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 (2,694 Responses)
  1. Camper Repair Near Me

    Spot on with this write-up, I honestly think this web site needs a great deal more attention. Iíll probably be returning to read through more, thanks for the info!

    http://www.boosterblog.es/votar-12428-11629.html?adresse=ocrvshop.com

    June 29, 2021 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 먹튀검증사이트

    After exploring a few of the blog posts on your site, I honestly appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I added it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my website as well and let me know what you think.

    https://carehyena6.bladejournal.com/post/2021/06/20/Which-Exactly-Are-Low-Hands-at-a-casino

    June 29, 2021 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. 창원출장마사지

    Everything is very open with a precise description of the issues. It was really informative. Your website is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    http://named.com/go.php?url=https://articlescad.com/20-questions-you-should-always-ask-about-before-buying-it-1373631.html

    June 29, 2021 at 01:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. 먹튀사이트

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Thanks for providing this information.

    http://www.zerobywssd.com/home.php?mod=space&uid=2683542

    June 29, 2021 at 03:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Rv Wrap Shop

    Everyone loves it when people get together and share opinions. Great site, continue the good work!

    http://register.scotland.org/Subscribe/WidgetSignup?url=http://ocrv.pro/

    June 29, 2021 at 03:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Van Frame Repair Shop

    http://rank.2style.net/out.php?id=rinoda&url=http://ocrv.xyz/

    June 29, 2021 at 04:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Repair Mission Viejo

    Very good article. I am dealing with some of these issues as well..

    http://www.week.co.jp/skion/cljump.php?clid=129&url=http://newportcatalina.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 04:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Mercedes Sprinter Steering Gear Repair

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a top notch articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I hesitate a lot and don't seem to get anything done.

    http://portal.mbsfestival.com.au/eshowbag/redirect.php?type=website&url=https://www.www.ocrvmotorsports.net/

    June 29, 2021 at 04:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. www.pharmaceptica.com

    hydroxychloroquine treats what https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 04:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Ezra

    Verify out their program’sfrequently asked questions pagefor far more details.

    My page Ezra

    June 29, 2021 at 05:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. pharmaceptica

    sulfur effects on body https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    https://go.stroeermediabrands.de/go.php?t=https://ocrv.today/

    June 29, 2021 at 06:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Nearest RV Repair

    Hello! I could have sworn Iíve been to this blog before but after going through many of the posts I realized itís new to me. Nonetheless, Iím certainly happy I found it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back often!

    https://www.sukebe-massage.net/i2/redirect.php?tourl=https://www.ocrv.club/

    June 29, 2021 at 06:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 창원출장마사지

    I like looking through a post that will make men and women think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

    http://massage1meggurihpn.cavandoragh.org/3-common-reasons-why-your-chang-wonchuljang-isn-t-working-and-how-to-fix-it

    June 29, 2021 at 06:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 먹튀검증

    Next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not disappoint me as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, but I actually believed you would have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something you can fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.

    https://wanelo.co/glassview87

    June 29, 2021 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. have a peek here

    Thank you, I have recently been searching for info about this topic for ages and yours is the best I have discovered till now. But, what about the bottom line? Are you sure about the source?

    https://belindasays.biz/

    June 29, 2021 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. RV Repairs Nearby

    Hi there, I do believe your site could possibly be having browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Besides that, fantastic site!

    http://reklama.karelia.pro/url.php?banner_id=1864&area_id=143&url=https://ocrvcenter.com

    June 29, 2021 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Repairs Near Me

    https://www.wescomfinancial.com/info/redirect.aspx?url=https://ocrvmotorsports.life

    June 29, 2021 at 10:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. 먹튀검증커뮤니티

    I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

    https://splice.com/piketarget44

    June 29, 2021 at 10:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. www.pharmaceptica.com

    tadalafil from india reviews https://pharmaceptica.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. 먹튀사이트

    You've made some decent points there. I checked on the web for more info about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.

    https://pastebin.fun/hoirem9mju

    June 29, 2021 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. 먹튀검증커뮤니티

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the best sites on the net. I'm going to highly recommend this blog!

    https://game-flipper.com/member.php?action=profile&uid=23482

    June 29, 2021 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Repair Shops Near Me

    http://kank.o.oo7.jp/cgi-bin/ys4/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=569&url=http://ocrv.org

    June 29, 2021 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 먹튀검증

    Itís hard to find knowledgeable people for this subject, however, you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    https://cults3d.com/fr/utilisateurs/tonguekey4

    June 29, 2021 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. 포항출장

    I love looking through a post that will make people think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

    https://forum.zhcash.org/member.php?action=profile&uid=7368

    June 29, 2021 at 14:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. 먹튀검증업체

