Dealing with a Major Personal Crisis

post by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-20T01:36:13.962Z · score: 16 (25 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 57 comments

This is the earlier promised post about Dealing with a Major Personal Crisis. Please continue reading there but comment here.

The reasons for posting it this way are explained at the end of the link. I hope this approach does what I want it to.

 

57 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-01-20T15:51:30.003Z · score: 18 (38 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't have the experience you do, but this is what I think:

As a man, in some sense, you are forever alone. You are expected to be a pillar for others, and you can take pride in being one, but you won't get your own one -- especially not from you female partner, when another attractive male is around. Because this is how human attraction is wired: as a man, independence makes you attractive, dependence makes you unattractive. Situations like the one you described create a vicious circle, because the more you need support, the less likely you are to get it, precisely because needing support makes you less attractive.

(To avoid absolute terms: It is a sign of a good relationship that you can get moderate amounts of support. But that's only on a good day, and in a limited amount. Don't try this on a wrong day. And don't get used to it... because sooner or later the wrong day will come and you may not notice it.)

In some sense, men are competing all their lives. On a lucky day, we are allowed to run less quickly. But it's always about what value we can provide. Being sad or begging - that's no value. It's not about what you need; it's about what you can give... or threaten to withhold. The proper expression of jealousy is one that makes the partner think "I am getting some value from this relationship, and I don't want to risk losing it". If the partner merely thinks "oh, I see he is suffering... however, I have a duty to myself to make myself happy", such jealousy only hurts your position.

show signs of love, fondness, affection

To put it bluntly, here you have mistaken your needs for her needs. It was you who wanted to be loved, to be treated with affection. It is a very natural mistake; many people do it instinctively.

What you probably should have done is to find some interesting things to do, and to do them without her. To report feeling great and having a good time. With some hints that other women are interested in you (but you, of course, prefer her). This is what would make her think that maybe she could lose something. -- I realize that this requires a lot of mental strength, and is probably impossible in a given situation; especially if you wait too long.

The worst part is that if you look at it from the punishment/reward viewpoint, you were rewarding her for the actions that hurt you. She received the attention from the new guy and the attention from you. And I'd bet you also did most of the work at home. You contributed to her having a perfect honeymoon... with the new guy. (This is just my guess, but it's based on my model that you tried hard to do everything to make her happy.) -- Again, a better strategy would be to leave a lot of work for her, so she is somewhat tired and angry when dating the other guy.

I considered polyamory.

You mean the kind where also you have alternative partners, or only the kind where she does. What specific steps did you do to obtain the alternative partners for you? -- In other words, were you trying to find a new fair model for you both, or were you just torturing yourself and experimenting how far can you bend before you break?

I was shown the truth. Told unambiguously that she did love another. That I was powerless and was completely at her mercy.

First part was true, the second part was a crippling lie. You could have learned about how to navigate relationships from a male-friendly source. If the "experienced moderator" did not suggest this, I would consider it an evidence of huge incompetence. To put it bluntly, while you waited for her decision, you could have fucked the proverbial ten other women. And you would feel much better, like a valuable human being. And the ironic part is that afterwards you would have a greater chance of winning her back.

If she still loves me I want to believe that she still loves me. If she doesn't love me any more I want to believe that she doesn't love me any more.

This assumes that whether she loves you is fixed, and your reactions do not influence it (which is a crappy way to treat relationships in general); so all you can do is passively learn the fact and helplessly accept it.

I got along much better with her. I could set boundaries (which I previously couldn't; before I'd rather compromise or retreat). And the boundaries were accepted. A clear "no" worked much better than "I will try my best" before.

PUA 101. Congratulations for being able to discover it on your own. But your life would be better if you knew it sooner.

Congratulations for not moving out. Seem like even the law prefers to side with the stronger guy; or more precisely, has a strong status quo bias. If you showed weakness by moving out, the court would simply bless the status quo, because that would be the easiest thing to do.

Assuming that saving your relationship was not an option, you probably got the best possible result, which is impressive. I hope you'll find more peace, friendship, and a new partner (or multiple partners, if you wish -- you have no obligations now).

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-20T18:23:44.755Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Quite a long answer.

Being sad or begging - that's no value. [...] such jealousy only hurts your position.

Sure. But showing these signs can also trigger empathy and altruism. If her love for me had been genuine or stronger it might have turned her without me forcing her. In this way I got feedback making me update toward her loving me less.

show signs of love, fondness, affection

To put it bluntly, here you have mistaken your needs for her needs. It was you who wanted to be loved, to be treated with affection. It is a very natural mistake; many people do it instinctively.

Sure those were my needs. But I didn't do it to that end. Sure it was on my list and sure I used it instinctively. But I quickly learned that it didn't work.

What you probably should have done is to find some interesting things to do, and to do them without her. To report feeling great and having a good time.

Wouldn't have worked. Could have worked if applied for a longer time earlier (together with other Alpha traits). My feelings for her were so strong at that time I likely couldn't have done anyway .

The worst part is that if you look at it from the punishment/reward viewpoint, you were rewarding her for the actions that hurt you.

That is correct. Nonetheless at that point didn't know better. Or conceivably me being still so much attached to her this was unavoidable to achieve sufficient tension to in the end snap me.

I considered polyamory.

You mean the kind where also you have alternative partners, or only the kind where she does. [...] Were you trying to find a new fair model for you both, or were you just torturing yourself and experimenting how far can you bend before you break?

No I wasn't torturing myself. Never have. I can endure tension but in the sense of being at ones limit not beyond.

It would have been an entirely fair model. I know because we had talked about such things and I knew her standpoint. I just didn't know how I'd feel with it actually. I didn't plan to have other partners but wouldn't have excluded it in priciple. I just wouldn't have pursued it actively.

That I was powerless and was completely at her mercy.

[That] part was a crippling lie.

Probably I shouldn't have condensed that dialog so much. And consider that it was told to us both at the same time so she saw the scope of her behavior. Anyway. Nothing short of a video will probably suffice to render the involved emotions.

