home
RSS
Dating and the challenge of too many choices
January 26th, 2012
07:21 AM ET

Dating and the challenge of too many choices

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him on his website, GoodInBed.

If online dating hasn’t led you to your perfect match, perhaps the issue isn’t that you’re too choosy, but rather that there’s too much choice.

There’s no doubt that dating in the 21st century offers a lot of opportunities. Think about your parents’ generation: They grew up with no Internet, they likely stayed in the same town for most of their lives, and they automatically had more in common with the people in that town as a result. Today, women and men are increasingly marrying someone outside of their religion, their ethnicity and their geographic area.

Never in history have we had so many potential partners to choose from - and never have we had so much difficulty choosing. In fact, several recent studies suggest that this explosion of options has made men and women feel more confused and uncertain about finding a partner than ever before.

The challenges of choice was well illustrated in a study in 2000 that looked at people’s buying habits. Researchers asked customers to participate in a tasting of different types of jam; those who sampled the product were given a $1-off coupon. On the first day, the researchers offered a choice of six different jams. On the next, they offered 24 different jams.

People tasted the same number of jams, regardless of the number of available samples. Yet their buying choices varied dramatically: Offered six jams, about 30% of samplers ended up purchasing a jar. Faced with 24 choices, though, only 3% bought a jar.

The conclusion: When given so many choices, people have more trouble making any decision, and this sense of indecisiveness could lead to a cascade of negative effects. In his seminal book, "The Paradox Of Choice," Dr. Barry Schwartz writes, “Choice overload can make you question the decisions you make before you even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations, and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis. And in a culture that tells us that there is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.”

The problem could be our quest for perfection. We all want to believe in "The One" - a person that meets every item on our relationship checklist, who’s our soul mate forever. But when you search for perfection, you’re unlikely to find it.

“People who attempt to make the 'perfect' choice, whether it comes to buying a car or finding a partner, end up less satisfied, regardless of what or who they choose. That’s because they tend to look for flaws, and become disillusioned with all of their options," says Andy Trees, Ph.D., author of "A Scientific Guide to Successful Dating."

Many services also ask you to fill out exhaustive questionnaires about your likes and dislikes. It might seem like more information would help you make smarter choices, but again, that’s often not the case.

The more criteria and qualities you consider for a partner, the tougher it can be to narrow down your choices. In fact, according to a 2006 Pew study of online dating, people generally use Internet sites because they believe that having lots of choices will result in a better match. But research suggests that such increased choices actually have the opposite effect.

There’s evidence that even non-Web-based dating services can suffer from the challenge of choice: A study of people attending speed-dating events, published in the August 2011 issue of Biology Letters, found that they made fewer decisions to date when they attended events with higher numbers of candidates and greater variety. Again, the researchers concluded that people who have too many options will choose nothing.

Although one day someone may indeed invent the perfect algorithm to match two people, no online dating site has yet provided proof that its formula works, regardless of what its marketing department wants you to think.

So how can you harness the power of technology to your advantage? “First, don’t give up on the Internet - it can still be a useful way to meet people," says Trees. "Understand, though, that you’ll need to take the responsibility to choose your matches. Don’t expect the service to find you the perfect person. Pace yourself and keep a normal dating schedule. Seeing a new person every night of the week isn’t going to increase your chances of romance, just your risk of exhaustion.

"And be patient and realistic. There’s no perfect mate out there, just people that you can enjoy spending a day - or maybe even the rest of your days - with.”


soundoff (2,695 Responses)
  1. Rodgersyn

    https://bit.ly/3pn28mx – Sex without obligation in your city

    https://bit.ly/3pn28mx – Meet, be inspired, communicate and continue flirting! Follow the link

    December 17, 2020 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. FhsnZisse

    viagrafreesamples i need viagra top viagra store

    December 17, 2020 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Harris Adens

    Thank youThanks for any otheranothersome otherevery other informative blogwebsiteweb sitesite. WhereThe place else may justmaycould I am gettingI get that kind oftype of infoinformation written in such a perfectan ideal waymethodmeansapproachmanner? I haveI've a projectventurechallengeundertakingmission that I amI'm simplyjust now runningoperatingworking on, and I haveI've been at theon the glancelook out for such informationinfo.

    https://pastebin.com/u/Bestfishfryers

    December 18, 2020 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. zortilo nrel

    Precisely what I was searching for, regards for posting.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    December 19, 2020 at 07:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. zortilo nrel

    Its excellent as your other content : D, thanks for posting. "History is a pact between the dead, the living, and the yet unborn." by Edmund Burke.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    December 19, 2020 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Daryl Keahey

    This is a great blog and i want to visit this every day of the week “ 

    http://6dollarmillion.xyz

    December 20, 2020 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Rodgeresy

    https://bit.ly/3pn28mx – Sex without obligation

    https://bit.ly/2I3ZL7m – Flirting in your city

    December 22, 2020 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Britt Rubenstein

    Way cool! Some veryextremely valid points! I appreciate you writing thispenning this articlepostwrite-up and theand also theplus the rest of the site iswebsite is also veryextremelyveryalso reallyreally good.