    I needed to thank you for this fantastic read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I've got you bookmarked to check out new things you postÖ

    https://telegra.ph/How-To-Perform-Fan-Tan-06-20

    June 29, 2021 at 14:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. garage door installation

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

    https://www.gwspsc.org/

    June 29, 2021 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Mercedes Camper Van Repair

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and the rest of the website is also very good.

    http://promo.pertinger.com/?URL=https://fleetservicesocrv.com

    June 29, 2021 at 19:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. 먹튀검증

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe that this website needs a lot more attention. Iíll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the information!

    https://king-wifi.win/wiki/An_Easy_Game_of_Casino_Card_Games

    June 29, 2021 at 20:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. www.pharmaceptica.com

    tadalafil citrate https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. 먹튀검증커뮤니티

    You have made some really good points there. I looked on the web for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.

    https://pbase.com/topics/baccarat3memorysatin0/how_to_make_a_french_boule

    June 29, 2021 at 21:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. pharmaceptica.com

    erectile dysfunction and radiation treatment https://www.pharmaceptica.com/

    June 29, 2021 at 22:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    This excellent website certainly has all the info I needed concerning this subject and didnít know who to ask.

    http://alborz.arsheet.ir/Redirect.php?url=https://ocrvshop.com

    June 29, 2021 at 23:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. 먹튀검증

    A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you should publish more on this subject matter, it might not be a taboo matter but generally folks don't talk about such topics. To the next! All the best!!

    https://backforgood.faith/wiki/The_Best_Way_to_Play_Baccarat

    June 29, 2021 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. 포항출장마사지

    Itís hard to find well-informed people on this topic, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    http://183.almatybala.kz/user/casino6e9asecn992

    June 29, 2021 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. 먹튀검증

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the greatest sites on the net. I'm going to recommend this web site!

    https://inchrose2.werite.net/post/2021/06/21/Total-Rules-of-Poker-Tournament-Poker

    June 30, 2021 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. 포항출장마사지

    After looking into a few of the blog articles on your web page, I truly appreciate your technique of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Please check out my website too and tell me what you think.

    https://padlet.com/casino0b9pbfek924/Bookmarks

    June 30, 2021 at 03:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. 먹튀검증

    Your style is unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from. Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this page.

    https://www.misterpoll.com/users/pinttomato515

    June 30, 2021 at 03:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Frieghtliner Sprinter Abs Module Repair

    https://www.tjgportnet.com/__stools.aspx?url=https://www.sprinterrepairnearme.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 04:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Sprinter Repair Orange County

    After looking over a handful of the blog articles on your site, I seriously like your way of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my web site too and tell me your opinion.

    http://localbusiness.shelbystar.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=fleetrepairshops.com

    June 30, 2021 at 05:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Sprinter Van Maintenance Shop

    Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you spending some time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

    https://webhosting-wmd.hr/index?URL=https://boxtruckrepairshop.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 05:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Van Upgrades

    Wonderful article! We are linking to this particularly great post on our website. Keep up the great writing.

    https://www.d-style.biz/feed2js/feed2js.php?src=https://www.ocrvfleetservices.com

    June 30, 2021 at 05:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    http://kgdenoordzee.be/gbook/go.php?url=https://ocrvmotorcoachsales.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 06:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Extended Van Repair Shop

    Everything is very open with a precise explanation of the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is very useful. Thanks for sharing!

    https://deairank.mistypark.com/02/out.cgi?id=ami26&url=https://www.sprinterrepairnearme.com/

    June 30, 2021 at 07:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Nearby RV Repair

    http://widget.vogel.de/redirect/redirect.cfm?pk=46&target=https://www.ocrv.today/

    June 30, 2021 at 08:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. 구미출장

    Iím amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog thatís both educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I stumbled across this during my search for something relating to this.

    http://geesegarlic1.unblog.fr/2021/04/29/deep-tissue-massage-therapy-where-would-i-take-this-great-massage-technique/

    June 30, 2021 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Repair Nearby

    I was more than happy to uncover this great site. I want to to thank you for ones time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and I have you book marked to look at new stuff on your blog.

    http://www.thaiall.com/cgi/clicko.pl?20819&ocrv.pro/

    June 30, 2021 at 09:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Nearest RV Repair

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you should write more about this subject matter, it may not be a taboo subject but generally folks don't discuss these issues. To the next! All the best!!

    http://login.mediafort.ru/autologin/mail/?code=14844x02ef859015x290299&url=https://ocrv.club

    June 30, 2021 at 11:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. 먹튀

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Thanks!

    https://baccarat8fridgeradar09.over-blog.com/2021/06/how-the-best-casino-games-make-money.html

    June 30, 2021 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. 경주출장

    You have made some decent points there. I looked on the net to learn more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.

    http://www.errorbase.net/index.php?qa=user&qa_1=cactusbait3

    June 30, 2021 at 12:33 | 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.