It didn't cripple me. He probably knew. It pushed me over the edge of my nearly unconditional love for her. Without it I might have further endured and endured. It broke the asymmetry.

You could have learned about how to navigate relationships from a male-friendly source.

'''This is valuable advice I already skimmed shortly,''' Reflecting on it during our relationship I must have sent out the strongest Beta signal you can imagine but almost no Alpha. I was already exploring in this direction (having ordered Neil Strauss a few weeks ago).

And the ironic part is that afterwards you would have a greater chance of winning her back.

But actually I don't want her back! Being left by my unconditional love for her I see that she had not reciprocated comparably in the relationship (except if you count her enduring unhappiness and ).

Maybe with more and/or better advice I could have manipulated her to stay. But I wouldn't have done so without her consent. It is not like we didn't know about our trouble spots. We did try. Multiple times. maybe there will be time when this is obvious knowledge (which I doubt) but we didn't know and were left on a low plateau.

A clear "no" worked much better than "I will try my best" before.

But your life would be better if you knew it sooner.

I knew it sooner. She told me often enough to say "no" clearly. But you still don't get how much I was skewed by my love for her. I didn't want to say "no". I wanted badly to satisfy her - more than I was able to. Actually on most points where I avoided a "no" I made progress over time. Taught me a lot. Self-discipline among that.

You know what. It was a major driver behind my achievements. My other main drivers being the children and then my general curiosity. But curiosity doesn't solve problems.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-21T12:11:59.154Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Having though about this male destiny, Alpha+Beta thing a bit more and after recalling being told by relatives "why can't you accept/understand Gods wish for your marriage" I wondered:

Can it be that it is advantageous if the man behaves as the responsible "head of the household" in the biblical sense? Thus that being godo advice for deep reasons. Evopsych reasons actually.

I'm not validating the bible with this. But I wonder what advice from the bible and other old sources should be reconsidered in this light. I mean there was a somewhat recent post that urged to reconsider advice in this direction.

I'm also not invalidating womans rights and equality. It can quite well be that it is on average in the best relationship-stability -interest (evopsych wise) for women to follow this advice too. Or else accept the consequences knowingly (divorce rate and such).

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-01-21T14:06:15.421Z · score: 8 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The reason I like Athol Kay is that in my opinion he understands this part correctly: being a powerful man (Alpha) and being a good father (Beta) are orthogonal traits. Most people seem to believe that they are strongly correlated (halo effect) or anticorrelated (false dilemma). Many PUAs would suggest that the Beta traits (where you apparently excel) are somehow harmful for the Alpha behavior. Athol says otherwise; and unlike most PUAs, he is the one who has a family with kids, so I would trust his expertise on this.

Yes, the Bible quotes are about an Alpha behavior, and it is there because at the times the Bible was written, it was a common sense. (It was before feminism, which succeeded in throwing out the baby with the bath water, and labeling every male assertive behavior as evil.) But I doubt the Bible could be very useful in finding good messages of this kind. Not every message there is good; I assume you are not going to also study tips and tricks on killing your neighbors who don't worship Yahweh properly. And to recognize a good message, you must already know it is good, so you are not actually getting new information, only a confirmation of something you already believe, and perhaps a nice rationalization.

I'm also not invalidating womans rights and equality.

That would be a false dilemma. Whether someone has a right to vote or study science, and what makes one instinctively sexually attracted, are two different things. Men's sexual preferences didn't change just because voting became universal; why should women's?

In my opinion, the proper solution is a mix of responsibility and role-playing. The man should not be the weaker one in the relationship; this is where personal growth is necessary. But beyond that point, I think mere role-playing (rationally recognized by both parties as such) is enough to satisfy the emotional needs and trigger the attraction. Specifically: I have to recognize my boundaries and say a clear "no" when they are threatened. Also I have to make a decision when neither of us wants to. But in the everyday life, when we both want the same thing, I can just pretend it's my unilateral decision, and my girlfriend can pretend to obey me. But if she disagrees, she just plainly says so, and I change "my decision" accordingly. The way the decision is role-played is not necessarily the way it was causally made.

There are two ways a woman can challenge this; and it is necessary to understand the difference. First, being challenged and responding appropriately is an integral part of playing the authority role. Sometimes the woman just says "how about [something that violates your rules]?" and you calmly say "no"; and it's over. This is part of the game, a playful rebellion that by being properly handled confirms the roles. Women do this instinctively, without being aware at the moment what they do. You recognize it afterwards by them not minding being told "no", and actually being happy about it. Or if you fail to react properly, you recognize it afterwards by them being frustrated despite getting what they claimed to want. (This is a completely different situation from when the woman really wants something. In a good relationship you will find a way to communicate the difference, for example she says something like "I am serious about this".) -- Second, she may have learned some harmful memes or had a bad relationship before you, where any dominant behavior from you triggers a mindkilling reaction or a panic mode in her, however a lack of dominant behavior makes you unattractive. I don't know what to do here; I would predict that this relationship doesn't have a chance.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-21T14:34:31.629Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Whether someone has a right to vote or study science, and what makes one instinctively sexually attracted, are two different things. Men's sexual preferences didn't change just because voting became universal; why should women's?

Obviously. But the zeitgeist seems to downplay this truth toward zero.

I will consider your role-playing advice. I'm not sure how to integrate this with honesty and clear communication. And integrated with real life it must be otherwise it will not work or risk become an isolated purpose (which will evolve out of existence). And there are parts that I can enhance to work.

comment by chaosmage · 2014-01-21T14:49:28.987Z · score: 0 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Biblical advice is for an age without therapists, lawyers or police. I can see how under those conditions, an institutionalised position of a head decision maker within the household could have made sense. I cannot see how it merits consideration today.

comment by knb · 2014-01-22T23:25:29.705Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interesting post.

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-01-21T13:09:05.301Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

If the "experienced moderator" did not suggest this, I would consider it an evidence of huge incompetence.

Strong emotions such as broken love can put someone in the stage of huge incompetence.

