the field is making these character compromises, or maybe even on a more minor scale, just lowering your standards to have more fun with more women. Okay, again, the metrics for casual dating success are quite different from the metrics for relationships success, right? The relationship success is just one human being out of 8 billion, right? The casual dating success is about “How many?” It’s about quantity, right? It’s a big part of it. Of course, the quality among the quantity matters, too, and all that, right? But it's quantity. You're optimizing for casting your net wider and getting more women into the funnel of your dating, your dating funnel, so to speak. [26:14.8]
As you're doing that, as you're optimizing for casual dating success, to actually succeed, you're going to end up developing narcissistic personality patterns and relying on personas that, if you explore them later on, you'll discover that that's all repressing, further repressing, your toxic shame and exiling your vulnerability, which will make it harder down the road, just take longer and take more effort for you to actually do the healing and unburdening and emotional growth down the road.
I know because I’ve gone through this myself. I’ve done many podcasts and videos and seminars on this particular point about how to game or playing games, or not even explicitly, not even knowingly being like a pickup artist or anything, but just being somebody who optimizes for casual dating success, which is like the average frat boy, right? [27:06.5]
He's just looking for conquests. I guess that's maybe too strong of a word, but he's looking for “How many women have I hooked up with? That's how I tell how attractive I am to women in general,” right? You're optimizing for those metrics, right? Actually, to do that well, it's actually beneficial to adopt some narcissistic personality traits, because you're not now optimizing for one human being. You're optimizing for a big percentage of women.
In order to be appealing to a percentage of women, beyond just your physical, just like the same with women—the hot woman and she didn't talk and you couldn't get her personality, the physical, that's different, right? I'm not talking about that—but once you open your mouth and you're spending some time with this person and you're behaving, so she can get your sub-communications, she can get a sense of your values, and even just through your vocabulary, it will actually benefit you to adopt some narcissistic patterns because that will actually help you to seduce more women. [28:10.7]
This has actually been proven. There's a very strong, proven, empirically-proven correlation between narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, as measured on various tests, various psychological tests, and the number of dating or sexual partners. I don't think it's that hard to imagine, because this is pretty normal. I mean, it's a trope in literature and media and movies that the bad boy is just sexy and gets a lot more hookup opportunities, right? The rock star and all of that. That's just pretty obvious.
I don't think I need to dwell on that, but I have gone into the reasons for this and what's in common between the type of behavior patterns that are attractive and narcissistic behavior patterns, and why they're basically matching up and are very similar. I will refer you to other material just in the interest of time, because I’ve done hours on that. [29:05.2]
I also go into detail on this in “Rock Solid Relationships”. The course, “Rock Solid Relationships”, devotes two entire modules to exploring this dynamic and the sort of catch-22 of the guy who wants to succeed in or optimize in casual dating and wants to succeed in a long-term relationship, and the dynamics are, how do you navigate that?
That's two entire modules, about four hours each, plus, guided meditations along the way to actually help you through that, to navigate in the most efficient and effective way for your own happiness and fulfillment in life, and to optimize for actually succeeding and creating a loving and passionate relationship. Check that out. That's “Rock Solid Relationships”, which if you have “Platinum Partnership”, you can get access to that, of course.
Then notice that if you don't naturally have narcissistic personality patterns, which I assume you don't, because if you did, you probably wouldn't be looking for podcasts on dating. Maybe you would. Maybe you're just looking to become a better narcissist online. [30:02.8]
For instance, my episode ought to turn off narcissists, full-on narcissists. I'm hoping that it does, right? I’m not trying to appeal to them, too. I'm not optimizing for casual listener success, right? I have very clearly in mind my ideal listener and I am speaking to him. Okay, so here's an example right here, right?
What will happen is as you're optimizing for a higher percentage of women liking you, being attracted to you, you'll be calling out. If you do it well, you'll be developing or calling out personas or parts of you that end up shouldering more of that burden and end up becoming your default parts, and then to do this, they will become … Part of what happens with narcissism is narcissism comes out of deep insecurity. Narcissists overcompensate for very low self-esteem and that's how they get hurtful. [30:57.5]
The clinical narcissists may be so far gone that most psychiatrists just give up on them and just medicate them, and try to warn their family members, immediate family, about what to expect, so they're so far gone, but it comes out of this a very low self-esteem. The same with psychopathy, maybe even to a greater extent, mixed in with hate and rage.
When you adopt the narcissistic personality patterns, what you'll be doing is actually beating the flames, giving more fuel to the fire of those personas that actually are in great pain. They're actually trying to fend off the toxic shame that they're feeling and they're doing it by overcompensating with these narcissistic patterns of getting really good at a particular type of flirting, like cocky, funny, or the type of flirting that is just sort of compromising on your moral standards, but is fun and dangerous and adventurous, and that appeals.