    https://www.pinterest.com/offroadhoverboards/top-11-best-pool-toys-for-kids-in-2020/

    December 24, 2020 at 00:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Pat Mazza

    This is one awesome post.Thanks Again. Fantastic.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2020-04-21/evolution-mentor-launches-4-new-programs-in-april

    December 24, 2020 at 08:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Monroe Terry

    I visitgo to seepay a visitpay a quick visit everydaydailyeach dayday-to-dayevery day somea few websitessitesweb sitesweb pagesblogs and blogswebsitesinformation sitessites to read articlespostsarticles or reviewscontent, butexcepthowever this blogweblogwebpagewebsiteweb site providesoffersgivespresents qualityfeature based articlespostscontentwriting.

    https://www.kongregate.com/accounts/Bestelbowsleeves

    December 25, 2020 at 08:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Frankie Oetting

    Hi there. I found your site by way of Google even as looking for a related topic, your web site got here up. It looks great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to visit then.

    http://www.X7wFVYZgcs.com/X7wFVYZgcs

    December 25, 2020 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Claretta Gentes

    Awesome post. I am a regular visitor of your blog and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the nice site. I will be a regular visitor for a really long time.

    http://www.X7wFVYZgcs.com/X7wFVYZgcs

    December 25, 2020 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. earn passive income fast

    Earn 100 commissions of up to 900+ dollars DAILY. 90 Second Set Up – Beta Tested Proven 24-7 AUTOPILOT Income – 100 FREE Multi-Tier Traffic Built In. More details: https://bit.ly/2YfQFcC

    https://bit.ly/2YfQFcC

    December 26, 2020 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. anaerobic treatment of wastewater

    All very good will be back for more

    https://austrowatertech.com/technology/anaerobic-treatment/

    December 28, 2020 at 02:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Delcie Alsheimer

    I think the admin of this websiteweb sitesiteweb page is reallyactuallyin facttrulygenuinely working hard forin favor ofin support of his websiteweb sitesiteweb page, becausesinceasfor the reason that here every stuffinformationdatamaterial is quality based stuffinformationdatamaterial.

    https://independent.academia.edu/Horseridinghelmets

    December 28, 2020 at 04:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. firma transport intern

    Thank you ever so for you article post. Really Great.

    https://firma-transport.ro/

    December 28, 2020 at 08:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Meer info

    Wow thank you for this

    https://makkelijkgeldverdienen3.skyrock.com/3338157174-Geld-verdienen-met-e-mails.html

    December 28, 2020 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Jayne

    That is very fascinating, You are an overly skilled
    blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to searching for more of your excellent
    post. Also, I've shared your web site in my social networks!

    Look into my web blog ... drinking water (https://tinyurl.com/)

    December 28, 2020 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. arbitrage reviews

    I think this is among the most vital info for me. And i'm glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The website style is great, the articles is really great : D. Good job, cheers

    https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?chs=150×150&cht=qr&chl=https://www.wholesaleattack.com/tactical-arbitrage-review-2021/?tactical

    December 29, 2020 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. zortilo nrel

    Way cool, some valid points! I appreciate you making this article available, the rest of the site is also high quality. Have a fun.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    December 29, 2020 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. what women should text men dating help

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me.

    http://zionkfysl.blog5.net/37633756/how-often-do-you-text-a-girl-you-just-started-dating-reddit-2021

    December 30, 2020 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. zortilo nrel

    Hi , I do believe this is an excellent blog. I stumbled upon it on Yahoo , i will come back once again. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and help other people.

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    December 31, 2020 at 03:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Margene

    Incredible points. Outstanding arguments.
    Continue the amazing spirit.

    my web page ... passport wallet insert for travelers notebook leather

    December 31, 2020 at 04:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Ashley Mcphillips

    My spouse and IWeMy partner and I stumbled over here coming from afrom aby a different web pagewebsitepageweb address and thought I mightmay as wellmight as wellshould check things out. I like what I see so now i amnow i'mi am just following you. Look forward to going overexploringfinding out aboutlooking overchecking outlooking atlooking into your web page againyet againfor a second timerepeatedly.

    https://www.designspiration.com/phonescreenmagnifiers/

    December 31, 2020 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. what messaging discreetly text system should i use when i use dating apps

    Outstanding post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic? I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Many thanks!

    https://topnotchdatingtips.com/textdating/the-best-way-to-get-a-boy-to-chase-you/

    December 31, 2020 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Bernita Kroesing

    What colleges/universities are best for english literature and creative writing?

    https://twitter.com/straininfoonli1/status/1308027827057561600

    December 31, 2020 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. seo expert brisbane

    My programmer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using Movable-type on various websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform. I have heard great things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    https://maps.google.com.sb/https://www.aauwto.org/intro-to-search-engine-optimisation-seo/

    December 31, 2020 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Malik Dilallo

    How do you delete media files with apostrophes from Joomla?