Even if he would tried to do it the PUA way, I don't think he could have just changed his behavior in a few days. Most people who pick up PUA are very incongruent at the beginning.

comment by shminux · 2014-01-20T20:05:22.179Z · score: 10 (22 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Actually, I feel for her. You were in love, but she simply settled and didn't grow into loving you back. Sharing life with a person you are not physically attracted to for over a decade can be a heavy burden. No wonder she was so desperate, she risked her family for what she never had but always wanted.

That said, your handling of the situation is nothing short of amazing. Hopefully once the dust settles (or even before, given how you are apparently no longer in love with her), you will meet someone you can share intimacy with on equal terms.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-20T23:33:29.469Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

To whoever downvoted this: It is not fair to downvote because someone is taking the side/view of the absent party (and balanced so).

Esp. as shminux is right: It was never easy for her.

comment by Apprentice · 2014-01-22T13:15:05.030Z · score: 30 (30 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's not that people hate your ex and want to downvote all sympathy for her. Rather, this is just one of many manifestations of our ongoing culture war. Roughly speaking, we have two teams:

Team Blue is on board with romantic love and feminism and emphasizes personal autonomy. On this view, a successful love relationship is about finding a person you click with, which could mean any number of quirky things. The problem with your marriage is that your wife was never that into you - which sucked for her. Now that she's found a person she clicks with, the seeds have been sown for more future happiness for all. No-one is really at fault, especially since you have both done your best to minimize disruption for the children.

Team Red is sympathetic to "red pill" advice (Athol Kay etc.), emphasizes biology and is less individualistic. A successful relationship is not primarily about a unique connection between unique individuals - rather it is about acting in accordance with an already existing model of what human males and females desire in each other. A particular necessity is that the male should, where appropriate, display confident and assertive behavior. On this view, our modern society has fallen into a trap (we have some harmful memes floating around, or whatever) where many males become doormats - which makes them unattractive to their wives or potential wives. What ruined your marriage is not that you were somehow inherently the wrong man for your wife - but that society failed to teach you to be assertive when appropriate. (She thought she could bring her lover into your home and you would just conveniently scurry away. This is how little she thought of you.)

You totally could express sympathy to your ex within a Team Red perspective but it would go something like this: "I feel for your wife. She couldn't control her biology and feel attracted to a man who was not displaying sufficient alpha traits." In practice, Team Red views do sometimes come with a certain regrettable bitterness towards women - especially wives who leave their husbands. So a Red-ist may tend to read sympathy to such a woman, if not explicitly framed as Red-ist, as Blue-ist propaganda.

Anyway, the point is that Team Red and Team Blue are locked in a low-grade war on LessWrong. Comments on the relevant issues will often have downvotes as well as upvotes. The comment by shminux is currently at +9, 76% positive, while the comment by Viliam Búr is at +9, 68% positive.

If you are a partisan of this, it is hard not to downvote the opposing team because you feel that they are directly harming people with their counterproductive advice and toxic memes. I don't know if we can work out a downvote ceasefire.

comment by [deleted] · 2014-01-22T17:06:14.825Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Methinks Team Red are right about certain people and Team Blue are right about other people.. I guess the latter are a majority among the general population but the former are a majority among the kind of people who read LW.

I've downvoted comments that sound overconfident about what kind of person the OP's ex-wife is.

As I mentioned elsewhere, beware of other-optimizing.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-01-24T10:46:07.447Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The comment by shminux is currently at +9, 76% positive, while the comment by Viliam Búr is at +9, 68% positive. If you are a partisan of this, it is hard not to downvote the opposing team because you feel that they are directly harming people with their counterproductive advice and toxic memes.

I'd like to say that I believe our comments are not contradictory. In my opinion they merely highlight the different aspects of the situation. To simplify it, shminux said that Gunnar's ex was unhappy in the relationship, so she finally optimized for herself, and maybe because of her choice at the end both will be more happy. I said that Gunnar did some mistakes, and in an alternate reality where he would have and use some "Red Pill" knowledge, the relationship could have been happy for both sides. These statements can both be true in the same universe. The contradiction comes at the level of connotations, whether a passive or active approach is suggested (accepting what happened and hoping for a better opportunity, or strategically learning and changing oneself).

The only thing I object against here is treating "attraction" (of a woman towards a man) as a fixed fact, instead of something the man can (and should, for both partners' sake) influence by his behavior. But even this is not explicitly recommended here; it just irradiates as a background assumption from some comments. So speaking for myself, I don't see "counterproductive advice and toxic memes" here.

My "mission" here was to show Gunnar how his situation seems from my perspective; to offer a potentially useful model. Which parts he agrees or disagrees with, that's his choice which I fully respect. I just want him to act from conscious choice, not from ignorance; but he already was exploring in this direction. Okay, mission accomplished.

(I am kinda surprised about the karma of my top-level comment; I expected it to be close to zero. Even now I think is was not actually caused by the popularity of the presented framework or by my quality of presentation, but mostly by the context of the article: one LW member had a problem, another LW member was trying to help him, so the other members were more likely to upvote and less likely to downvote, even if they didn't agree completely.)

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-01-22T23:37:21.694Z · score: 6 (6 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think "personal autonomy" is a pretty loaded term. I think plenty of people in the PUA/biology camp would also say that they are for personal autonomy.

They are likely to be libertarians politically and want that kind of personal autonomy. Feminist on the other hand are rather liberal and want another kind of personal autonomy.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-22T13:59:36.922Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wasn't aware of this sub factions. Are they real? Are they aware of the distinction?

I tought downvoting for political reasons (and this is kind of sub-politics here) are looked down upon. Problem is: sub-politics is only possible if you already active and have quite some karma to spend.

comment by Ishaan · 2014-01-23T03:24:00.697Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Are they real? Are they aware of the distinction?

"Team red" is reactionary gender ideology group, the "reaction" portion being primarily against 3rd wave feminism. It's a segment of the "manosphere" with ties to the Men's Rights movement and Pick Up Artists. The ideas and values of the "Red" side here are rather similar to the views of old fashioned patriarchal conservatism, but more explicitly articulated and framed around the notion that feminism is the dominant culture (similar to how feminist thought often frames patriarchy as the dominant culture). Being reactionaries, they are of course aware of the distinction - in fact, they created the construct describing the distinction.