Again, there's nothing wrong with being fun, dangerous, and adventurous, if you do it, if it's coming from the right place, but the narcissists and narcissistic personality types are using that as a kind of compensating mechanism to hide their toxic shame that they have exiled, and along with that toxic shame, they're exiling the vulnerability required to go there, and so all of that hurt and pain is under the surface. [32:14.2]
Plenty of research has shown that when narcissists actually do make it to therapy on their own and not just dragged there by a family member or a court order, that's because they've reached such a rock-bottom position that it is undeniable, so that their toxic shame comes bursting out like a volcano. But as soon as they recover even a little bit, they just stop going. They stop participating in the treatment, and it's dangerous. It's a dangerous thing that's happening for you and your own happiness.
Narcissists are not happy. They're not happy people. Despite those that they hurt, they think, Oh, the narcissist is sitting there all happy, he's not actually happy. He maybe has a smile on his face like Joker, but underneath it all, he's dealing with his toxic shame that he's trying to repress through these compensating patterns. Okay, so the bad guy actually can never get love, the bad guy in the sense of the one who's hurting, the blatant narcissist, right? [33:09.9]
That's something to realize. If you adopt that pattern, if you adopt that personality, you, also, likewise, won't ever be able to be settled or you'll never feel calm and peaceful, and you'll never be able to let into your life unconditional love and you'll never or feel unconditional love for anyone else because that requires vulnerability. The more that you get good at playing the field, the more this conditions a personality type and the set of patterns that will take you farther away from your fulfillment and love and joy.
Finally, just a fun point at the end just to kind of wrap it up, I’m going to share with you the importance of commitment. Part of what you should be looking for in a long-term relationship partner is somebody who is worthy of your commitment and is mature enough to make a commitment. What happens is when you optimize for casual dating success over a longer period of weeks, months, or years, you end up creating in yourself or growing these personas that are acting in neurotic ways that are not into commitment? Because that's part of what it would mean to optimize for casual dating success. [34:12.2]
I get this a lot from guys who have been dating casually for years. I don't see myself ever being able to settle down, again, the “settle down” myth, settling down with one woman because I can't give up the variety. But then they're saying this because it's in the context of … so if somebody who's really happy with her casual dating success never says this. They never begin that conversation. It's always in the context of “I’m not actually happy and I would really like a long-term relationship, but—but—I don't see myself ever settling down because I can't commit because that would mean that I would be cutting myself off from all of these other hookups.” Right?
So, what has happened? When they started this process of “I would love to meet the right woman,” they ended up using and taking the “just settle down” myth or taking the optimizing for casual dating approach or strategy, which actually fucked them up. I'm trying not to swear on this show. It actually screwed them up for long-term success and now they are, in fact, screwed up for long-term success. [35:08.4]
To bring them back to earth, right—because it has just taken off on that balloon way too far out of the stratosphere that they don't think they can make it back to the planet now—is just some basic realizations and here are some.
Lots of a bad thing is never better than one of a good thing. Lots of a bad thing is never better than one of a good thing. In fact, lots of a bad thing is never good. It's just lots of a bad thing.
Here's another way to put it and this is a funny way that [unclear 35:36.4] used to put it. Ten ones is not the same one 10. Okay, so they add up metrics-wise, but that's what the casual dating says, like you can say 10 10s, or they're like, I’m going to go for 10 10a. All right, the thing is, you're not getting commitment out of any of those. You're not actually able to experience unconditional love fully in any of those. [35:56.0]
You actually, with any of those so-called 10s that you’ve got, are not actually going to be able to experience the joy of letting go and fully devoting yourself to this one relationship and this one love, such that you won't be able to experience what it's like to be five years in to this unconditional love relationship, because in order for you to be with 10 10s, you'll have to divide your energies between 10. You're not going to give 10 to each of them. They might be 10s on their own, but you have a limited amount of time and energy. You can't give 10 out of 10 to each of those 10, so they're going to get one out of 10 from you, so they're really screwed up now. You’ve screwed them up. So, 10 ones is not equal to one 10.
Here’s another way to put it and I really like it. This is from Rumi, the ancient mystic. He was not ancient, but … and it was coded by my friend, Henry, at my wedding. “A thousand half loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.” That's just beautiful. “A thousand half loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home.” [36:59.6]
Now I thought you never want to explain a joke and you never want to explain poetry, but I’ve shared this before and half the guys are like, Who and what does that mean? Oh, God. Okay, so a thousand half loves, obviously these are hookups. These are the compromised situations you find yourself in through optimizing for casual dating success. You can have a thousand full closes on the pickup artist parlance. You’ve got to give up those, the next thousand, in order to take one whole heart home.
You don't get to experience one whole part until you go all in. You put all your chips in on that one, and you don't get to experience the unconditional love and the joy and the peace that comes from that when you're still dipping your toe into all of these other little ponds, right? I just switched the metaphors there. Those are the thousand half loves. That's what you're going to have to give up in order to take one whole heart home.