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/kmkowalsky/

    January 1, 2021 at 07:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. zortilo nrel

    I just like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more right here regularly. I'm rather certain I’ll learn plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

    http://www.zortilonrel.com/

    January 1, 2021 at 10:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. kết hợp quần kaki với giày thể thao

    This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

    https://cse.google.it/url?q=https://footballbh.net/2020/09/17/the-most-loved-major-football-leagues-in-the-world/

    January 1, 2021 at 12:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. emergency plumber near me see here now

    I was just looking for this info for a while. After six hours of continuous Googleing, at last I got it in your web site. I wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that don't rank this kind of informative sites in top of the list. Usually the top sites are full of garbage.

    http://www.montananewsonline.com/news/story/223588/ace-contractors-plumbers-handles-all-local-plumbing-service-needs-in-san-diego.html

    January 1, 2021 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. what is how to optimize content quickly

    Terrific post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I'd be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thank you!

    https://www.stafaband4.info/downloadmp3/RCwZ9p0Di8o/overview-of-frase-io.html

    January 1, 2021 at 19:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. hair removal

    Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

    https://chart.googleapis.com/chart?chs=150×150&cht=qr&chl=https://www.yellowpages.com/scottsdale-az/mip/elite-laser-care-481113625?laser

    January 1, 2021 at 22:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Sherell Schan

    I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures. Maybe you could space it out better?

    http://mastersea.it/web/index.php?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&task=user&id=169190

    January 1, 2021 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Van Schlesselman

    It'sIt isIts not my first time to visitgo to seepay a visitpay a quick visit this websiteweb sitesiteweb page, i am visitingbrowsing this websiteweb sitesiteweb page dailly and takegetobtain nicepleasantgoodfastidious datainformationfacts from here everydaydailyevery dayall the time.

    https://trello.com/bestearscopes

    January 2, 2021 at 01:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. tile 7m

    Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually know what you're talking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly additionally talk over with my site =). We could have a link alternate agreement among us!

    https://maps.google.ba/url?q=https://topvnbet.com/ibet88/

    January 2, 2021 at 05:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. 제주출장안마

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't disappoint me just as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I really thought you would have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you can fix if you weren't too busy seeking attention.

    https://pasikamed.ru/user/l8oxyzf582

    January 2, 2021 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. windows product key

    Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

    https://cse.google.com.qa/url?q=https://www.win10productkey.com

    January 2, 2021 at 22:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. 제주출장안마

    Everything is very open with a precise description of the challenges. It was truly informative. Your site is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    https://pastaflare34.tumblr.com/post/634785373872144384/starting-up-a-home-based-business

    January 2, 2021 at 23:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. pur-dream sleep cool pillow

    I feel that is one of the so much significant information for me. And i'm glad studying your article. However should observation on few normal issues, The site style is great, the articles is in reality great : D. Good process, cheers

    https://girdlecast2.doodlekit.com/blog/entry/12342013/what-are-keywords-for-seo

    January 3, 2021 at 03:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. tactical staff reviews

    Usually I don't read article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice post.

    https://www.diigo.com/profile/haynestobin0

    January 3, 2021 at 07:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. windows 10 pro product key free

    Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it's really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

    http://als.anits.edu.in/members/karateear98/

    January 3, 2021 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Visit Website

    Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing on your feed and I am hoping you write once more very soon!

    https://loafcocoa21.bravejournal.net/post/2020/12/31/How-to-Buy-Windows-7-Home-Premium-Product-Key-at-cheap-Cost

    January 3, 2021 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. 수원출장

    That is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate informationÖ Many thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!

    http://www.sa-live.com/merror.html?errortype=1&url=https://ricardowcei.bloggersdelight.dk/2020/11/20/become-an-expert-on-suweonculjang-by-watching-these-5-videos/

    January 3, 2021 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Eldridge Valenzuela

    If you would like to improve your experience simply keep visiting this site and be updated with the most up-to-date gossip posted here.

    http://bit.ly/3hFz4mB

    January 3, 2021 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. local seo brisbane

    Greetings! Quick question that's completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when viewing from my iphone4. I'm trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. Cheers!

    http://images.google.com.sg/url?q=https://www.gozapit55.com/how-long-does-seo-take/

    January 3, 2021 at 23:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. top seo brisbane

    Hi, i believe that i noticed you visited my web site so i got here to “return the desire”.I am attempting to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its good enough to make use of a few of your ideas!!

    http://images.google.bg/url?q=https://www.aauwto.org/intro-to-search-engine-optimisation-seo/

    January 4, 2021 at 06:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. windows best buy

    Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your post seem to be running off the screen in Internet explorer. I'm not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I'd post to let you know. The style and design look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Many thanks

    http://rispondipa.it/index.php?qa=user&qa_1=listpickle07

    January 4, 2021 at 06:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. 수원출장

    http://bookmarkloves.com/story6639660/result-in-point-therapy-is-quite-effective-in-treating-several-painful-conditions

    January 4, 2021 at 10:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. purchase windows 10 product key

    Everyone loves what you guys are up too. Such clever work and exposure! Keep up the great works guys I've included you guys to my personal blogroll.

    http://board4me.com/user/profile/158036

    January 4, 2021 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.