The notion of there being a Blue side is a construct of the Redpill subculture. While the Red side actively considers itself the "Red" side and uses "blue" to describe feminism, the majority of people who identify as feminists are unaware of this Red/Blue distinction because the "Red" side is primarily an internet subculture.

The "red" / "blue' distinction is a reference to The Matrix. It is meant to imply that 3rd wave feminists, along with Western culture at large, prefers pleasant romantic lies to harsh biological reality when it comes to gender and sexuality.

downvoting for political reasons

At the risk of seeming to take sides, I will say that there seems there are a few highly active users with reactionary ideas on Lesswrong who seem to think this rule is optional. (Which is not meant to imply that all reactionary users are doing this, or that only reactionaries do this, only that there is clearly an active group of reactionaries who is systematically doing this.)

Although, in this particular case, it's also possible that people just thought that shminux's comments would be hurtful for you to hear at this time.

comment by Apprentice · 2014-01-23T11:43:20.442Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Lots of good points here. In addition to the Matrix analogy (which, as you point out, is hardly a neutral way to frame the divide), keep in mind that in the US, blue and red are also the conventional colors of the left and the right.

We continue to have our little 'reactionary paradox' in that the census results show overwhelming support for feminism, but the discussion on the ground seems oddly 'red'. As you have already suggested this effect might be partially explained by LessWrong's fondness for contrarians.

comment by Apprentice · 2014-01-22T14:36:09.851Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wasn't aware of these sub factions. Are they real?

It's an idealization, to be sure. And I don't think there are cliques meeting in smoke-filled IRC-channels to plot downvoting sprees. But still, I think my comment above describes something real.

Previous discussion here.

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-01-22T23:38:16.916Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I tought downvoting for political reasons (and this is kind of sub-politics here) are looked down upon.

It's theoretically looked down upon, but voting is anonymous so nobody has the chance to actually look down upon people who vote that way.

comment by shminux · 2014-01-20T23:41:41.978Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I must be missing something, why are you talking about fairness and downvoting in your reply?

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-20T23:54:51.317Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I edited the comment to make the intention clear.

comment by Desrtopa · 2014-01-21T20:33:28.792Z · score: 8 (10 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Responding to your comment here

Shouldn't I have made this doubt a topic every now and again until it was resolved and committed? Or rather should I have forced her to fully and explicitly commit to it before the wedding? And left her when she had said "no I can't, I'm not ready"?

No. We were young and we had to give each other a lot. I can say this with confidence now. I didn't lost the true good aspects of our relationship. It was the best choice to make at that time. Many alternatives worlds wouldn't have included so many satisfying purposeful years nor our four great sons. I took the risk at that time. Not fully consciously at the wedding maybe but before that.

I think that the solution you reject here might really have been the best one. Yes, you had good years together, and children who I'm sure you still love, but the alternative to marrying her then would not have been simply spending those years alone, but both of you looking for someone else.

She found someone who seems to more closely suit her preferences after all this time without actively searching (or, if she was, then at least with her search heavily handicapped.) Had you investigated her doubts and refused to move forward if she wasn't confident they were resolved, then she might have found someone else about whom she realized she did not have those doubts much sooner, and entered into a stable relationship with him, and had children who would not have had to see their caretakers separate. And you might have found someone else who was looking, in the long term, for exactly what you were going to provide, and had children with that partner who you would also love, and who would not have had to deal with their caretakers separating.

Some topic on this site years ago discussed a writer who suggested using one's family and particularly one's children as an anchor to one's course in life; if you had chosen differently, you would not have the children you do now, which would be bad since you love your children for being exactly what they are. And another commenter, I think, responded accurately when they said that this is akin to a person who says "I'm glad that I hate spinach, because if I didn't, I would eat it, and I can't stand the stuff."

The course you took probably seemed compelling at the time, and it's much easier to comment in hindsight on the things it might have served you to do differently, but I think it's unwise to devalue the probable alternatives to the choice you made back then.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-21T21:59:41.517Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

An insightful analysis. I think I have to update toward my view being a rationalization.

In fact I have had discussions about this question but nobody else clearly showed that the alternative would necessarily have been to have no kids and no relationship.

What would previous self have said and done with this argument? Contrafactual reasoning is difficult but lets first assume that my previous self had had sound and trustworthy advice about this. And that the most likely prediction for the future would have been essentially the occurrence of such a crisis earlier or later.

In that case my previous self would have considered what would be the best for her. And taken her input about that into account. And her input could have been a) I don't want to lose you but I still cannot promise or b) I don't want to lose you and I do promise with all my strength to love you too or c) I don't want to hurt you more later so better to break up now. Obviously the current state resulted from an implied a). The difference being explicit and aware of the risk which is good in itself.

In case c) I could have let het go. But the missing point is: Could I have forced the choice between only b) and c) on her? b) has the benefit of really committing her thus drastically reducing the risk of our crisis. And c) even though it has the largest spread (hello risk-aversion) might still have a better average than a).

Thus from a rational point of view I should have forced the choice.

But I can tell you: I couldn't have done that. No way. Not in my state of mind at that time. Forcing? Violence? Are we uncivilized barbarians? I learned only later (and at it own costs) that anger and aggression have their place too (I knew it theoretically but not in relation to me in particular).

And if I had also known that I would have been someone else. More the person I am now.

End of the if-then game for today.

comment by moridinamael · 2014-01-20T23:39:40.930Z · score: 5 (11 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

moridinamael dons his Professor Quirrell's Turban of +10 Cynicism.

There is value to be found in experiencing total, brutal betrayal by a supposed loved one.

Once you have passed through all the stages of grief, plus a few years of buffer time, you're able to look back on the self upon whom that disaster befell and wonder at how you could have ever been so trusting.

But you shouldn't be so hard on yourself, because you - anybody, me, you, most people you know, whatever - are raised on Disney movies and romcoms, so you implicitly, by default, view people a certain way. Let's call this view the "fragile angel" view, wherein humans are Basically Good but can become broken and insane by accident or birth.

