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I have always had mixed feelings about dating and/or beginning romantic relationships generally. Is the purpose of dating or beginning a relationship to get to know someone better, even if you have doubts whether a relationship could go far? Or are relationships only for two people who already feel very close to one another? On the one hand, a relationship is something serious that demands seriousness from the people involved; on the other hand, it seems a relationship has to, in the beginning, be a sort of experiment, insofar as the two people in the relationship don't yet know each other as well as they could. Indeed, that seems to be a possible purpose for dating: to get to know each other.

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it seems a relationship has to, in the beginning, be a sort of experiment, insofar as the two people in the relationship don't yet know each other as well as they could.

I agree with this. I believe that a relationship is a very serious thing and should only be entered after a "trial period" in which the two people get to know each other's values, interests, personality, etc. This "trial period" or "screening period" allows an individual to see if this person seems relatively compatible with their own values, interests, and personality.

I believe that the first few engagements (dates) with a person can serve as such a "trial period." In such a time, an individual is deciding whether or not it would be worthwhile to pursue a further relationship or rather end it.

Such a "trial period" can be extremely beneficial in the long run. From personal experience, I entered my first relationship without knowing the girl well. When we first met, there was an immediate attraction and mutual interest. However, down the line, once we had entered a relationship, I realized that there were certain fundamental differences between us which made us incompatible. What resulted was a very painful (and lengthy) break-up.

I believe that such fundamental differences could have been discovered if I devoted more time to a "trial period."

However, whether or not a "trial period" is beneficial depends on the kind of relationship that one is looking for. If one is looking for a very serious (perhaps long-term) relationship, then I believe such a period would be quite beneficial. However, if one is casually dating and not necessarily looking for a long-term relationship (such as during high school), then perhaps such a period would not really serve one's interests in that situation.

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What is the purpose of casual dating?

Fun. Girls are fun. Dates are fun. The suspense and tension of a new and possibly great relationship is fun. Doing things with girls is fun. It gets you into nice clothes, out the door, and into social situations. You learn about yourself, your date, and the opposite sex in general. You get practice at dating and you get comfortable with it all. You build experience so that when the day comes that you find the person that makes your knees week, your heart stop, and your voice stammer, you have the ability to hide it all and actually form coherent sentences.

Being serious about relationships and being in a serious relationship are different things. Serious relationships don't just happen. They take an investment of time, effort, and energy. You can't expect to find someone, no matter how compatible they may seem "on paper" and expect to suddenly be in a serious relationship.

It takes time, experience, and self-knowledge to be able to sustain an long-term relationship through life's ups and downs. Also, you can't know what you don't know. You can't know how someone will work out until you actually get into a relationship with them and see how you two react to one another.

Ben

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Nicely put, Ben. I entirely agree.

The purpose of dating is simply to enjoy oneself. One isn't committing oneself to a serious relationship just by going on a few dates with someone. The point is to have a good time and get to know each other better, so that you can find out whether or not you want to become more seriously involved with each other.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, dating is great. It's fun, exciting, and sweet. Although with my own experience, it's been hard for me to find a man that I'm compatible with because most people aren't intrested in intellectual ideas. I don't mean to put a damper on such a positive topic. But I'm sure most of you would agree! I agree that to know oneself and to have self-esteem is one of the key factors in having a healthy, long term relationship. When it's based on proper values and principles, wow.... it's the most beautiful thing in world...

-Carrie

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  • 7 months later...

I see dating as testing the waters for potential relatioships.

That is where a lot of chemistry and value will be manifested at first.

If a guy is interested enough to choose a girl and declare his interest for her...that says OODLES (as we all know from Frisco's speech on the nature of sex/sexual attraction). Dating is a great way to weed out the great from the good.

People can manifest a lot of subtle contradictions in dating scenarios, and these often make the difference between the life or death of a relationship.

Dating is supposed to be fun, playful, and enjoyable. It is where both sexes display their values to a very high degree and they can both lightly push (metaphorically) the other person for the purpose of evaluating their character and their values. Everything that is said and done in dates seems to be scrutinized under a fine tooth comb. That is because people women need to be able to trust their man if they are going to give themselves to a man(see Betsy Speicher's Femininity essays for some great material on this subject). Men also want to make sure that their judgment was indeed correct and the woman was who they thought she was and not just masking a hand grenade under a pretty face (also metaphorically speaking).

The people that have the power to hurt you the most are the people that are closest to you.

Dating and relationships ARE serious business.

Here are some really good quotes on Romance:

-No man is worth your tears and the only one who is will never make you cry.

