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The Mating Crisis Among Educated Women (edge.org)
112 points by Abtin88 28 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 140 comments



> They end up being forced to compete for the limited pool of educated men not just with their more numerous educated rivals, but also with less educated women whom men find desirable on other dimensions.

Considering that we want to eliminate any gaps between the genders, why are educated women limited to educated men of their own ages? Why not increase the pool like men do: go for more younger, possibly less educated men (as the article implies for men)?

> As men age, they desire women who are increasingly younger than they are. Intelligent, educated women may go for a less accomplished partner for a casual fling, but for a committed partner they typically want mates their own age or a few years older, and at least as educated and career-driven.

If men can increase their pool size, why not women?


> If men can increase their pool size, why not women?

Women can, it is just they don't want to due to what the majority express as desirable characteristics. It is a sad state of affairs that make both men and women worse off. I know several women in their mid-thirties who adamantly refuse to consider long term partnership with perceived low status males (along lines of status, power, wealth and education).

The main issue they seem to run into is this. The small pool of highly educated, high status and wealthy men are essentially at the top of the sexual marketplace. Considering the purchasing power (excuse the term, but it makes sense) these men have, they tend to optimise for traits many men find desirable.

Finding an "equal" man in your mid-thirties as a women is very hard. Funnily enough, polygamy in societies partly resolves this distribution problem for women. The problems it causes amongst a perpetually single mass of men are catastrophic however.


> Finding an "equal" man in your mid-thirties as a women is very hard.

Interesting. I'd have assumed that finding an 'equal' man is pretty simple, but moving up the social ladder by marrying up is what is getting harder and harder as the pool of men 'higher' than women is shrinking while simultaneously women themselves are moving up on their own.


I think it is mostly down to perceptions of equal between the groups. I do not think that the equality is equal.


I wonder what the statistics are for divorce for rich women who marry a poorer guy? I'll bet it's not wonderful.


>Finding an "equal" man in your mid-thirties as a women is very hard.

Finding an "equal" woman in your mid-thirties as a man who doesn't want to date down in terms of education, status, wealth, or mental health is just as difficult.


Of course. But most - obvsly overlapping bell curves, but on the median clear difference - men don't care about that as much.


Or finding one who isn't traumatized too badly by past relationships.


I think that people who are "traumatized" by past relationships were the ones who had psychological issues of some sort to begin with, that that sort of damage happens when you are a child, and that your typical, emotionally healthy adult can get over it and force themselves to trust again, even if it happens repeatedly and with multiple partners, because the majority of people are "good" people, and you can't let people with personality disorders taint your entire view of humanity or a specific subset of it.

I went through the wringer with someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder with significant narcissistic and sociopathic traits. I can't imagine a future relationship possibly being any worse, short of a pregnancy being involved (or another person with BPD). I was shaken up for a few months, but I'm over it now. She would blame many of her negative traits and behaviors (that, from my understanding and conversations with her mom, had been a part of her personality from an early age) on past lovers, as if they were the ones responsible for damaging her. I'm sure she brought me up to the next guy(s) as well. How dare I try to get her into therapy? All she ever did was love me, after all.


Nothing more to add to your comment here besides stating I had a similar experience.

BPD, narcissistic and sociopathic traits all derived or perhaps exasperated by significant and truly awful childhood trauma.

Had me in an awful state for a year. Being introduced to intermittent reinforcement by my therapist was the moment that the penny dropped and I started to relinquish my feelings of loss and guilt.


Could you expand on the intermittent reinforcement concept in the context of an interpersonal relationship? I think it might help me.


= = =

If you'd like to contact me direct to discuss any of the below, feel free. My e-mail is

jonathon at jdtay .com

= = =

I'd be happy to.

The following articles went a lot way to assist me in getting out of an incredibly toxic, abusive relationship. If you're anything like where I was at, the addictive qualities of an abuser will leave you with manic highs and lows. It's a manipulation tactic, you and the relationship you had were nothing special. You were seduced and it's a trait shared by most people in abused relationships in every sense.

Once I realised I was being spent and manipulated and I wasn't in anyway in love, I was just being led astray. My healing process started almost immediately and the strength I never could find to finally escape from my abuser came quickly and efficiently. This isn't to say it was easy. Withdrawal symptoms are very fucking real.

Realising it's not love that you're walking away from, it's something much more sinister and primal than that. You'll find strength and self esteem to start putting yourself first. It's also at this point that you'll start to notice just how horrid the experience was and it's here that I must encourage you to seek professional help if you are not already. You'll be tearing down walls that a professional will need to help you rebuild and unpack.

In another note. If you're like me and you're a man leaving an abusive relationship with a woman. You may find it distressing that almost every article you find online was written in the angle or perspective of a female victim and a male perpetrator.

Undoubtedly this is statistically going to be the most likely scenario in most abusive relationship though I personally believe from my experiences and those of my closest family and friends. That this statistic is less weighted in favor of male abusers than you'd suspect.

The number of articles written in a light to support and assist men who've escaped emotional abusive relationships is shockingly sparse and I was hurt that there was such little content for me to personally relate to.

Both sites, Out of the Fog (i) and Psychopaths and Love (ii) have a lot of great content. Word of warning though. Psychopaths and Love's website is a piece of shit. But the content is relateable.