For a long time you think "your problem" was that you should have spotted this particular "broken angel" coming and protected yourself preemptively. That you should have seen the signs - all so obvious in retrospect, right?

Wrong, usually. The deeper, lonelier truth is that the "fragile angel" view doesn't actually pay rent, and you do much better modeling other people as vicious reptilian warminds with transiently self-aware neocortices stapled on as an afterthought.

["Of course, you should probably compartmentalize this part of yourself in order to remain sane," said the part of moridinamael not wearing the turban, "But it is fundamentally difficult to unlearn this lesson once you feel it in your bones once. Perhaps one requires therapy in order to do so."]

It is a strange place for a wannabe-rational agent to be. One would never wish a disaster upon oneself which wipes out all of one's utility/happiness, but the perspective that is gained in exchange is difficult to obtain any other way. In modern life, where you (usually) don't actually die when your loved ones betray you in this specific way, you might actually come out ahead in the long run! Seriously! You won't make that mistake again, and there will be p-l-enty of opportunities to make it!

comment by Brillyant · 2014-01-21T16:13:55.377Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Wrong, usually. The deeper, lonelier truth is that the "fragile angel" view doesn't actually pay rent, and you do much better modeling other people as vicious reptilian warminds with transiently self-aware neocortices stapled on as an afterthought."

This sort of mental exercise helped me. I read The Selfish Gene and changed my models of people. The replicators are just being themselves, and it drives behavior all the way up. In this sense, even the most personal rejection isn't really that personal. Nothing is "wrong" with anybody. We are all just moving and living and being.

It is hard for a diehard romantic to accept this. But total betrayal by a loved one is brutal indeed. It'll make you read books you never wanted to for fear it would spoil your romantic, fragile angel worldview.

comment by Prismattic · 2014-01-21T01:10:33.898Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The deeper, lonelier truth is that the "fragile angel" view doesn't actually pay rent, and you do much better modeling other people as vicious reptilian warminds with transiently self-aware neocortices stapled on as an afterthought.

This doesn't actually seem to be true, at least economically.

comment by moridinamael · 2014-01-21T01:59:17.718Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Poetic license.

Edit: The cynical Hansonian/Wattsian view is that the neocortex is there to confabulate a rationalization for what the lizard brain decided to do. We cooperate for game theoretic reasons. Then we explain them as being angelic, altruistically driven impulses. Which framing is "true?" Does it matter?

comment by Nornagest · 2014-01-22T18:08:30.263Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

We cooperate for game theoretic reasons. Then we explain them as being angelic, altruistically driven impulses. Which framing is "true?" Does it matter?

Both? I've thought for a while that people are rarely wrong about their motivations, but often think of them as more general than they really are. If someone's going to claim altruistic reasons for doing something cooperative, it's both simpler (from the outside) and less dissonant (from the inside) if their claims correspond to an actual altruistic impulse -- yet those impulses rarely extend to outgroup members.

comment by moridinamael · 2014-01-22T20:41:36.052Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree, one can hold both the conflicting views that "we're all selfish replicators" versus "we're all flawed altruists" like the vase-versus-face interpretation of the Rubin vase or alternate spatial interpretations of a Necker cube. They're both metaphors, basically. Like you say, the danger of overinterpreting the altruistic interpretation is to expect too much altruistic behavior, and the danger of overinterpreting the cynical interpretation is to fail to account for actual love and kindness when you see it.

Incidentally I think HPMOR!Harry and HPMOR!Quirrell do a good job at exemplifying the contrasting arguments for either side ...

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-21T00:07:15.254Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Once you have passed through all the stages of grief, plus a few years of buffer time, you're able to look back on the self upon whom that disaster befell and wonder at how you could have ever been so trusting.

How could I have been so trusting? Easy: I was young. I was idealistic. I was raised humanistically. I though I could solve any problem. And then I fell in love.

And you know what? It was right. We both profited from it. Who can say who profited more. And because we disentangled this sucessfully so far it is no overall loss. Only a comparatively small crevice at the end of a long basically upward ridge.

And indeed I learn a lot from it.

Indeed I think that the aversion I felt as a youth about this confusing love business is gone. I think our bonding circuits can be put to good use if engaged with care.

comment by Eliezer Yudkowsky (Eliezer_Yudkowsky) · 2014-01-21T04:28:46.032Z · score: 1 (7 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

HPMOR!Quirrell does not wear a turban. He has a tie?

comment by CronoDAS · 2014-01-25T09:41:01.197Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But you shouldn't be so hard on yourself, because you - anybody, me, you, most people you know, whatever - are raised on Disney movies and romcoms, so you implicitly, by default, view people a certain way. Let's call this view the "fragile angel" view, wherein humans are Basically Good but can become broken and insane by accident or birth.

Why single out Disney movies? Lots of them have people being betrayed by someone they thought trustworthy. Generally it's obvious to the audience who the villain is, but Disney has been playing around with their formula quite a bit recently - for example, have you seen Frozen?

comment by KnaveOfAllTrades · 2014-01-20T14:04:57.539Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Really well-written, presented, and summarised. I felt like I was following a scaled-down version of your emotional oscillations as I read it.

There do seem to be a lot of gotcha's in law about seemingly neutral actions being a legal admission of guilt or relinquishment. Well done for going with relatives' advice and staying, and generally dealing with the situation well and keeping an unusually clear head.

Looking forward to the rest! I'm not sure how you should notify when they're done; since this is on +6/100% and it'll be a week or two from now, probably just make another post?

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-20T14:51:10.296Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

There do seem to be a lot of gotcha's in law about seemingly neutral actions being a legal admission of guilt or relinquishment.

I can't really say how important the legal effects would be as we navigated clear of them. I just relay annecdotal evidence here. But your behavior esp. the effect on the children would be valued by a court no doubt. The legal consequences will most likely differ a lot between jurisdictions.

I think the key insight here is that one cannot infer from rarity of events to them not being regulated in law. Even the rarest kind of human behavior has complex (legal) rules attached to it if it has lasting consequences. Separating seems like an obvious freedom you should have but it is not that easy.