-To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

(reminds me of We The Living)

Yes, dating is great. It's fun, exciting, and sweet. Although with my own experience, it's been hard for me to find a man that I'm compatible with because most people aren't intrested in intellectual ideas. I don't mean to put a damper on such a positive topic. But I'm sure most of you would agree! I agree that to know oneself and to have self-esteem is one of the key factors in having a healthy, long term relationship. When it's based on proper values and principles, wow.... it's the most beautiful thing in world...

I agree 1000%.

I found an Objectivist girl on a debate forum and I was interested. We started flirting and I asked her out. I feel so lucky that I happened upon such a wonderful person. It is mind blowing having another person by your side who loves what you do and sees what you see. It doesn't make the world any more beautiful by itself...but being able to share the world's beauty with someone who can value really defies description. It makes me want to grin, jump around happily, or sing a song.

Proportionally...there are a lot more guys than gals in Objectivist communities (from what I have witnessed) which kind of makes it even more rare that I would nab one in a non-Objectivist forum, though the forum itself was intellectual in nature.

If you are still looking for a romantic partner, I can't think of a better place than Objectivist communities. There are lots of great people here and there are tons of guys who are interested in meeting a rational Objectivist babe.

Betsy Speicher offers a service called Social Net when you sign up for her newsletter and it is sort of a "post a profile if you are interested in meeting people."

You dont' have to be looking for someone romantically to post a profile. I posted a profile as well as other people that are married/romantically involved. The Social Net just has people who are looking to make friends (and sometimes more).

You might honestly consider it if you are single and looking.

I don't want to sound like Betsy's shill or anything like that (I looked back at this post and I mentioned her work/name like 8 bajillion times) , but I was impressed that she had set the Social Net up and I didn't see it highly advertised as part of the CyberNet service. Thus, I was pleasantly suprised to see it when I signed up recently.

If you are interested in the CyberNet or SocialNet...check it out at this link:

http://www.4cybernet.com/

L8,

-E

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Out here in India, the concept of dating used to be alien. If anything, it seems to be catching up with the 16-18 year olds now. It was literally non-existent before.

It doesn't make the world any more beautiful by itself...but being able to share the world's beauty with someone who can value really defies description. It makes me want to grin, jump around happily, or sing a song.

Awesome!!! And I know exactly what you mean. Being with the person you love makes you think that there's no evil in the world and everything, in that moment, is exactly what it ought to be.

dinesh.

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Speaking of India.... I saw a program the other night on LinkTV about the Indian tradition of arranged marriages. I had no idea how prevalent and ingrained the custom was, despite modernization and the increasing western cultural influences.

The moods during the marriage ceremonies I saw were more akin to funeral services and the couples were clearly uncomfortable with their new life ventures. But what was amazing was the apparent "success" of many or most of such marriages. Some couples are able to develop passionate relationships, while others seem to accept with resignation their new spouse and try to make the best of it.

One thing that stood out in my mind, which may have been a key factor in the ability for such arrangements to work, was the degree of dignity and respect with which the couples treated one another as human beings, without even knowing the other person well. This, and the respect for their families and tradition seemed to provide a basis upon which to build a lasting relationship.

It was definitely interesting, though completely alien and unacceptable to me.

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In addition to the reasons for dating already mentioned, it is an excellent way to see someone else's sense of life in operation and how it intersects with yours. That's why the most popular dating activity is going out to the movies.

One very happily married friend of mine told me that he decided his wife was the one for him when they went to see the movie, "A Thousand Clowns." "We were the only ones in theater who laughed in all the same places."

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The moods during the marriage ceremonies I saw were more akin to funeral services

I wonder which particualr marriage you saw, cause Indian marriages are usually very very loud and full of life. It's not a single marriage day, it's like this week long celebration in some cases.

Arranged marriages are very much a big part of the society out here. The tradition is usually that the girl's/guy's parents look for the would be groom/bride. The reason they work is that the concept of divorce used to be alien to this culture. It was very much like "this marriage has got to work, cause there's no other alternative". Though that has been on a major decline for the past sometime now. It's usually the women who get stuck with dumb guys and it's repulsive to think that they have no alternative about remaining in the marriage or not. Indian culture is very different from it's western counterparts.

There has been a heavy shift in the outlook to marriage in the past two decades and things are definitely becoming better, but we still have a long way to go. The practices of arranged marriage are very much prevalent here, and they aren't gonna be phased out all that soon. Personally I would never agree to an arranged marriage, but that does not mean, it doesn't work. People out here make it work. My parents have had an arranged marriage and it turned out just fine :)

dinesh.

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That's why the most popular dating activity is going out to the movies.

That's not why teenagers go to the movies. <_<

But in all seriousness, you are spot on. Going to a movie is a great way for two mature people to learn a lot about each other - especially afterwards, when you discuss the movie over a drink.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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