= = = = =

i) http://outofthefog.website/what-not-to-do-1/2015/12/3/interm...

"Intermittent Reinforcement - Intermittent Reinforcement is when rules, rewards or personal boundaries are handed out or enforced inconsistently and occasionally. This usually encourages another person to keep pushing until they get what they want from you without changing their own behavior." ...

"The personality disordered individual is often aware that he or she lacks appropriate self-control and that their abusive behavior is less than satisfactory in the eyes of the Non-PD. They may fear that their behavior will result in negative consequences, increased conflict, loss of trust and respect or even loss of the relationship. They often want to make amends and wish for a better result. However, most prefer not to confront the root of the problem and want to avoid the unattractive prospect of endless psycho-analysis, admitting their failings, being treated like a problem, being forced to take medications, being regarded as someone who has a "mental problem". So they straddle the line of acceptability, trying to maintain the status quo, occasionally trying to "make up for it" when they perceive they may have crossed the line. Once in a while, the Non-PD may blow a fuse and put their foot down or threaten to leave, but it is typically short-lived. Like the person who builds a house in the flood zone, they hope they can "ride out" the occasional storm and get what they want without having to change."

= = = = =

ii) http://psychopathsandlove.com/intermittent-reinforcement/

The following article I found slightly less helpful. The language is uses is both emotive and inflamed. There are a lot of shared behaviors that can be both from some one with Borderline Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personal Disorder, a psychopath, sociopath or some one with deep, horrific trauma. It's important not to start labeling your abuser. You'll get it very wrong unless your a professional in this field. Instead just recognise the behaviors as being unhelpful and leave it at that.

This article (and almost the entire site) is purely targeted towards those who have been in relationships who are either sociopathic or psychopathic so do take this into account. It's also exclusively written from the perspective of a female victim which quite often left me with a poor taste in my mouth.

All the same, you'll find the analogies and the methods that are outlined to be familiar.

"There is nothing like the elation and bliss of new love. Especially when you believed you had found ‘the one.’ That took it to another level. You may have felt you never really knew what love was before. You were probably infused with incredible joy and happiness. You finally found what you were searching for, and it was even better than you ever imagined.

And then one day something unexpected happened. You got a queasy feeling that you couldn’t shake. You sensed deep in your gut that he or she was pulling away. Your heart sank and your stomach clenched with fear.

In the process of the psychopathic bond, the moment when the joy at finding love turns into the fear of losing it is called the ‘manipulative shift.’ When that happens, the psychopath takes control. This is when the devaluation stage begins.

Fear takes away our ability to think clearly. It’s an intensely powerful and uncomfortable emotion, and we want it to go away. In this case, fear was caused by the threat of losing our (supposedly) wonderful relationship. When we see someone as being the one who can take our fear away, we will give them just about anything. In this situation, hat would be the very person who caused it in the first place — the psychopath. He or she took our fear away by becoming attentive and loving again. If we asked him if something was wrong he told us that we were imagining things, or he blamed us, or made up some excuse, for his lapses"


It actually should be easier. Since there are more women at this level then men.


There are more women at this level, but some (many?) of them are not interested in an equal partner.


So just don't move "up", improve your dating life?


> I know several women in their mid-thirties who adamantly refuse to consider long term partnership with perceived low status males (along lines of status, power, wealth and education).

Lowering standards aside, this attitude alone would be off-putting for most men, high-status ones especially. What do they bring to the table? Certainly humility isn't one of them.


Parent is using blunt language to communicate economically, don't read into it too much. The women displaying such mate selection patterns could easily be friendly, sociable, and well-liked.


...and also extremely reluctant to date men who are shorter than they are. (Yes there are studies here too.)

Men aren't better of course, we have other impractical (but evolutionarily significant) biases, needless to say.


LOL. I'm a cis white dude, 39, make ~300k year, skipped grad school, mild child prodigy, am in decent shape and am very tall. From my experience, women in major cities, especially in the U.S., are predominantly jaded, lack (or feign) general life-skills, life-experience, purpose, respect, manners, direction, trustworthiness and reciprocity. To me, the biggest turn-offs (sans personality disorders): materialism, strategic self-/other-sabotage, ignorance, uncoolness, selfishness, infantilism, lack of introspection and autonomous behavior. The hook-up pool for me is virtually all but the dating pool for me is basically zero.

Unreasonable, non-reciprocal selfishness compared to value offered (ie sanity, health, intelligence, etc.) isn't worth arguing with. Plus, gold-diggers feel entitled to "their half" in community property states.

For dudes looking for life-partners (sans marriage), look at other countries and college towns. If you just want to get laid, pay for it... it's much cheaper and simpler. If you want to make more money, find a decent woman whom is supportive, honest and fun and isn't divorce-oriented, one-side relationship-lazy or has a wandering eye.

For dudettes for the same, they ought to sex/relationship tourism or relocate to male-heavy ratio places like the SF Bay Area.

For both, don't get married or have kids, except after long-term stability.


So damn true. You nailed it. And hooking up the way you do pisses women off because they can't get their hooks in you then if you are otherwise satisfied.