There were legal aspects that did cause a lot of hassle and work I will come to in the pragmatics section.

probably just make another post?

Yes. I will make another post when the next part is written. Took me much longer (11h hours according to my tracking) than I expected given that I had so much material already at hand. But I underestimated the time it took to give it structure and esp. lookup forgotten references (many I couldn't find again).

comment by Apprentice · 2014-01-20T09:55:13.171Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I like that you didn't move out and I like that you took up fencing.

comment by Brillyant · 2014-01-20T15:25:56.383Z · score: 0 (14 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

You are amazing. Congratulations for your strength.

I hope in objectifying the situation you haven't lost sight of how she is plainly wrong here. The commitment involved in marriage relationships involves a great deal of sacrifice. Both parties commit to forsake others in order to build and grow the bond they have chosen.

She used your willingness to honor that commitment and sacrifice as a stepping stone.

I think it is perfectly reasonable to be civil and respectful of the choices she has made. She is human and merely trying to find happiness, just like everyone else. I admire your efforts to give her the benefit of the doubt. But she made a huge mistake. What message does this send the kids?

In my view, marriage -- and love -- isn't about you. It is about honoring, protecting and encouraging another person, no matter what. I think you are doing that. You are being supportive of whatever makes her happy (not that you "support" this, but she made her decision, and you have respected her freedom to make it) even when it hurt you.

Anyway, I applaud how mature you are being about this situation. But she made a choice that has significant negative consequences for several people. That should not be lost here, I don't think.

comment by Kawoomba · 2014-01-20T16:42:40.681Z · score: 6 (12 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

In my view, marriage -- and love -- isn't about you. It is about honoring, protecting and encouraging another person, no matter what.

Exactly, in your view. Not only are there as many views on marriage as there are people who know of the concept (depending on how finely you granularize), but worse, those views aren't time invariant either. Should a precommitment override a person being miserable, as his/her stance on marriage changes? Each lost year never comes again, who are we to decide his former partner is in the wrong for pursuing her happiness over a loveless marriage?

Even regarding the negative consequences for others, there is much to be said about not staying in an unhappy marriage, e.g. not setting a bad example for the kids: an unhappy spouse who sticks around the "family business" will invariably make for an unhappy mother/father and for a bad role model regarding relationships.

she is plainly wrong here

Who cares? The blame game, while highly popular, has only marginal utility while doing a great deal of harm.

Assigning blame relies on vague and ill-defined fleeting societal ideas du jour (who "owes" whom what) and rarely ends up in anything but "at least, in my personal life story, I can keep on being my own hero".

Looks like they never had true chemistry, staying with him (after he "woo'ed" her) seemed like a rational choice in the bad sense of the word, like her heart wasn't in it. I'm glad for her that she found a spark again (even if it may be an infatuation), and at least he gets a chance to experience the same when it's genuinely reciprocated. We shouldn't confuse the resolution of a previously hidden (or ignored, overlooked) flaw with the creation of said flaw.

ETA: Interesting that Gunnar's own response mirrored this comment so closely (both were written simultaneously).

comment by Brillyant · 2014-01-20T19:58:23.182Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hm. I notice we have very different ideas on this.

As a male in my early 30's, I've observed myself go through these iterations between commitment and freedom. I've got a strong grass-is-always-greener streak in me. When I'm with someone in a relationship, I can feel bored and discontent. When I'm single, I can feel lonely and unfulfilled. I know of many people who feel similar, to some extent.

My view is that it is wise to recognize this about our nature and make commitments accordingly. I see lifelong commitment as exactly that. It makes certain things possible and other things impossible. It provides some opportunities and it requires the sacrifice of others. It is a choice. And it involves ongoing choices. For life.

I'm not particularly concerned with society's views on the issue. I'm speaking about two consenting adults who entered into such a commitment. It is my view that it is very clear she defected when they had made an agreement to always cooperate. That is all I meant. She wins and he loses because she chose to defect and he never stopped cooperating.

I'm very sensitive to the possibility of "falling out of love" with somebody. I worry about it. I must say, however, the older I get, the more I think that love is choice more than a particular feeling. It is a conscious choice, even sometimes despite your feelings, to place someone else's needs above your own. In turn, you make yourself reliant on them to do the same, though you do nothing to enforce that they follow through. You simply hope and trust. It leaves you incredibly vulnerable (See Gunnar's story).

I've had people love me this way and I took advantage of it. And I've loved people this way and they took advantage of it.

I perhaps should have said it that way, instead of saying she was wrong. She took advantage of him. And that is okay. But that was not the commitment they shared, and her breaking that agreement lead to serious consequences for several parties.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2014-01-20T22:26:21.418Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think that love is choice more than a particular feeling. It is a conscious choice, even sometimes despite your feelings, to place someone else's needs above your own. In turn, you make yourself reliant on them to do the same, though you do nothing to enforce that they follow through. You simply hope and trust.

I completely agree with this. Assuming that "place someone else's needs above your own" means that the other person's higher-priority needs are placed above my lower-priority needs (not that any their need is automatically placed above any my need). Sometimes we even do it explicitly with my girlfriend; when we want different things, we ask each other to express how strongly we care about this issue on a scale from 1 to 10; and then we usually follow the choice with the higher number. Of course this system also requires trust.

comment by Brillyant · 2014-01-20T22:44:05.564Z · score: 2 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Assuming that "place someone else's needs above your own" means that the other person's higher-priority needs are placed above my lower-priority needs (not that any their need is automatically placed above any my need).

I suppose I do mean that, though I've never thought of that distinction. Hm. Thanks -- I think you've improved the model in my mind.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-20T23:29:33.941Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And you need some mechanism to avoid skewing only because someone has only slightly stronger priorities.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-20T20:47:19.552Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm very sensitive to the possibility of "falling out of love" with somebody.

I wonder a bit about this "falling our of love".

Obviously it is not that the 'chemistry' no longer matches. Do you mean infatuation wearing off? Which it obviously does for most people withing months. Or is it a bonding (which seems to have a strong neurophysiological basis) that is breaking?

To clarify: For us chemistry didn't match very well. I fell heavily in love with her so I assume that was infatuated. And also obviously I bonded very strongly.

