Rush of Love?

“But that’s in just two days!” exclaimed my mother in shock, when the shadchan told her that my date wanted to take me out again, shortly after our first meeting.

I shook my head vigorously. There was absolutely no chance that I was going out again so soon. I had a life, you know. And who wanted to go through the whole dressing up thing again in the same week?

So that was when my mother laid down the law. One date a week was quite sufficient, thank you. I quite agreed.

“Yes, I understand,” the shadchan laughed. “I’m always telling the guys to slow down. They’d go on another date every night otherwise.”

“Why?” I asked one fellow who was pushing my limit in that arena.

“I just want things to progress,” he explained.

Well… yes, of course. But we’re still young, and a few extra days isn’t going to make or break anything. What is it—the heady rush of the hunt? The desire for closure? Goal-orientedness taken to an extreme?

They also seem in a hurry to propose. I’ve heard too many stories of girls suddenly facing a ring and saying, “But… I hardly feel like I know you.” Or of guys turned down because the girl wasn’t ready yet, or had just decided against him.

My brother managed a serious rush. If I can judge from the way my parents took it, he got engaged in about 2 weeks. In reality, I think it was a drop longer – maybe three. Since he was in Israel, I mostly remember my father hunching over the phone howling “But you just took her out last night!” over the bad connection. Obviously, she didn’t seem to mind. In fact, she eventually opted for a lifetime with him. But that’s not typical.

I know it’s not typical because mathematicians have come up with a mathematical model for love, using game theory. In their model, the woman strings the guy along as long as possible, the better to judge his caretaker potential. Guys, on the other hand, rush things, wanting to get down to the family thing A-sap.

But here’s the part I like. The game theorists showed that the longer a woman held out, the greater the chance that she’d land a keeper. Poor quality guys get discouraged, or just don’t have what it takes to sustain a courtship. So, there’s something to be said for playing hard-to-get. Gals, there’s no need to make a snap decision (where “snap” is defined as requiring less than a month). Let the guy hunt you a little. You’ll find out if he’s a keeper.

Hat tip to O, Keeper of the Quotes and forwarder of interesting things.


31 thoughts on “Rush of Love?

  1. “The female gets a positive payoff from mating if the male is a ‘‘good’’ male but a negative payoff if he is ‘‘bad’’, so it is in her interest to gain information about the male’s type with the aim of avoiding mating with a “bad” male. In contrast, a male gets a positive payoff from mating with any female, though his payoff is higher if he is “good” than if he is “bad”.”

    Those assumptions are highly questionable, to say the least, and the analysis here seems highly one-sided. Why would men want to marry and female without judging their quality? And that is just the first of what seem to be many flawed assumptions in the analysis, its Manichean view of men aside and skewed view of courtship aside. Contriving an analysis uncorrelated with reality and calling it game theory does not make it any more credible. For game theory to provide any insight the analysis has to be in keeping with how the world actually works.

  2. We got engaged after 7 dates over 3 weekends. Super fast! And he was ready after the 2nd date. I was a little wary when we got engaged, it felt like it all happened incredibly fast, but I knew it my heart it was the right decision. If Pesach wasn’t in the middle of everything we would have dated longer, but he was READY. I’ve heard this from lots of other couples too…the guy just knows and then he’s like, what’s the point of waiting? One thing I always tell my dating friends: you’re more scared of intimacy than he is, and that is what freaks you out. ALOT. It’s a biiiiig factor for many girls.

  3. Yes, I’ve found that guys tend to make up their minds much more quickly than girls do (which can put a lot of undue pressure on us young ladies)…but they also tend to bounce back from breakups with more ease than we do. I guess it makes sense: jump into things, jump out of things, no problem. Whereas women (as a whole, obviously there are exceptions on both sides) tend to take more time getting into a relationship, and also need more time recovering from one.

    As far as your one-date-a-week rule, I’m inclined to agree more with the young man in question than with you. I’ve found that the more time there is between dates, the more time I have to overanalyze the relationship: what do I think of him? What does he think of me? Does this aspect of his character bother me or not? What did he mean when he said that on the date? Whereas, if dates come in quicker succession, it gives me a chance to actually get to know the guy without building up a picture of him comprised of assumptions and random memories in between dates. However, to be fair, my attitude toward this might be colored by the fact that I am not in a world that expects engagement after a certain number of dates, so dates in quick succession won’t necessarily force an unduly speedy engagement.

