Analytically cuddly Lovecraftian sith lord
The only things that I know studies have shown to be predictors of how successful a relationship will be are:- Similar IQ (not necessarily high or low, but similar to each other; can’t remember the study specifically)- Lack of Gottman’s Four Horsemen: contempt, criticism, stonewalling, defensiveness (though this has largely been studied by Gottman himself because it’s hard to get anyone else to study your theories in psych)Honestly maybe I should have just listed the four horsemen and left it at that :P
It seems one of the issues coming up here is that I was assuming dating documents would be written out honestly and in good faith. In particular, I was assuming that those that aren’t doing so won’t be taking my advice anyway. I also recognize that there’s a certain degree of self-knowledge I’m assuming, because largely these documents are written by people who have dated enough to know what they do and don’t actually want. I didn’t notice this when writing the document out, but I do now.
I also suspect that the lack of examples given makes it look like I’m endorsing preferences that I don’t want to endorse, purely because I’m telling people to list out their preferences. So for example, it’s not uncommon for women on dating apps to plausible-deniability-joke about a preference for dating men over 6 feet, which isn’t something I’d endorse listing as a dealbreaker. However, if someone is single and already has a child, it makes sense that they’d have dealbreakers related to this, like a potential partner wanting kids at all, and non-negotiables, like details about how they wish to raise and parent their child. Some of these might even be non-negotiables and dealbreakers for people who don’t yet have kids.
For a less child-centric example (because it’s too easy to point to kids as a reason to be upfront): I am a therapist, and know that I have a tendency to do a lot of emotional labor for people I’m close to. In the past, people have taken advantage of this, so I have pretty strict boundaries about how willing I am to do said emotional work for someone I’m dating. As a result, I have a strong preference that anyone I’m dating who would benefit from therapy be in therapy, so they have an outlet for all of this that isn’t me. I’ve seen other dating documents where people mention things like a tendency to get into heated arguments, difficulty understanding their own emotions, high impulsivity, etc. The thing is, these traits could be a big deal for some people, and a non-issue for others. Some therapists don’t have any difficulty setting emotional boundaries with their partners, some people who love arguments are better able to keep themselves in check, etc. So it’s hard to say universally which traits are most important to be discussed upfront, because they differ so widely.
Threads are largely on Facebook, along with personal conversations. Most of these are with women seeking a nesting partner, and most of these documents are written by men seeking a nesting partner, so in this sense the group I got most of my data from is the target audience. I do think that a lot of this is more generalizable, at least within our community though; knowing whether or not your partner wants kids is useful regardless of gender and sexuality. I think part of what you’re getting at is that it’s ambiguous where each piece of advice is coming from, and you’re definitely right about that—I initially was compiling this information for personal use before deciding it might be worth sharing, hence not having sources and such. Re the comment you didn’t quite get… the appeal of a dating document is largely from the ability to be upfront about what you want. This is to avoid the common failure mode of dating someone for years only to find a fundamental incompatibility that, if brought up from the start, could have saved a lot of trouble. It’s an attempt to date more efficiently. This is the attitude both readers and writers of these docs bring to the table. In the same way that people might use a specific app to find a specific kind of connection, people have used dating docs as a way of finding someone willing to make things work based on practical alignments like coparenting and such.I have anecdotal evidence that dating documents are helpful with getting dates, but no actual numbers. What I have found is that the sooner in a relationship couples discuss potential dealbreakers, goals for the future, etc, the more likely they are to either last or have a mutual breakup with no hard feelings. Again, no actual numbers here, but I’m a therapist and have worked with couples and taken workshops that have only supported this belief. In particular, often couples will fall in love, realize that they don’t align on practical things, and then try to make it work anyway, often ending up feeling stuck together (like if they have kids) or having a messy breakup. The reason I think dating documents would work is that they improve upon an existing method for finding a partner, with the addition of built-in disclosures to prevent common failure modes. Plus, even if the document itself isn’t what finds you a match, writing one out is a good exercise in figuring out what you want and showing it to a potential partner is a good way of assessing practical compatibility upfront.Apologies for not properly answering your questions the first time. It’s been years since I’ve written on LW and I’m both a bit rusty and incredibly nervous. I do appreciate the constructive feedback, and acknowledge that my own experience (being told my ideas are invalid for not having measurable evidence and credible studies to cite) played a part in my response’s tone.
I base what people tend to expect on the threads resulting from such documents, as well as a good amount of conversation that takes place in person. Similarly, what “should” be included is a mix of things I’ve noticed in existing documents, avoidable failure modes of relationships, and from my own conversations with people (largely women) in the community discussing what they’re looking for in a partner in general. Given that these documents are written with the intent to be straightforward about what one does and doesn’t want in seeking a long term partner, I’m assuming people would rather know if the person has attributes they highly value in a partner sooner rather than later.
Also, like I mentioned at the start, the post is written as an instructional on how to write one, despite being more of a meta-analysis on dating docs. This is because I want to normalize writing documents like this, and found that explaining how to do things is really helpful in helping them feel empowered to do it. Re evidence, despite rising popularity, there isn’t actually enough on these dating documents to draw conclusions on what is and isn’t successful. I do think using documents like these are a great idea (it’s actually similar to modern arranged marriage practices in a sense) and that’s why I’m trying to push it into awareness now rather than waiting for there to be enough data on how successful this particular version is within our subculture.
So glad this could give you hope! :)
Oh yeah, thanks for linking that! Looking over it now, I got some of my ideas from this post when I read it quite a few years ago, and forgot to link it in my main post.
Yeah, it should be noted that anyone who knows me cannot be my client, though I can take on friends of friends as clients. Regarding Reflect specifically, you can select how many matches they give you and/or contact Reflect directly if you are matched with people you know, to help mitigate this issue.
Huh, this is very different from the experience of myself and those who I have spoken to about this when writing this post. Is this something you or anyone else has written about?
This was initially written in the context of my therapeutic practice, so alas, I cannot provide a link. I appreciate your thoughtful response! Glad it was helpful
Sometimes it depends on a person’s mood, and sometimes it depends on the person or the specifics around the activity. There are movies and shows I would only watch if I wanted to zone out, but a mystery or thriller isn’t one of them, and it would be hard to get totally engrossed in something I’d seen a few times because I know what’s happening next. But for music, it’s been long enough since I’d played that I wouldn’t be able to use that as a passive distraction—even for a relatively simple piece.