Okay, enough butchering poetry with explanations. Those are the four points. This is so important that you get this because most people don't get this and they end up screwing up their relationships, and they screw them up somewhere around the six month to the three-year to five-year mark, basically when the honeymoon period ends, and then they just stay in it and they have kids. [38:11.4]
How many of a relationship or a marriage where they’ve stayed together too long or they're past the point at which it was still passionate? But now they've got kids. They’ve got to stay together for the kids, right? They're basically living a life of quiet desperation and maybe the father, the husband, has confided in you that they never have sex anymore. All the passion is gone. He’s like, Oh, I really envy you, your single life, dating all these girls, that kind of thing. Maybe he's stepping out on her and he's sharing that with you.
This is super, super common. If you think that the majority of married couples are happy, you'd be wrong. Don't become that. Don't think it's that simple because we're not actually evolved to be happy in long-term relationships that go 10 years or more. We're evolved to stay together long enough for the kid that we made to survive and that's it. You actually have to know your own psychology well enough, if that's what you want, the love and joy that comes from that one whole heart that you take home, then you've got to actually invest in yourself for that. [39:08.9]
All right, just to recap:
The first point was playing the field ends up conditioning and reinforcing character patterns or behavior patterns that are wrong for long-term success.
The second point was the peer-group effect. “Show me your lovers. I’ll show you your future.”
The third point was that optimizing for casual dating success will actually in the end develop in you narcissistic personality patterns that will simply repress toxic shame and exile your vulnerability.
Then the fourth is, and I will leave you with that Rumi quote, “A thousand half loves must be forsaken to leave one whole heart home”
Okay, I’ve gone through all of the mistakes myself for years, so I know exactly what it's like to spend several years of your life devoting yourself to optimizing for casual dating success, right? How many women are attracted to me? I’ve got to go and check. How do you check? You get compliance. You get escalation. You get all of that. [40:04.2]
Then, okay, now your ego is stroked, but also now you have a connection with this person and now you've got to keep it going, right? Then you never end because it's like a game or you never know how good you are until you keep playing. You might have been really good yesterday, but you’ve got to check today. What's your batting average today versus yesterday? You’ve got to keep going and this is toxic and I’ve kept this up for years, growing it.
I got better and better at it every year, and then coaching many guys on how to do this. I don't regret that because these are still valuable skills, but you've got to use them in the right way. You've got to approach the dating skills and the attraction in the right way. It's perfectly awesome for a married couple to learn how to seduce each other, just like I tell Christians, You guys should have a sex store because you need you’ve got to spice up your sex life. Between married couples, right? It's not sinful. Anyway, that's an inside joke.
I’ve learned this the hard way. There's nothing wrong with the dating skills on their own, but it's how you're using them, and if you're using them for casual dating success with a view to long-term relationship success, then you are messing up already, right from the get. [40:04.2]
Begin with the end in mind instead. Don't buy into the “just settle down” myth, right? The guy who says to me, I’m dating five women. I don't know which one I should settle down with. Which one do you think I should settle down with? If you're asking that question, man, none of them. None of them.
None of them are the right candidate. The right candidate will jump out at you. You're already compromising your standards so much that you're not even able to see the right candidate any longer and you're doing yourself a disservice because you're very likely putting out the wrong energy in terms of sub-communications or things you're saying, the value systems that you are conveying, the way that you're living your life, your lifestyle and so on, are putting out the wrong message and are not repelling the wrong candidates and attracting the right ones. Because in order to optimize for casual dating success, you've got to put out a particular persona, the message to appeal to the majority of women, right? That's how you're succeeding in casual dating, right? [42:06.4]
That's actually the opposite of what you ought to be doing if you're optimizing for long-term relationship success, and those two things are actually antithetical and a lot of guys don't realize that until too late. Almost all, I would say, almost all with just a couple exceptions, of guys who have started out with me in the pickup world and became professional dating coaches, pickup coaches, they've almost all made that mistake and have suffered for it and are suffering for it.
Don't let that be. Don't let it get to the point where now you have kids or you have these assets, you’ve got to get a messy divorce or something like that, just because you didn't take this lesson to heart. Begin with the end in mind.
Okay, invest in yourself from now. Learn what a long-term relationship really takes and how to create, not just a loving relationship, but a passionate one of deep intimacy. If that's what you're interested in, come back to the next episode. The next episode, I’m going to be getting into how to tell whether she's the one, so I'll see you in the next episode. [43:07.4]
If you liked this episode, please share it with anyone you think would benefit. I'd really appreciate that, and please leave a review or rating on iTunes podcasts. That really helps us as well. Thanks so much for listening. I'd love to hear your feedback, too. Until the next episode where we'll be getting to how to tell whether she's the one, I am now signing out, David Tian.
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