I think this might come off as negative to some, but I feel the exact same way. Very successful for my age, and I can easily date women. I am constantly let down by how low quality they are. They might be physically attractive, but beyond that I feel like I am jumping from poor relationship prospect to poor relationship for eternity.


The common element in all of these relationships is ... ?


Why would this attitude be off-putting? I’d much rather be selected by someone I knew had high standards.


> Considering that we want to eliminate any gaps between the genders, why are educated women limited to educated men of their own ages?

Biologically and evolutionarily speaking, men want younger and more fertile women to mate with. Women want established males ( their age or older ) to mate with.

> Why not increase the pool like men do: go for more younger, possibly less educated men (as the article implies for men)?

As I stated earlier because men want younger women and women want established males.

http://static5.businessinsider.com/image/54455482eab8ea36171...

http://www.businessinsider.com/dataclysm-shows-men-are-attra...


1. Many women want the option to stay home and raise their own children, at least for a few years. If a woman marries an otherwise-wonderful man who earns half her salary, she will not be able to easily stay home with her own child while maintaining their former standard of living. So there are some logistical concerns here that just aren't there for men. Perhaps in a country with a lot of paid maternity leave, these issues would not be as pronounced.

2. I have trouble with the blanket statement that women "want established males" "biologically and evolutionarily speaking." We live in a society. Peoples' behavior in a society is not some mystery that can only be deciphered by looking at chimpanzees. Our society has some very messed up rules about who gets to have the most power. People respond to and strategize around their current reality. If that reality were to change -- like, if we had free childcare or 4 years paid maternity leave, or some other radical shift -- many of these calculations would "magically" fall away.


> Many women want the option to stay home and raise their own children, at least for a few years. > So there are some logistical concerns here that just aren't there for men.

It's true that more women want this than men, certainly in the U.S., but you can't say the concerns "just aren't there for men" -- already in this thread there are men saying they want to be stay-at-home dads.


This is addressed in the article: "Mating psychology may not be that malleable." i.e. Biology.


Biological explanations for social phenomena are generally frowned upon these days, and they certainly have a poor track record, historically.


Both mating and sexual selection are fundamentally biological issues.

> they certainly have a poor track record, historically

Evolution: a biological explanation for a social phenomena with a poor track record, historically


Um, no? Biological explanations work great. Want to explain the social phenomenon of people going home every night? It's biology: they have to sleep. Want to explain why people smoke? They're addicted. Want to explain why grown up adoptees behave more like their biological parents than their adoptive parents? Genetics.


The parent is hinting at sociobiology. Similarly in biology, we have -nomics: trying to explain every biological phenomenon with genes. See Sydney Brenner's criticism on the latter as well.


I probably should have put 'explanations' in quotes, because I was thinking of the bogus 'biological' just-so stories that have frequently been advanced in the past to 'explain' why women should not or can not do this or that, and the alleged inferiority of various ethnic groups.

It is somewhat moot, however, as my comment is mostly about contemporary mores regarding the use of biological explanations (or 'explanations'), though perhaps I was not explicit enough. I don't know enough to have a definite opinion as to whether, or to what extent, biological explanations apply in this case.


Is mate selection primarily a social phenomenon?


Of course that's not necessarily a bad state. Sociology is fixed, biology is mutable - http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/10/society-is-fixed-biolog...


Because biology? Most women prefer a stronger (and taller) man, not just in the physical sense.

Also, for status in social circles.


That's precisely behind the purported problem outlined in the article. Women don't, on average, prefer younger or less educated/earning men as the other way around.

As always with social problems, no easy solution is in sight.


Women tend to desire men who are older, richer and more educated. Men tend to desire women who are young, hot, and of good character.

Men can't always get what they want, either, but nobody writes articles about how that's a crisis.


Realistically you only get 2 of those traits in my opinion.


I see "men can't always get what they want either" mentioned in articles all the time.


That's probably what'll end up happening. Right now people have a hard time imagining it because we've been living in a patriarchal society, but I'm willing to bet that in a generation or two there will be fewer hangups about house husbands.


that won't expand the pool as much as you think. it widens it on the education variable, but narrowers it to men who aren't threatened by women who are more educated (and possibly higher-paid) than they are.


>men who aren't threatened by women who are more educated (and possibly higher-paid) than they are

Do these people actually exist anymore? What kind of man is really going to pass on an otherwise suitable partner just because she's more educated and makes more money than him? I can't imagine a single person I know thinking something along the lines of "yeah, she's great, but she makes more money than me, it won't work".

3 of my friends make more than their boyfriends. 2 of my friends make less than their girlfriends/wives. I sure wouldn't mind.


Traditional gender roles and expectation still exist. It also seems that if the wife makes more than the husband, you're more likely to suffer a divorce[1]

It's easy to say I wouldn't mind, but I haven't faced the situation. In fact, I hope I wouldn't have to.

[1] https://hbr.org/2017/05/does-a-womans-high-status-career-hur...


From that link:

>We found that wives who believed they held higher status positions than their husbands were indeed more likely to experience feelings of resentfulness or embarrassment, feeling that their status was decreased by their husbands’ lower status position, which in turn had a negative impact on their marital satisfaction — and even increased the likelihood that they were thinking about divorce. Husbands, however, were unaffected by their wives’ status spillover feelings: They only experienced greater marital dissatisfaction and thoughts about divorce if their wives’ were outwardly unhappy with their relationship.


