Will I have a girlfriend before I turn 35, and if so how will we meet?
Yes, via "traditional dating apps" (e.g. Hinge, Tinder).
Yes, via other parts of the internet (e.g. manifold.love, date-me docs).
Yes, via "real life" (e.g. work, hobbies).

Resolves "Yes, via [how we met]" if/when I'm in a relationship before the end of 2030, otherwise resolves "No" at the end of 2030. I won't bet on this market.

(My birthday isn't actually on New Year's, since "what's your birthday" is a common security question, but 2030 is the year I turn 35.)

I'm a heterosexual male, and have never been in a relationship before. Feel free to ask relevant questions about me in the comments, though of course I might not answer anything that's too personal.

Get Ṁ600 play money
Sort by:

Am I the only person who finds it interesting that this market calls dating apps the "traditional" way to meet people?

Compared to stuff like manifold.love, I mean.

bought Ṁ30 Yes, via "real life"... YES

I'm optimistic for you, but I wouldn't focus this as an intrinsic want or need. Instead try to spend as much time in the physical world as possible and try to talk to more strangers.

Less time on Manifold, apps, etc. Mitigate screen time.

I think you’d make an excellent partner, but I also think you’re bringing a counter-productive vibe at the moment. I don’t know you well enough to put my finger on it, but it’s just what I’m picking up here.

I’ll share what helped me. YMMV.

Only date high IQ, hyper-rational women who can get shit for themselves if they want it (are not needlessly materially dependent on you or anyone else. Same goes for emotional dependence). Forget whatever other criteria you have for women. Like music taste or favorite books or favorite movies or religion or lack thereof. Even physical things that you initially think are deal makers or breakers. People overweigh all of that and it doesn’t really matter compared to a healthy relationship. One exception: favor women that had a good relationship with their father, or had plenty of therapy and gained equanimity about it if she had a bad relationship with her father.

Rejection is cool. Even if you like whoever rejects you, it’s still cool. It’s cool because you can be happy being alone. If you can’t do that last part, if you can’t be happy being alone, then you’ll have a hard time being in a relationship because you’ll always be afraid of rejection. If you’re not happy alone, figure out why.

If you don’t already know attachment theory read up on attachment theory. If secure attachment doesn’t describe you, do therapy or do meditation or live in cave or do whatever you need to do until it does.

Every word of “I Want You, But I Don’t Need You” by Momus, or the Amanda Palmer cover if you prefer.

None of this is intended to be personal, just my generic advice to smart guys who seem like they should be in a relationship but aren’t—I was there and this was what helped.

One exception: favor women that had a good relationship with their father, or had plenty of therapy and gained equanimity about it if she had a bad relationship with her father. - say more?

bought Ṁ5 Yes, via "real life"... YES

Not op but I would guess that hating the main male figure in her life is a predictor for relationship issues

would this also apply to males with bad relationship with their mums or female siblings?

I’m an example of the second case here, with the genders reversed. My mother, while she had good intentions and laudable qualities, was physically and emotionally abusive to me. She also died of cancer when I was in middle school.

I would find myself attracted to women (or relationships with them) where the abuse repeated but also in which I was desperately afraid of losing them. So I would push very hard to keep abusive relationships together. For a long time I ignored my history with my mother being a causal factor there as it seemed too cliche and Freudian. But after a lot of therapy and introspection, I have to admit it played a very significant role.

Part of the solution was to date people I wasn’t attracted to in the way that I was attracted to previous partners. Overtime I developed a sense of disgust when a feeling of attraction in me arose that was of the kind that got me in those relationships. That wasn’t deliberate, it just kind of how it happened working through all of this.

Love, for me now, is almost synonymous with value. Which I realize sounds very cold and transactional in one way, also subjective and imprecise in another. To borrow how Momus phrases it—you want to be wanted and are also with someone who wants to be wanted and you both work to maintain your mutual wantableness in a way supports and improves each others wellbeing.

Sorry if that’s TMI.

@CraigTalbert You seem like a master at reading people, since "high IQ, hyper-rational women who can get shit for themselves if they want it (are not needlessly materially dependent on you or anyone else. Same goes for emotional dependence)" is a remarkably accurate short summary of who I'm looking for, given how little I've said about myself here. So I'll put high weight on any other advice you may have.