But I could rekindle the feeling of infatuation at will at any time. I could willingly flood myself with happiness. But I used it sparingly. I feared that it'd wear off if used too much or would bind to the wrong triggers. To keep it during crisis I reattached it to the children and I can still call it. So I say yes. Obviously at least that part is subject to will,

My bonding on the other hand didn't seem to wear off with time and only broke under extreme pressure..

So "falling out of love" doesn't really make sense to me.

comment by Brillyant · 2014-01-20T21:40:56.172Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think of it now as the result of the failure to maintain a shared sufficient intentional conscious effort to the relationship by each partner.

The infatuation wears off. Felt affection isn't always consistent -- there are mornings when you wake up and don't even like the person lying next to you, let alone feel in love with them.

Yet, you keep putting effort into love. Into being creative and helpful and courteous, etc. When that stops, there is the possibility for the relationship to wither.

In that sense, I don't really think about "falling out of love" in the same way anymore. I still have a sense of worry about what that might feel like. But as I get older, I'm more aware of how fickle feelings can be. I'm aware love has a lot to do with choice.

The other thing is this: There is some huge chunk of the "successful" relationships out there that are functioning nowhere near what you would see as successful. Just because two people share a mortgage and have kids doesn't mean they are fulfilled or happy.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-20T19:23:12.321Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Looks like they never had true chemistry.

Along time ago we consciously noticed that and tried to work around it. And we saw some improvements. But not enough to counter her dissatisfaction. And surely not enough to counter infatuation esp. as it was mutual.

at least he gets a chance to experience the same when it's genuinely reciprocated.

Now that I know much more about these processes I wonder how I can hack them such as to maximize the chance of finding someone to mututally fall in love with. And I mean genuinely.

I tried to estimate the likelihood two 'random' people match in chemistry and 'infatuability'. I came up with numbers in the range of 1:20 to 1:150 for each and wonder about the correlation. As I carefully kept the ability to trigger feelings of infatuation (at least a psychophysical fragment of it) I hope that I can improve chances. Maybe I will write a post on that some time.

comment by ThisSpaceAvailable · 2014-01-24T01:14:34.960Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I find it interesting that on The Bachelor/ette, it's quite rare for any of the women (or, on The Bachelorette. the men) to say "Meh, I'm not into you". Maybe they just don't show it, but it seems like all of the women want to stay. And the bachelor usually finds it difficult to send the women home. It's a highly artificial situation, and the women may be confusing their competitive drive to "win" for an interest specific to the man, but it does seem like a large percentage of pairings, in the right situation, can become infatuated.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-24T08:16:19.526Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

The brain must have some way to make high level valuations influence the altimate emotion-circuit 'click' into infatuation. Otherwise you would just become infatuated just by randomly sitting next to someone matching 'physically' (that obviously also happens but is less frequent and probably caused by a correspondingly stronger physical component).

So whatever the pathway is leading from high level to low level it needs learned patterns like "is smart", "can provide", "controls the show", "makes nice compliments", And the decomposition of these patterns. And therefore you can surely influence these parts by hacking e.g. a compartment were someone matches such patterns.

And then there is the trick to enhance the physical component. As most low level signals show linear correlation of magniture (classical: shouting louder gets more attention) you can also enhance signals by exposing each other to stronger physical signals (being closer, more physical work).

comment by Nornagest · 2014-01-24T01:25:20.281Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've never watched the show, but if it works anything like the mental model of it that I've built through cultural osmosis, I wouldn't be surprised if they were filtering for compatibility in some way before they finalize the selections. Closer competition makes for good TV; the network's essentially throwing away free money if a non-trivial number of the contestants give it up as a bad job before they can cause drama.

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-01-21T13:17:48.387Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I tried to estimate the likelihood two 'random' people match in chemistry and 'infatuability'.

That assumes that people fall in love based on their intrinsic attributes. I believe that it has much more to do with how they interact with each other.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-21T13:35:07.582Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Sure. Absolutely.

The idea was not to estimate the posterior probability of falling in love.

The idea was the prior probabilities I do not have (much) control over.

Checking for a match in chemistry is relatively easy. There even used to be social protocols to that end (involving e.g. handkerchiefs). Nowadays I goes the simplest approach would be to go out jogging together.

Checking for a match in infatuation also seems to be doable. Infatuated people can be spotted easily and I think I can notice early when I am falling. Maybe even speed up that.

Note I know that I'm sounding totally unromantic here. To make this clear: I do not intend to run a checklist on a date. That wouldn't be a winning strategy either. It is more an analything getting a feel for the complexities involved. As I lack practical experience with dates I can use some spare time to resolve some statistical and 'decision theoretic' aspects that passibly couldn't even be learned by simply doing dates. Sure I will not get around those.

Consider this: How many dates would you guess are needed before you find an acceptable match? Obviously this depends on 'acceptable'. But I do have quite a lot control over the conscious 'acceptable' criteria. But much less so over the physical. What is the lower bound on the number of dates before you could e.g. expect a match in chemistry?

Knowing this could significantly alter my motivation to continue looking. If the number is higher than say 100 traditional dating would be out for example (at least for me as I'm not after sex for which a high match obviously isn't required).

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-01-21T14:49:55.487Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Checking for a match in chemistry is relatively easy. There even used to be social protocols to that end (involving e.g. handkerchiefs). Nowadays I goes the simplest approach would be to go out jogging together.

I do have a large dataset of person experience in dancing where I probably danced with >1000 different women in the last years. While I haven't written down numbers I think the amount of data is large enough that the observations that come out of it aren't due to chance but "real" patterns.

I think the amount of physical intimacy that a woman finds enjoyable would be a good proxy for what"s commonly understood as chemistry. In my experience that has a lot to do with my state at a particular day.

If you are dating a stranger that hasn't already formed an opinion about yourself then I suspect the state that you have at the particular day has a lot to do with date success.

Jogging is probably relatively good as a date. It pushes the pulse of the woman up, and to the extend that I can trust the physiology textbooks that I read, a high pulse means that the woman is more likely to feel "chemistry". It also matches my dancing experiences that high energy high pulse dancing leads to higher intimacy.