Right, it's one of those things where you sort of "know" as a gut feeling and applying a little of imagination.

It's good to see it recognized however.


If I'm being honest, this would bother me at some level. Certainly not enough to pass up the opportunity, but somehow I would feel less of a man. I'm sure I would get over it quickly enough, or maybe use it as motivation to become equally educated. I do think it's great that there are so many highly educated women.


I have only dated women smarter/richer than me so far, and yes, it is very motivating.


You’re missing the option that they wouldn’t dismiss such a woman priori, but many men’s egos wouldn’t take it well in a long-term relationship. (I cannot really speak from personal experience unfortunately.)


My wife has at times earned more than me but that's never felt threatening. After all, I benefit from her increased income. In fact I would love it if she'd earn enough for me to be a stay home dad without us needing to cut expenses too much.


That's more of an anecdote than any real data.


Why do you care/how do you know about their salaries in the first place?


> Why not increase the pool like men do: go for more younger, possibly less educated men (as the article implies for men)?

Because it takes women thousands of times longer to produce a child than men. It's just game theory.

Keep in mind also that the average woman doesn't have any magical ability to figure out which men will be successful in advance, otherwise all the top venture capitalists, producers, publishers, etc. would be women.


Because women typically have different mating strategy -- hypergamy, which goal is to decrease the mating pool size as much as possible down to the best candidate. Men's mating strategy is polygamy which is increasing the pool size as much as possible.

In other words most women would prefer to stay alone forever rather than marry a man who they consider suboptimal.

Add to the equation the "mating standards" that are overblown by Hollywood and social media and the picture of dating market becomes even darker.

I believe this exact mechanism (also aggravated by social media) is responsible for the decline of fertility rate below the reproduction level in countries with well educated population.


Indeed. This is an imaginary crisis invented by people who just want to whine instead of finding solutions for themselves. Travel and online dating are (relatively) cheap. If someone can't find an educated husband in Manhattan then take a trip to Shenzhen or Houston or wherever.


Traveling across the world ain't cheap. Maybe to you but not to the majority of people. When you add on the fact that your have to make multiple trips to meet people, as it's unlikely that you will meet your future spouse on the first trip you make to another area, most people will only be dating within their local area just as an economic necessity


The crisis, according to male psychologue, is that women end up ok being single and don't care about finding partner. Also, women being more competitive for existing males by having sex faster is some kind of problem.

Which is, according to him, something entirely different then dudes being single in Sillicon Valley where is surplus of males. Because, again, according to him, these dudes can find one night stands and care more about those anyway and thus everything is cool there.


I've noticed the preferences among my male and female friends diverging over time. In college, everyone seemed to want the same thing -- a partner that was both successful and attractive. But now as we make it to our late twenties, I noticed that they "settle" differently. My female friends increasingly prefer an older guy with a great career and my male friends a younger woman who is less accomplished than they were at their age. They both still say they want the same thing -- and I totally buy it -- but it is hard to find the perfect person so sacrifices tend to be made.

I have definitely noticed the happiest people I know, in terms of romance, found their life partner in college.


>I have definitely noticed the happiest people I know, in terms of romance, found their life partner in college.

Definitely. I am almost 30, and I started dating extremely late (26). I'm happy with who I'm with right now, but I envy people who met their significant others in their teens or early 20s. They were able to grow together throughout early adulthood. I had to go through it all alone. I will do everything possible to make it so that my kids don't have to experience the same thing.


> They were able to grow together throughout early adulthood.

That's a double-edged sword. Sometimes people grow apart.


True, but better to have loved and lost, right?


That depends on what the alternative was. For those who have been pining after love but did not find any until later 'having loved and lost' might be a desirable alternative. For those who've been busy with other things - study, research, discovery, what have you - and never really thought about finding themselves a partner 'having loved and lost' would be a net-negative.


The other commenter referenced growing apart as a risk, and there were definitely "growing pains" for me and my partner. But ultimately I agree with you that it is really valuable to grow through early adulthood with someone if you find the right person. Glad you found someone to grow with now though!


26 is considered extremely late? ._.


It's pretty late in the western world.


I'm not trying to incite a flamewar here, and this will probably be downvoted to death.

Well, the argument here should be:

Men don't find education and accomplishment as attractive as women do - they find youth and beauty important also.

Therefore, in order to attract a mate, logically women should try to attract a mate when they're younger, and try to improve the way they look. They should not be trying to get more educated or accomplish more in their careers.

They can of course do whatever they want, but I have very little sympathy for people who recognize how reality is and don't try to act in ways that will optimize the probability of the outcome they want.


