Structure of Dating
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How Long to Stay Single?

Kind of a weird question and one I don't think guys (or women) ponder enough...

I just finished up the book Algorithms to Life By, by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths.

In the book, these two UC Berkeley professors (Go Bears!) argue that computer algorithms can decide the optimal amount of time a man should spend looking for his life long partner.

The answer...


According to Tom Griffiths, Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at UC Berkeley...

You should spend the first 37 percent of your search meeting people. After that, you should be ready to propose to the first person who is better than anyone you have met so far.

​(Read the whole article here:

This means that if you want to have a serious girlfriend or wife and also know that you've made a good choice and have a happy relationship, you should do the following:

1) Decide at what point you would want to finally have a steady, stable longterm girlfriend or wife

2) Measure the time between then and now and divide that time by 3

3) For that period of time, make a promise that you will date and remain single. That is YOUR TIME for exploring. Learn about yourself, your preferences, and notice who you click with and what you really need and don't need from a significant other.

4) After you go through that period of being single, continue dating and the first girl that comes along that has been better than the rest, date her officially! Go steady. And see how things go. If they don't turn out how you'd like, date some more and choose the next girl who comes along and is even better than the others before.

What does this look like...

I'm 28 now, so let's say I want to have a serious partner for the rest of my life (ideally) by the time I'm 32.

That's 3-4 years from now.

So for the next year--following the algorithm--I stay single... No matter what girl comes along!

I can casually date women and even see the ones I connect with repeatedly, but I allow myself the time to notice all the different types of women out there and notice who I click with easily.

After a year to a year and a half, I can continue dating women and then if I date one that stands out above the rest, I will go steady with her.

Here's what I like about this strategy:

There's enough women I'll meet to make an accurate assessment about who I can get along with and who I can't. This means a lower likelihood of second guessing the decision to be with someone. I've had enough time to check things out.

There's time for growth. Dating isn't always easy. (Some might say it downright sucks.) Dating can also be incredibly humbling... Maybe there's more I have to work on. Well, being single is the best time to do that.

As you improve and upgrade your life, it's amazing the new people you will attract toward you.

Being single also will give someone a chance to "sow some oats." Better to do while single than when in a committed relationship...

So if you're single right now, enjoy the ride! And if you're into backwards engineering your progress in life, this may be a concept that is super relevant to you.

Of course, one of the most important things when beginning dating is to have the right strategy and mindset in place, so you avoid the overwhelm and anxiety you may have when you get started.

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