I think most people I meet have healthy relationships with their parents anyway.

Agreed about rejection being cool, partly because I'm happy being alone (as you say), and partly because I interpret it as a sign that she knows something I don't about why we're not a good match anyway. (I've put enough thought into and gotten enough feedback on my dating profiles that I don't think it's because I'm selling myself badly.)

Secure attachment describes me.

Heads up, I would be wary of advice that worked for him due to his mentioned maternal abuse if you aren't in the same situation

My equivalent advice would be to search for someone who has a partial but not total overlap in at least a few out of hobbies, interests, views, humour, and neurodivergence, and that after a while knowing them you have reasonably high confidence that there can be mutual enjoying of company, compassionate caring, and trust between you

The consequences of growing up as a half-orphan were much worse than the abuse. I could get soapboxy about that because most people drastically underestimate how much it changes things, likely because they get odd ideas about what it’s like being orphaned from popular fiction.

For people that are interested, The Loss That Is Forever by Maxine Harris is a good book on the topic. But if you’re a half-orphan or orphan reading it, expect it to also be “triggering.”

But, yeah, like I said YMMV.

Thanks for sharing, is there a good online summary of the points made in the book?

Not that I’m aware of. On the general topic, if you have a CRT monitor to watch it on and are familiar with 15 year old pop-culture references, this is a good YouTube series: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3C5B2CF5A89F83E0

I’ve thought often about starting a non-profit for half-orphan advocacy. Say to provide educational materials for half-orphans, maybe also for family and friends of half-orphans. There might be some that exist doing this now. It’s been a long time since I looked.

Right, thanks 👍

Do you have as a life goal get marrried? To have children? The answer to these questions impact your datability as you get into your 30s.

Ideally yes, though as a backup plan I'm also content to just spend more time in my life doing math if I don't meet someone I'd be happy marrying.

bought Ṁ10 No. YES

Why do you think you haven't had a partner before? Will you be making behavioural changes that you haven't done so previously?

There are only a few women who I ever seriously considered wanting to be in a relationship with, and most of them turned out to be lesbian or asexual. (Maybe there are other reasons, but that seems to me like the biggest one.)

I've recently been more active on the "other parts of the internet" dating scene.

Edit: I've been told I should also mention that I'm short.

Maybe if you try dating other women you'll end up liking some of them

To clarify, I meant “seriously considered” as in “seriously considered for right now”. My threshold for going on a first date is much lower than that and includes plenty of heterosexual women.

Ah, so you get plenty of dates, but you're too picky

I don’t get plenty of dates either, and to my knowledge no woman has ever wanted to be in a relationship with me anyway - I just think that’s a secondary bottleneck.

Oh, okay. So to get more dates, join the Optimized Dating discord server, or read the substack.

A large fraction of testable predictions made by OD that I know of have been false in my personal experience. This isn't necessarily an indictment of OD in general, just a sign that I'm probably not a good fit for their particular philosophy of dating.

Such as? Are you against using dating apps for some reason?

The main disagreements that come to mind are with https://optimizeddating.substack.com/p/overfiltering-your-dating-pool. Regarding each of the five points in that post:

1. "Spending so much time dateless will make you bitter and depressed" and "every upcoming date will make you very anxious and stressed-out" are inaccurate in my experience, since I don't feel that I need to be in a relationship. "Dating is a social skill that needs to be trained" strikes me as an oversimplification, since the skill of dating people I'm compatible with is imperfectly correlated with the skill of dating people in general.

2. To the (limited) extent that this is true in my personal experience, it's with people who I thought conceivably had life partner potential anyway.

3. This isn't an argument against filtering, it's an argument for filtering more on some traits and less on others.

4. If this hypothesis were true, it seems like I should've had a positive experience going on a date with someone who's profile I was initially relatively skeptical of. Which hasn't been the case.

5. This isn't an argument against filtering, it's an argument against telling people right away what traits you're filtering on.

I also find the critiques of dating apps in https://www.avabear.xyz/p/is-app-based-dating-ruining-everything persuasive, though not so much so that I'm willing to write off dating apps entirely, given how high "Yes, via traditional dating apps" is trading right now and since I have had a few positive experiences on dating apps.

More related questions