Philip Greenspun makes a related point: http://philip.greenspun.com/careers/women-in-science "What about personal experience? The women that I know who have the IQ, education, and drive to make it as professors at top schools are, by and large, working as professionals and making 2.5-5X what a university professor makes and they do not subject themselves to the risk of being fired. With their extra income, they invest in child care resources and help around the house so that they are able to have kids while continuing to ascend in their careers. The women I know who are university professors, by and large, are unmarried and childless. By the time they get tenure, they are on the verge of infertility. Speaking of fertility... A $400/hour divorce litigator said "Knowing what I know now, I could have made a lot more money going to a bar and working for one night than I have made by going to college, law school, and working for 20 years. It turns out that I was sitting on something worth a lot more than a law degree." What's the cash value of fertility compared to working in science? ... As explained in the Massachusetts chapter of Real World Divorce, child support can be collected until a child turns 23, and, as in all other states, is tax-free. How profitable is child support? By formula (2013-2017 guidelines), $40,000 per year can be obtained from a defendant earning $250,000 per year. However, the actual costs of a child can be collected on top of that $40,000, such as health insurance, day care or nanny, and a child's cash expenses. Subtracting the USDA-estimated $8000 per year incidental costs of a child, such as housing and food, each child yields only a $32,000 per year profit. Thus a woman would need to have two children in Massachusetts with $250,000-per-year defendants in order to exceed the after-tax personal spending power of a mid-career PhD biochemist. However, the present value of the child support plaintiff's earnings are larger because the income stream can start at age 18 or younger and does not require any investment in college or graduate school."


> Knowing what I know now, I could have made a lot more money going to a bar and working for one night than I have made by going to college, law school, and working for 20 years

Can you explain this to me? You can earn 20 years a lawyers salary by finding a high-earning man in a bar? Sure, I can do the same with lottery tickets..


It is about child support. For example from: https://www.therichest.com/expensive-lifestyle/money/outrage... "Actor, Eddie Murphy entered into a bitter legal battle with his ex-girlfriend, ex-Spice Girl, Melanie Brown. Brown gave birth to their child in 2008 after Murphy had broken up with her while she was five months pregnant. Murphy even had a DNA test completed in order to prove he was the father. In 2009, Murphy was ordered to pay $59,950 per month for child support and he agreed to cover any of Brown’s pregnancy expenses that she may have incurred."

So, US$60K per month for more than 20 years is about US$15 million. Not a bad return on one night in a bar (considering you can pay nannies to raise the kid and the spouse gets stuck for that cost too). Of course, it has to be the right (read rich enough) guy...

Of course, most child support may not be in that range, but it can still be substantial, and so more than a successful lawyer earns in 20 years of hard work and study after repaying expensive student loans.

Another quote from there may help clarify (obviously I am not endorsing this heartless gold digger strategy even if what this lawyer says may be true economically): "A divorce litigator put it a little more simply: "There is no reason for a woman to go to medical school. If she wants to have the spending power of a doctor she can just have sex with three doctors." (see the Wisconsin chapter for how the arithmetic works out) In some states, though not Wisconsin, a plaintiff's own earnings or earning potential can reduce the potential profits from child support. "A degree in poetry is a lot better than a degree in medicine when you're a child support plaintiff," observed one litigator, and added "for a woman with a functioning reproductive system, the decision to attend college and work is seldom an economically rational one in the United States.""

Is it that hard to to imagine three high-earning young male Googlers ending up in such a situation of supporting one woman with a combined Google-level salary in child support?

Perhaps another reason for a basic income (one which includes payment for children) is to change the divisive nature of child support litigation?

By the way, some related comedy from the 1960s (not quite the same idea but in that direction): "Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062767/reviews "[Gina Lollobrigida] plays the mother of the lovely Janet Margolin, whose American soldier father was supposedly killed during World War II [or so she was told]. The thing is, Gina isn't sure who the father was, since she was friendly with three soldiers at the time, (played by Peter Lawford, Phil Silvers and Telly Savalas), and all are very much alive. Each of the three thinks he is the father and has been financially supporting the girl in secret for over 20 years. Trouble and hilarity ensue when the three men and their wives return to the Italian village for an Army reunion, and Gina has to juggle all six of them while keeping her daughter from finding out the truth."


Ah I see, but then I return to my "lottery tickets" example; You can make millions with a single ticket, but there is no reproducible strategy for finding a winning ticket that doesn't exceed the payout in cost.

I'm sure plenty of women have tried it with Murphy, yet it was Mel B that ended up in a relationship with him, a well-know pop artist already. "one night in a bar" is misleading if there are requirements in getting into that bar, and being successful.

How can a woman guarantee bearing the children of 3 doctors? How many men would they need to have unprotected sex with until success? If this became a popular strategy, it would be easy to exploit for sex with male contraceptives.

> change the divisive nature of child support litigation

perhaps, but not to punish the child. Of course, regulation of female reproductive rights is a can of worms too.. Maybe a male-infertility pill/device might be a better idea?..


>They can of course do whatever they want, but I have very little sympathy for people who recognize how reality is and don't try to act in ways that will optimize the probability of the outcome they want.

Yep. I recognized that I was ugly, and I thought that this was the primary obstacle when it came to dating. I fixed that with surgery, and I was right.


It's only a matter of time before we can pay CBT psychotherapists to give us good senses of humor and easy-to-be-around personalities. We're fast converging on a future where IQ and inherited wealth will be the only two fundamental positive qualities.


>We're fast converging on a future where IQ and inherited wealth will be the only two fundamental positive qualities.

Genome editing might take care of IQ.


Fortunately, different people like different traits, so we'll definitely not be converging.


Why would we need to fix basic biology?