  4. hahaha i was cracking up while reading this! one date a week!?!?!?
    hahaha since im from “out of town” and i travel to NY (mostly) for dates, i could go out 3 nights IN A ROW with the SAME guy!!!

  5. Wow. You took the thoughts right out of my head. It makes me very uncomfortable when the guy seems overly excited to go out again, while I feel like I don’t even know him. I’ve always wondered why that is. Maybe women in general analyze their dates too much, while men just think, “Hey, that was fun – let’s go out again.” I think that just because a date is “fun” doesn’t mean you have to marry the guy.

  6. I much prefere dating more than once a week. I don’t wanna have a whole week to think about it. That is why I adore dating out of towners…

  7. How can a man distinguish between
    a) a woman who strings the guy along to judge his potential
    b) a woman who is not interested in him but lets him persuade her into going on another date, is too polite to end it, or is being pressured by parents/shadchan to “give it one more try”.
    c) a woman who strings the guy along because she has nothing better to do, likes someone else paying for her dinner, etc?

  8. Bad4,

    Taking dating advice from a game theorist is like taking dieting advice from a hot dog vendor at a ballpark.

    A friend recently shared his experience. He had gone out with many girls, a number of them many times.

    “There was this one girl I went out with ten times,” he said. “While we didn’t get married, it is because of her that I am married today.

    “I used to think that dating was about impressing the girl so she would want to marry me. I approached it almost like a chess game. But she took a different approach: ‘We are both looking to get married. Let’s approach this as it is, a way to find out if we are right for each other.'”

    That was a profound mental shift for this highly educated friend. He changed his approach. He believes that if it wasn’t for this girl, who taught him this so-very-important lesson, he would still be dating today.

    There are no formulas. Shidduch dating isn’t a game that you win or lose. An arbitrary rule about not going out more than once a week is as silly as a rule that no date should be longer than 90 minutes. (I had two 8-hour dates with my now-wife and we went out ten times in just over three weeks.)

    You have a life to live? “Action expresses priorities,” noted Charles Garfield.

    You don’t want to get all dressed up again? Don’t. But if you are serious about finding out if a certain guy is for you go out anyway. This is a great way to check.

    My wife arranged a date where I met her at a park near her house. She had been baking and was dressed in lounging-around-the-house clothes. No make-up. Nothing done to her hair. She wanted to see how I would react. I reacted well, because I was looking at the whole person. Isn’t that what you want, too?

    You can also go on a date without dressing up. If that’s who you are then be that way. Dress as you do on a regular day, which, as we both know, isn’t half bad.

    A genuine interaction will both be more meaningful and more enjoyable. And when you’re facing the right one you’ll both know it more quickly.

    While your writing is brilliant, your dating shouldn’t be with an eye towards your next blog post.

    Posted with love.


  9. |While your writing is brilliant, your dating shouldn’t be with an eye towards your next blog post.|

    In all fairness, this comment of mine may not be accurate or fair. The part about your writing stands.


  10. And here I thought that guys were the more indifferent ones. Both I and at least one friend had girlfriends who wanted to go out more frequently. I tried my best to keep to the once-a-week thing (at least at the beginning – later on when you become a couple there are no rules) and was told that that is too rare!

  11. |While your writing is brilliant, your dating shouldn’t be with an eye towards your next blog post.|

    In all fairness, this comment of mine may not be accurate or fair. The part about your writing stands.


    Oh, Jed – you were so close!


  12. G – I don’t quite understand your comment, but I have a feeling it’s better that way.

    Thanks Jed. Don’t worry – I wasn’t taking the article as a lesson on life. I think most mathematicians have their head buried somewhere far far away from real life. (Why take dating advice from someone who can’t get a date?) I just thought it was a fun article and found a way to connect it in with something from dating.

    As for everyone else – the reason I like spread dates is because of the opportunity to unbend and forget about it all between dates. I make exceptions for out-of-towners, but overall, I want to have time to get my perspective realigned between dates. And I’m in no rush.

  13. i hear that, really – but a week sounds like a long time between dates. Not worried about leaning more towards ‘forgetting’ than ‘unbending’?

    For me the one date a week thing felt like every date we were starting all over again.

  14. I’m no fan of arbitrary rules; not in business nor in personal life. If the goal is to have time and space to reflect so you can make the right decision, then THAT’s the rule: “I take time to reflect between dates.” That may be 2 days, a week or perhaps two weeks in an extreme situation. But it will vary each time.

