Monday, August 5, 2013

Setting the Bar High

First, I want to qualify this blog by saying I think it is good to set the bar high, but sometimes the dating bar is ridiculously high and you end up with nothing.

One employer I knew asked for a master’s degree, ten years of experience, and fluency in two languages when advertising for a simple clerical job. What they actually wanted, the personnel director explained, was a gutsy person with a bachelor degree, who could understand Spanish and had two years of experience. A few months later, he confessed they hired a woman who had a high school education, no experience, and was a friend of a fellow employee. Their ad had scared off viable candidates. Their bar intimidated good candidates.

How do we sit the bar too high in dating? A recent article stating that women preferred dating younger men got me reading. It wasn’t nearly as provocative as its title. It stated that 25% of women with online profiles would consider a man up to five years younger. Not that big of a deal, especially since it’s hard to find someone exactly your age. These same women would consider a man five years older too. This isn’t setting the bar too high.

The same article went on to say 42% of the men would not even consider a woman their age and would only accept younger candidates. This is setting the bar too high and making the pool of women smaller.

Often people are under the mistaken impression there are oodles of perfect singles waiting for them. Truth is you’ve probably dated the majority of people in your area that are available to date. Online dating allows you to enlarge the distance of your dating pool. You probably didn’t consider a man forty miles away. It brings in new arrivals too. What it doesn’t do is turn you into something you’re not.

What this means is you’ll still be attractive to the same type of people with caveats. If middle-aged men with white-collar jobs around your age are your usual type, then they will probably continue to wink or message you. Just because you decided you’d like to go out with a much younger man with a yen for adventure, body surfing and sky diving, doesn’t mean they are lining up to date you. In fact, some interesting people will pass over your profile because of the must haves. Perhaps you stated you wouldn’t consider anyone under six feet tall. Even men six feet tall pass over your profile because your insistence on this is superficial and hints at being inflexible in most areas of your life.

As for the 42% of the online dating men who will only go out with younger women, good luck with that. This is a common high bar for men. I was approached by men who were ten years older than me. Nope, not interested and I wondered why the dating company gave them my profile. What these men have done is create an increasingly small dating pool for themselves.

I did say I had caveats about setting the bar. Unfortunately, we tend to favor the same types we’ve dated before because it is a familiar dynamic even it was a dysfunctional one. Women who chose abusive loser boyfriends attract them like a magnet. Men who have had a series of demanding, manipulative girlfriends will have a long line of similar women. These types are looking for you because everyone else has rejected them when they got a clue about their ways.

How do you set the bar against these offenders?  You don’t do it in the profile. Stating you won’t be the victim of liars, cheaters or game-players tells the predatory daters you are vulnerable and fair game. To them you are the gazelle with the wounded leg that the herd abandons.

Know your tell-tale signs; complaints against life in general, treating service people shabbily, talking about exes constantly, men forgetting wallets, listing expectations for you are just a few. Review previous relationships that went south to decide what went wrong. Remember the people you want to avoid can be charming and attractive; they had to develop some skills to get people to accept them, if only for a short time.

As for setting the bar high, a few of you need to set it higher. It is reflective of how you consider yourself and what you think is out there. Many men and women go out with a series of people who are bad fits and bemoan their luck. Just going out with anyone and expecting to meet the one is a recipe for disaster. Consider ten characteristics you’d like, but be willing to settle for five. Work six or seven into your profile, but not ten.

Remember the people who were advertising for a candidate with a master’s degree? Their overkill approach landed them with someone very unsuitable because that is all who applied. When I see a woman’s profile stating she is looking for a professional man, 48 or younger, has traveled widely, owns a plane, at least six foot with dark hair and blue eyes, a ballroom dancer, a proficient piano player, and being able to converse in Russian and French, I see a woman doomed to spending nights at home alone.

The same for the men who want some young leggy playmate to cater to them. It is a nice dream, so the best they can do is turn over and go back to sleep.

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