Good luck trying to explain this simple reality of life. Youth is very important to males because of the diminishing ability of women to reproduce as they get closer to 40, with males it is much later. It is biology 101 but today mentioning biology as a reason to anything related to the relations between sexes is a heresy.


It's not a heresy if it isn't being reductionist.

The problem is the reductionism towards a "simple and easy explanation", biology is one factor as so are other sociological ones, if you keep your argument just based on (what you've called) biology 101 you aren't wrong, you are just misguided, ill-informed or being malicious.


This


>Therefore, in order to attract a mate, logically women should try to attract a mate when they're younger, and try to improve the way they look. They should not be trying to get more educated or accomplish more in their careers.

Now that's ridiculous, why should women care about getting a mate, it's not like we have a sub-replacement birthrate or anything, or that having children later increases the chance of birth defects.


Is this a problem that needs to be solved, though?

I see a dichotomy here. On one hand, we would like to have more women in the "educated" and therefore, high-income workforce. This, in turn, causes imbalance in the dating market and may force the women in the high-income bracket to make a concession(by lowering their standards, etc). On the other, we can go back to the model where men dominate the high-income workforce and many women can "marry up" when they're younger. I would pick the former than the latter any day. Equality of opportunity trumps the equality of results in my world.

Also, beyond a certain point, money just doesn't make the other person more attractive. I would rather date a caring jobless younger woman than an abusive doctor with several degrees. I make enough to pursue my dreams and leisures. Articles like this actually seem very insensitive for the men of my situation(previously poor, now making comfortably but didn't date much in 20s), as it purports that I, as a man in dating market, is worth as much as the amount of money I make. I hope that's not case for most people.

Think about it. This is a "crisis" because there aren't high-earning men that these high-earning women would allow themselves to date? It doesn't necessarily trigger schadenfreude to me, if not a profound sadness due to a nature of the "problem". As a single man of early thirties, this sort of article horrifies and saddens me. You need to find your own happiness and maybe it shouldn't depend on other people.

Jon Birger's Date-onomics(2015) discusses this phenomenon[1] pretty astutely, if you're interested in reading further data.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/Date-onomics-Dating-Became-Lopsided-N...


It's one of the drivers causing all developed countries to have a fertility rate below the replacement rate.

Japan's population, which is shrinking, worries about an aging majority without a base of young healthy workers who can support the economy and social programs. They are trying to mend this in the medium term by encouraging more women into the workforce, but, as we see from this article, that may have the unintended consequence of exacerbating the fertility crisis even further.


That's a problem for Japan, but not rich western countries which can simply accept more immigration.


There is nothing simple about accepting more immigration, just look to Brexit for that.


Or Germany. It was just announced today that Merkel was unable to form a majority coalition after the recent election:

> Merkel was weakened after a September election as voters angry with her decision in 2015 to open Germany’s borders to more than a million asylum seekers punished her conservatives by voting for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-politics/merkel-f...


> Or Germany. It was just announced today that Merkel was unable to form a majority coalition after the recent election

One has nothing to do with the other.

The political landscape in Germany is transforming, and has been since long before the refugee crisis. Previously typical majority constellations have gone away (and won't come back, AfD or no), and the parties are struggling to find a place in this new reality.

The failure of this round of coalition talks was due to one party not understanding that they need to be more flexible in the new political reality.

My personal suspicion is that, should it come to reelections, they would be punished for their stubbornness.


I directly quotes Reuters.

> Merkel was weakened after a September election as voters angry with her decision in 2015 to open Germany’s borders to more than a million asylum seekers punished her conservatives by voting for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party

She had trouble forming a coalition because her party's share was further weakened after the vote, presumably because of 2015 migration crisis and the rise of AfD, requiring a potential partnership with 2 different parties, at different ends of the political spectrum, in addition to Merkel's.


> I directly quotes Reuters.

No doubt.

Reuters still fails to see (or report) the forest for the trees in this instance.

> She had trouble forming a coalition because her party's share was further weakened after the vote, presumably because of 2015 migration crisis and the rise of AfD,

AfD and its initial growth predates the migration crisis (but had originally had very different political goals and actors). You're right of course, they benefited from it. But I think the lack of a far-right party in the German political spectrum was always a distortion of reality, which has now been corrected. My gut feeling is that there will always be ten-ish percent of the population who subscribe to such ideas. They've merely become politically visible now.

The fate of CDU/CSU merely repeats what SPD already suffered with Die Linke more than a decade ago: a contender further towards the political extreme, who will make previously common coalitions impossible. I've repeatedly read the claim that such a development was overdue for CDU/CSU. For that reason, it's generally assumed that AfD (and its effect on feasibility of particular coalitions) won't go away.

I further think there's an underlying issue that politics in Germany has become complacent and removed from the people, deeming it unnecessary to justify and explain their politics to the public. The rise of AfD seems to be one of the reactions, in a vague parallel to Trumpism.

In fact I consider this the one redeeming aspect of AfD's entry to parliament: the parties suddenly find themselves forced to justify their choices. I've already observed that effect in the political discourse.

> requiring a potential partnership with 2 different parties, at different ends of the political spectrum, in addition to Merkel's.

It's worse than that: three different parties (you overlooked CSU). And CSU is in full campaing mode, as there's a state-level election in Bavaria less than a year away, and CSU is threatened with losing their 50-year absolute majority. Plus there's a battle going on for the seat of CSU chairman.