    >>[i]No point in getting too caught up. It could lead to a two-week engagement, heaven forbid.[/i]

    What’s wrong with a two week engagement? Another arbitrary rule. If your goal is to find the right person and get married, why do you care if you achieve that clarity in two weeks instead of two months or longer?

    Me finds meself wondering how serious you are about the goal.


  15. You would know about 2-week engagements… 😛

    I’m a slow and steady gal, and I wouldn’t trust any decision that important made that quickly. How serious am I about that goal? Not desperately, but serious enough to accept its success when I see it. But no sighting done in a heady rush of emotion. I don’t make friends in a rapid series of super-intense meetings, why should I find a life-partner that way?

  16. For italics, [i] text [/i] except use < angle brackets instead of the square ones.
    You managed a smiley just fine…

  17. bad4- i just have to disagree with you on this one. As a general rule, making rules is not a good idea. Especially when it comes to shidduchim.
    my brother ( who happens to be the most worldly and i guess you would call ‘modern’ in my family) dated his wife five times in four days. Then he called my parents to say he is getting engaged. My mother of course freaked out and demanded that he come home for a week at least. He did that just to make her happy. One week later he dated his wife again and then proposed. My sis in law was ready too after the fifth date.
    So it is ok to say that you would generally like to date no more than once a week. but it is foolish to have it written in stone.

  18. have you considered the possiblity that you stretch out the dates to prevent the possiblity of feeling said rush of love?

  19. Seeing as I warm up to people veeeerrrryyy slowly, any initial rush of love would be about as meaningful as a tweenager’s crush on a pop star. I can think of only one person in the universe that I knew I would like upon sight alone (and that I was right about). And long periods of time wouldn’t prevent that, seeing as I knew of this person for several years before actually befriending her.

  20. forget the term ‘rush of love’…how about have you considered the possiblity that you stretch out the dates to prevent the possiblity of feeling anything about the other person?

    as for “Seeing as I warm up to people veeeerrrryyy slowly,”…so what, since that is just ‘the way you are’ anything that runs contrary to it MUST be meaningless? All that does is perpetuate the reality of ‘I warm up to people veeeerrrryyy slowly’.

  21. No, there’s just a likelihood that it is. But anyway, it doesn’t happen. Are you advocating love at first sight, crushes, etc? Cuz then, you know, most people would be unhappily married by the age of 12.

  22. No, I’m suggesting that you create the reality of taking a long time to warm to people because you have decided, for whatever reason, that that is just the way you are.
    Additionally, that perhaps you think it is a good idea to take breaks during dating to “unbend” because it decreases the chances of actually starting to feel for the other person based on some criteria that you feel is inferior (again I don’t know what that inferior meaning is or what qualifies as a justified meaning to allow for such feeling) and then having to deal with that reality.

    The other option does not have to be love at first sight or a crush, which are obviously “less than” options. Plenty of people are able to find some middle ground.

    This is not to say that any approach is better than another. Just that neither is it that only one approach can work for any given person to the exclusion of all others.
    No, there’s just a likelihood that it is. But anyway, it doesn’t happen.

    “It doesn;t happen”…what the hell does that mean? Since it hasn’t it can’t so why even allow for a situation where it could?

    What came first – that it doesn’t happen or that you decided that such things don’t happen where you are concerned so that is how you are going to approach it.

  23. Armchair psychology is just sooo much fun, isn’t it? Only somehow it feels like you should be paying me $150 an hour…

    G – I have never followed a rule in my life, excepting those laid down by God and, generally, the government. I make observations and I note thing and I have preferences for things like any normal person, but I don’t live by stupid arbitrary rules, and I definitely don’t make any for myself, and when I do, I break them promptly. (For example: notice how long I managed to “quit” blogging every time I decided I wasn’t going to any more.) The fact that I prefer to take time between dates doesn’t mean I have never dated twice in three days – only that I prefer not to. And I don’t see why taking time between meets should decrease any affection for a person, as it has never done so for me in the past, and would call the lie on centuries of literature. Obviously one can only project from the past, not predict, but if you can’t rely on years of life experience, then what is it for?

  24. –i don’t get the last part of the quip at the beginning – it sounds good, but i don’t get it–

    Wasn’t analyzing, just considering.

    You say it’s not so, great.

    As long as it’s working for you.

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