But you are dating a human that's more complex than their amygdala which can be fooled into thinking there's chemistry by giving it other reasons for making the heart beat higher.

In the end you don't get a good connection to another person by treating them as a system to optimize. As far as my dancing is concerned I also don't try to consciously push the pulse but instead try to choose the level based on music, my mood and how my dance partner reacts to what I'm dancing. That's even when I know that dancing at high pulse would also be good for my heart.

Knowing this could significantly alter my motivation to continue looking.

Instead of looking at the numbers, I would focus on making the activity of looking fun. If you have fun while you are looking, you are more likely to have success. Even if you don't have success while you look, you at least have fun.

Invite woman to jog with you because jogging together is more fun than jogging alone and because making the commitment helps you to actually go out jogging. Be open that something more happens but don't count on it and be fine with having good company while jogging.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-23T08:18:29.491Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Interesting story of a math guy hacking okcupid to find love after 61 dates (which is about the number I'd expect):

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2014/01/how-to-hack-okcupid/all/

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-21T17:15:22.657Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

But you are dating a human that's more complex than their amygdala which can be fooled into thinking there's chemistry by giving it other reasons for making the heart beat higher.

You got me wrong on both points. I know very well that humans are lots more complex than any simple scheme can optimize. And correspondingly I surely don't just want to raise her heartbeat to fool her. Fooling anybody is no working long-term strategy. And we are talking loooong term strategy here. Remember: I'm a Beta optimizer. What I do want to optimize is the likelihood that we '''notice''' that we are '''autentically''' compatible. And I'm interested in how much resources I have to rationally allocate to physical (more dancing/jogging), psychological (more alpha/beta) and social aspects (more talking) aspects.

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-01-21T22:53:47.144Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

And correspondingly I surely don't just want to raise her heartbeat to fool her. Fooling anybody is no working long-term strategy.

Emotional reactions do have meaningful long-term effects. If a girl feels good when she thinks about you that matters.

People do tell themselves stories to justify their emotions and those stories in turn strengthen the emotions for the long term.

If every times the woman thinks of you that thought makes her feel better the brain learns that there a connection between the stimulus of the thought and feeling better. That means the positive emotion get's stronger when it reliably follows after the women starts thinking of you.

Getting a person to associate the emotion of love with a person might be more complicated than installing a phobia through a single traumatic event. On the other hand both are just emotions and there are processes that when a human goes through them, they end up with the emotional reaction to a stimulus.

The more I learn about how the human mind works the more I think that falling in love on first sight isn't that much different than developing a phobia in a single experience. Once the emotional bond is there it has long-term effects.

It's well above my ability to engineer the experience but I can see how people can fall in love on first sight in a way that allows a lasting relationship based on a few random variables being just right at a specific moment.

What I do want to optimize is the likelihood that we '''notice''' that we are '''authentically''' compatible.

I don't think noticing that you are authentically compatible is the prime factor for a relationship for most woman. "Noticing" sounds like a very intellectual process.

And I'm interested in how much resources I have to rationally allocate to physical (more dancing/jogging), psychological (more alpha/beta) and social aspects (more talking) aspects.

I don't see how those are different area's. If you sign up for a dance course you have physical activity. You have psychological covered as you learn to lead woman. If you go dancing in clubs you also cover rejection therapy. Lastly dancing is interaction with woman so it's also social and there nothing preventing you from talking with the woman.

Inviting a woman to go jogging with you is also at least physical and social but probably also psychological when you aren't used to inviting woman besides your wife to go to activities with you.

And if you want to add social and psychological aspects to solo jogging just greet every person that you pass while jogging.

I don't think it makes sense to see physical, psychological and social as separate things that you could allocate time.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-21T23:39:51.577Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Indeed you seem to understand how my ideas go.

I considered dancing but from my previous experiences I'd tentatively guess that even though your arguments are sound the likelihood to find a woman of the right kind there might be lower than elsewhere.

I don't think it makes sense to see physical, psychological and social as separate things that you could allocate time.

Not allocate in the sense of doing 20% this (dacing) and 30% (talking) that. More like dancing has 20% this and 30% that.

Look for example nowadays dating sites are en vogue. I could come to the conclusion that matching expectations plays a large role and use e.g. okcupid as primary filter for matches. And then try to get a date with those.

Or I could conclude that physical attration is the critical path, then I might consider dancing because it has a high number of contacts. Or clubbing - even more contacts but even shorter time to evaluate. And probably even less really prospective candidates there.

One current idea it to take up part-time study on the local university.

OK. I have to get off this dry mode. This will be read and a turn off.

comment by ChristianKl · 2014-01-22T01:00:52.492Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd tentatively guess that even though your arguments are sound the likelihood to find a woman of the right kind there might be lower than elsewhere.

What do you consider to be "the right kind"? I think there are quite a few well educated people who do dance. It might be that you have stereotypes about who dances that aren't accurate. But of course if you don't want to dance I don't want to talk you into it.

I especially don't want to encourage you to put your chips on any one card.

I could come to the conclusion that matching expectations plays a large role and use e.g. okcupid as primary filter for matches. And then try to get a date with those.

I don't think there anything wrong with going on okcupid and trying your luck. Writing a profile and writing a few messages isn't going to cost too much time.

Optimizing a Okcupid profile and writing optimal messages to get a date is however not my idea of authentic human interaction. I consider online dating to be quite artificial.

One current idea it to take up part-time study on the local university.

If you enjoy being at university I don't think there anything wrong at it. However I consider dancing to be more physical, provide better psychological benefits and be more social than being at university.

OK. I have to get off this dry mode. This will be read and a turn off.

If you want to reply to something privately, feel free to PM. It's certainly a topic where there are things that are better left unsaid in public.

comment by Gunnar_Zarncke · 2014-01-20T16:27:52.978Z · score: 3 (5 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I hope in objectifying the situation you haven't lost sight of how she is plainly wrong here.

If you can say this with confidence then I have not made that part of my account clear enough.

The answer got too long and personal. I added it here