Interestingly, the two antipodes, CSU and Grüne, weren't yet ready to abort the talks, and had in fact both made painful concessions in order to attempt a coalition.


Those things are related. If you are more conservative and sort of feel that male should be primary breadwinner and women should be more of caregiver, then the relative preferences follow logically. It does not need to be expressed political opinion or judgement about other people, it is enough when dude feels bad if he is not competitive at work and she feels like bad mother compared to other mothers.

Add to it an 80 hours a week expected working schedule for professionals that makes it impossible to spend much time together and any other choice don't even make sense.

For anything else, there needs to be real relationship and time spent together etc. Which is something I don't see these articles talk about at all - they treat marriage/relationship as a technical thing that people just suddenly do without really needing to work on or spend time on.


> But for accomplished women who successfully traverse the waters of a mating pool unfairly stacked against them, mating triumph at the individual level typically takes precedence over loftier goals of reducing societal-level inequality when the two come into conflict.

It's wrong to characterize the pool as "unfairly" stacked against them; they could choose to date men with lower incomes or less education.


Yeah, it's assortive mating. It's not that the mating pool is stacked against them - it's that their self assessment of their own "rank" is too high. They assume men want in a woman what women want in a man, and for the most part men don't care about the (potential) wife's career.


> for the most part men don't care about the (potential) wife's career.

There might even be an inverse correlation - the more successful the man is (hence the more money he earns, and the more hours he works), the more he would prefer his partner to take the lion's share of childcare and house-making, and also be able to pay for it.

Ideally, of course, neither parent would have to work, but that's even more unrealistic for most of the population.


Not the usual sort of discussion I expect to see on Edge but welcome nonetheless. Fertility services, reproductive tech is very hot right now. With women who heed the countdown of their biological clocks electing to freeze their eggs at $50K, it could also be considered a growth sector. So why not provide the spectrum of services a single professional would need to raise a family. From quality genetically screened gamete seed banks. Making it as easy to order 23 chromosomes as you would pick out a new laptop on Newegg. To generous paid maternity care and leave. Nanny, lactation consulting, on-call pediatrics, daycare. As well as transportation, grocery delivery, nursery installation and much more.

Of course all of this is readily available via bespoke services for those that can afford it. So how to we extend all the necessary services to a middle class single professional woman?

If it truly is a crisis that birth rates are falling in the developed world. And restricted immigration results in further population skew. Then taxpayers must begin the debate on subsidizing reproductive and childcare services. Because traditional "nudge" messaging and policy seems to neglect where organic demand lies: having children and career, without the necessity or social norm of marriage.


You assume single parent upbringing is optimal? Why are 1. the world's population (as opposed to 'developed world's' population), and 2., the best for the child, not considered?


Because capitalism. If single wealthy women want children for... god knows what reason, there are enough studies to show that children need their parents throughout their childhoods to develop optimally, and having one or even worse both of them sequestered away in careers while they grow up in daycare is harmful. But if single wealthy women want children they will get them, they have the financial resources to push the economy into making it happen one way or another. You don't fight economics with morals postmortem.


You're supposed to raise your own children. This is inconsistent with having virtually every job an "educated" person can have.


This is the life-hack more mid-30s women are doing now. I think people underestimate the significance of it. Able to carry out the rearing function with perceived top quality sperm that would be unaccessible to them naturally.


Better tools to connect women and men could have a major impact and increase the chances that couples connect with each other. Tinder and other dating sites are absolute shit (plenty of literature on their problems for both men and women out there) and in person interactions are becoming more rare. Improving these tools might help some of the people who would otherwise not connect or find suitable mates to do so, though it can only address the problem partially.


The problem isn't the tools, the problem is human nature. The way we select mates just doesn't work the way we tell ourselves it does, and the reality is that vary many people will never be compatible with anyone.

In the past, and in other cultures, this is solved by significant social pressure forcing people together.


It's not technically hard to build a dating site/app. If you have an idea for a better tool then go ahead and build it. Numerous entrepreneurs have already succeeded in this space. IAC is happy to buy up any dating site that establishes a large user base.


Why do you think "connecting" would help? It's possible, likely even, that it would further exacerbate the problem, allowing more choice for those who want it (men), and allowing all those who are choosy (women) to aim for the top.

Similar to the media - we thought that making the world more connected would make it better, but so far all we've got is more sensationalism, fake news, and cat videos. Most people ignore the "leaks".


You mean more tools in the same vein as meetup.com?


This problem is very evident amongst single female friends who are just out of medical residency. The ones that are married mostly met their spouses in undergrad but the others are having a lot of trouble finding men of similar education level.


My wife is applying for residency now and it's become clear to me that American medical education just isn't fit for human consumption in general. I'm not at all surprised that your friends are having trouble with dating.


Hope they're willing to settle for someone with nothing more than a Bachelor's who still outearns them 2:1, after accounting for time spent in school instead of working and debt.


My experience trying to date women in physics and comp sci says this is mostly a crisis amongst non stem women.


Of course, because in STEM it's the opposite: an oversupply of (educated) men.


Where I think this will go is pretty easy, as it happens already among the less-educated.

