The Modern Landscape of Dating in America

The Manosphere

I’ve been seeing an interesting conversation online right now about dating and relationship dynamics. It seems like as women become more independent, gain rights in society, I’m primarily coming from a Western society standpoint, especially American, become more successful in the workplace, and earn more money, they are also demanding more from the men that they want to date.

What I’m hearing from men, especially the ones in the “manosphere” is that a lot of these women have unrealistic expectations for men. The trope I’ve seen is that modern women want a man that’s a 6-6-6, at least six feet tall, makes a six-figure income, and has a six pack. That’s like the common paradigm that people are using.

Realistically, only there are only 10 to 15% of men in each category. If you look at the men that meet all three criteria, then the percentage of desirable men is even smaller. That’s not accounting for marital status and sexual orientation.

Modern Women

What these men are saying the issue is that it’s not that women want these things, but they demand them and will not seriously date men that do not meet these criteria. When asked why these men will want them or what they “bring to the table” the argument is that these same women list traits that are not typically at the top of these men’s lists. These traits include highly educated and successful careers. The rebuttal is that what men, especially “high value” men, want women that are physically attractive i.e. in shape, easy to get along with, and feminine.

These types of women are becoming increasingly difficult to come by, so they say. And the more highly educated and successful the women are, the more they overvalue themselves in the dating marketplace. On top of that, they tend to be more disagreeable and uncooperative probably because these were traits they had to have to become more successful in their careers.

I’m just relaying what I’ve been hearing.

Women do not want to date a man that they out-earn. This is a position stated by the manosphere. I do not think I have heard a woman online or in-person refute this either. Even if she does date a man that earns less than her, it will only last for so long and she will expect him to make more eventually, or as they say, they expect him to have ambition.

What Women Really Want?

So, I have seen many women staunchly oppose the position of these men in the manosphere. I have been hard-pressed to find strong arguments against their points, though. I heard women say that these men hate women, or were hurt, or are incels, or are just plain mean, but it was difficult to come across any logical arguments against these points. I wanted to hear the other side of the argument, but I just wasn’t coming across them. The closest I came to finding that was a video discussing the flaws in Kevin Samuels’s approach. (I really tried to find the video, but couldn’t. Sorry. Basically, from what I can remember, she said that he often moves the goal post in his conversations with women.)

What I have heard from women that has been interesting is that a man providing financial security isn’t that important. What they do want from men is for them to be more emotionally available and in tune with their emotions to provide emotional support. They say that if they could get that from men, then that trait alone could outweigh a lot of these other traits.

The Matchmaker that couldn’t take it anymore

This reminds me of something I heard from Rebecca Lynn PopeRebecca Lynn Pope is a YouTube content creator and former matchmaker.  She says she stopped being a matchmaker because a lot of her women clients had unrealistic expectations, and she just couldn’t do it anymore.

One complaint she had about women was that they want their men to communicate with them as their girlfriends do, which was in a sensitive and emotional manner. Pope’s point is, that’s just not how men are and women have to get over that. If you’re looking for a man to communicate to you how your girlfriends do, you will always be disappointed.

I think that’s interesting because, on the one hand, Rebecca Lynn Pope and many men are saying that men are “wired” a certain way or they are not biologically meant to be emotional. Contrary to that, I am hearing many women say that men are conditioned to be stoic and out of touch with their emotions. This is essentially a nature vs. nurture argument.

I think there is probably room for men to be more in tune with their emotions, but the two questions remain: 1) what is the limit to this? And 2) how common is it for women to actually like this once they get it? For context, some say that women say they want this, but when they actually date a man that is more emotionally expressive, they are turned off.

Why Modern Marriages Fail

There is an episode of the podcast Hidden Brain that discusses why marriages today fail. The basic idea is that as conditions in society have improved, people, especially women, have begun looking for their romantic relationships to fulfill them more. In the past, marriage served a basic function, survival. Two people working together and potentially producing offspring that could also work could take care of a household better. This is especially true in agrarian societies; before the industrial revolution, a lot of people worked on farms and the more hands one had to work, the more likely you were to survive. Marriage fulfilled this purpose. For the upper classes, marriage served as a way to create alliances with other families. The idea of marrying for love was not a prevalent concept.

Thinking about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, at the bottom are basic needs such as food, water, and shelter. At the top is self-actualization or the fulfillment of one’s talents and potential. As countries developed and basic needs were easier to obtain, people looked for the next stages within their marriages. That’s when you saw the idea of marrying for love become more prevalent.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Now, we’re getting to a point where we can focus more on some of those higher needs just as human beings and as a consequence, we are looking for the fulfillment of those same needs from our partners.

The idea from the podcast is that it all is just becoming too much. We are expecting too much from our partners. A lot of people I’ve seen online have been saying that, but I think it’s important that relationship experts or anthropologists are coming to this conclusion as well.

These traits that we are looking for in our partners we used to get from an entire village. We got bits and pieces of from several different people. All of these people would help us reach those different rungs of Maslow’s hierarchy pyramid. That’s why you see a lot of couples either getting divorced or not moving towards marriage in the first place. We’re just expecting too much from one other person. Studies show that women, at least in America, initiate 70-80% of divorces. How much of the divorce rate can be attributed to men evolving to become better partners and how much can be attributed to women expecting too much from their relationships?

Where do we go from here?

Now, I think the new question is to ask is what is reasonable to ask from our partners? Sure, asking our partners to help us reach self-actualization may be too much, but surely we can ask for more than food, shelter, and sex. One thing seems certain; we need to move back to building stronger communities, maintaining platonic relationships, not feeling guilty if we rely on them for some of our needs, and accepting our partners for who they are.

This post is a combination of previous posts on this site.

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