Women will select a mate based more on looks than money, have a kid or two, then divorce him (aka "starter marriages".) Child support from the male will probably not matter for women who make enough money, but might still be a useful tool to keep the ex-hubby in line.

This is probably a simpler, if more cynical, means than freezing ova for the "perfect" man to fertilize.

And while men at the tippy-top might take a pass on divorcees with kids, for most men beyond a certain age, it's a fact of life, and frankly, we have decades of cultural brain-washing that makes such attitudes seem sexist.


Interestingly no discussion of what must be a similar crisis among less-educated men.


That would mean trying to understand and optimize for men's reproductive strategy. As far as I can tell, the western world seems mostly concerned with female reproductive strategy.


I wonder if it is any different in other countries with better health coverage and more family friendly policies.


You mean it is ok to be biologically inspired for your mating choices? Who knew?


Hardly a crisis...


Care to explain why you feel that way? From your statement I hope that you're extremely enlightened on the topic or have first hand experience being an educated woman trying to date.


No one is entitled to being in a relationship. No one is entitled to having a partner.


And that's relevant how? Entitled or not, we generally think that if would be better if people who want relationships were in relationships.


>Entitled or not, we generally think that if would be better if people who want relationships were in relationships.

In a perfect world, sure. Sadly, we are discussing reality here.


Having a lot of single childless people is not good for society.


I was wondering why this comment was downvoted, and realized that it’s probably because of the “childless” bit, which is a pretty conservative attitude.

But there is an important point here. People who are in a healthy family and have dependents don’t do things like suicide bomb or go on mass shootings. Those are the acts of desperate, miserable men.

I’m not advocating nuclear families, but when I hear about the insane gender disparity in places like China, I worry.


Who says women have to date men?


In biology, mating (or mateing in British English) is the pairing of either opposite-sex or hermaphroditic organisms, usually for the purposes of sexual reproduction

-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mating


[flagged]


It's Wikipedia makes the claim, not I :-)


Needs citations


Anyone else think this article was going to be about chess?

Man HN has my mind so warped I thought this article was going to be about women and chess.


Seems to fit. "Unable to secure the smothered mate, she had to settle for the backrank mate."


[flagged]


I don't know, where?


I'm impressed HN — not a single mention yet of hypergamy, SMV or Red Pill theory!

(and now I've gone and ruined it)


Always keep Law 38 in mind.


Why is the onus of lowering their standards being pushed on educated women? One of the issues the author states is that men increasingly go for younger women instead of ones their own age. Why do we value youth and beauty instead of education and accomplishments?


> Why is the onerous of lowering their standards being pushed on educated women?

A single person looking to find a partner is in essence selling something: themselves. When selling anything it's important to consider the target market.

If the market isn't interested in what someone is selling there's a few options: 1) Change the product 2) Find a different market

Changing the behavior of the market is not an option because, unless it's a really really desirable product, the market isn't likely to budge.

So educated women that the article is referring could decide to not lower their standards but the risk they face is being alone.


>Why do we value youth and beauty instead of education and accomplishments?

I for one, do value these traits. If I were to choose between two equally looking girls, I would choose the smarter. On the other hand, I have a strict lower bound for appearance, and no amount of education or accomplishment can compensate for being under that threshold. We can still talk about programming though!


Both sides are lowering standards along different dimensions. Assuming the perfect mate is someone who is young, attractive, educated and accomplished -- men choose the young and attractive and women choose 'educated and accomplished'.


The article itself is saying that women's proclivity to want higher status male is due to biology. If we're okay with it, then shouldn't men's proclivity to want younger, healthier female be okay?


The article isn't pushing for women to lower their standards. It's just describing the present situation and offering an explanation for how it came to be.


Because biology. When it comes to mating what someone is is more important than what they know. Which biologically makes sense.


I am a firm believer in humanity's ability to overcome our biology.


So are religious leaders and mothers and Soviet social planners. But they are perpetually disappointed.

Because what is humanity without it's biology?

Instinct doesn't belong to the individual, it belongs to the species. And life doesn't care atoll about abstract moral principal. That's just syntactic sugar to help us manage and grow the hive given biological impulse. When we overcome a natural impulse guess what? It's a natural impulse doing that too. If we overcome all natural impulse (how?) this species is finished and are something else, certainly not "humanity" at that point.

Right now what really drives us around is 10's of thousands of years older than the beginning of writing and cities. At least.


>If we overcome all natural impulse (how?) this species is finished and are something else, certainly not "humanity" at that point.

What's wrong with that?


It might be inevitable that we give rise to intelligent machines, become machines and that's it. Nothing wrong with it.

But at present we are behaviorally closer to monkeys even if we dress up in suits and have rules and values. Which don't (unlike what we generally conceive) have any eternal significance beyond being various versions of conventions such as "who gets to pick the lice off the alpha male first".

Point being, what we are is the reality of what we have to work with. Mating included. Puritan scolders will forever fail and life will keep right on going until the machine (if that ever happens).


> why do we value youth and beauty instead of education and accomplishments?

Simple answer is, it's instinctual.


The onerous onus to find the educated.


eh, this is like an obese man complaining that thin women don't want to date him, then when people point out the obvious, he complains why is the onus being pushed on him instead of on the thin women who don't find him attractive.




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