Have people lost the ability to asses relationship compatibility?

Obviously we live in a world where divorces and failed relationships have become common place. As a result many people have cast those institutions aside altogether in favor of FWB's and ONS's.

One of the factors that I think contributes to this fact, is that people have lost the ability to ascertain whether or not the object of their affection is truly compatible with them, or even that someone they don't necessarily desire at the moment would be a good match. Time and time again, I see people get into relationships that clearly were doomed from the start because the two people were so polar opposites.

I was talking about this with my dad the other day, and ironically, the next day, a user on GaG asked me how to tell if a person is compatible with them. This really got me thinking. A lot of this probably has to do with our passage into the digital age. The internet and cell phones have changed the dynamic of dating and as a result people have lost the social skills required to analyze a person or at the very least interact with them in such as way as to ask the right questions and uncover important information. We simply send flirty texts with smiley faces all day and develop our relationships off of that (ok maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but you get my point).

I've always prided myself on my ability to read and understand people (hence the reason I'm on this site), but even still, a big turning point for me was when I tried online dating a few years back. After filling out questionnaires on sites like okcupid and eharmony, which is some were can be quite exhaustive, I had a much better idea of the types of questions I should be asking myself when determining if my partner is compatible.

So what do you guys think? Have we lost the ability to asses relationship compatibility? Or is there something else going on here?
  • Yes, we've lost our ability to asses compatibility
    Vote A
  • No, we still know how to judge compatibility
    Vote B
  • I'm not sure, show me the answers anyway
    Vote C
Select age and gender to cast your vote:
I'm a GirlI'm a Guy


Most Helpful Guy

  • It might have something to do with that, but that's only part of it. There are other things that factor into the equation.

    1. We live in an instant-gratification society. Use it until you're bored with it and throw it away and get something new. Unfortunately, a lot of people carry this same attitude over to relationships. They probably don't even realize that they're doing it, but ignorance doesn't change anything.

    2. People can't distinguish reality from fantasy where relationships are concerned, because they don't understand them. They're expecting the fantasy that they've seen in movies and TV, which almost always centers on the feelings you get from the hormones that are released during the "newness" stage of a relationship, and so they're not satisfied when reality sinks in. Media almost never addresses the "reality" stage, because it's not fun and exciting and interesting. It's comfortable, and that makes for sh*tty drama.

    They assume that the newness stage of the relationship IS the relationship, and so when that ends, they assume the relationship must be a failure.

    3. Directly caused by point #2, moving between relationships has become common enough that people began to perceive it as the norm. It's now ~expected~ (and reinforced by entertainment media) that a person will go through relationship after relationship in order to find the permanent fantasy fulfillment, which never actually happens.

    4. The result of point #3 is often enlightenment in the form of settlement. After moving through relationship after relationship, and often at least one divorce, people give up on the fantasy and decide to settle for reality.

    • Dead on. I hate to say it but I think its the women who are slightly more guilty than men in this regard. I actually read an article once (don't remember where), but I think it was on yahoo or something, about how movies and romance novels are starting to give girls unrealistic expectation of relationships and guys. They assume their relationship should play out like a sequel to twilight and when it doesn't they assume the guy doesn't love them or their relationship is doomed.

    • I agree with this guy, One good example would be my sister,she has been in so many relationships because she breaks up with them when arguments start to develop. She states that no man is going to be disagreeing with her. I always advice her that arguments we all have it, and that there is times where things get tough and its normal. Apparently she wants a prince charm the will please her with everything. And I do think its television sending those messages

    • It also sounds like your sister has a bad case of what I call female entitlement, another phenomenon that we can thank feminism for. So many girls walk around thinking that men should worship the ground they walk on just because they are a women and because as men, we owe it to them for all there years of so called hardship. Your sister is in for a rude awakening. I hope she likes cats and living alone.

Recommended Questions

Have an opinion?

What Girls Said 9

  • I don't it necessarily has to do something with that. Maybe that's a small part of it, but I think the bigger part is that getting a divorce is much socially acceptable now.

    I don't people back then could judge this significantly more accurate than we can (that answers is missing in you poll, so I voted C) but 60s years ago you got married in your late teens or early 20s and then you had to stay together. A divorce was almost never an option, so people were willing to put a lot more effort into making that relatioship work. You that "when something was broke you used to fix, now you just get something new" anology. People are just not willing to work on their relationships as much or make compromises.

    I guess what also may play a role, at least my dad claims so, is that back then parents and older siblings had much bigger infulence on who their children were going to marry. So even though you didn't know who was right for you and who bad, your family would keep you from making a huge mistake.

    Of course divorce did beome more acceptable in the 70s and 80s, so pretty much the time our parents met and I don't know about you but in my school the majority of parents were divorced.

    Also you can't see the recent increase of divorce necessarily see as a new development. Usually people stay married for 2,5,10 sometimes even 20 years. Those people getting divorced now got married years or even decades ago. Research that has been done on that actually shows that there is shift towards more traditional values among young people. So anyways from my expierence, when I was in elementary school almost no parents were divorced but when I started high school more and more of my friends parents got divorced and they met and got married in 20 or even 30 years ago, a long time before the internet and smartphones

    And what is also important is that just because people didn't get divorced back then, doesn't mean they were happy.

    • Fully agree with the fixing and get a new one part. I side with the prior. Aside from extreme circumstances, people are too quick to look for something new. Relationships are never perfect and they take work. The family part is big too, but I think it depends on the family and how involved they are with their kids lives. I think parents just aren't teaching their kids lessons like this in general anymore, at least not like they used to.

  • This is super interesting! I'm not sure about whether or not we assess compatibility better or worse, but the dating age does seem more difficult.

    Meeting someone on the internet poses a whole new set of problems (will we have chemistry in person?), etc. Not to mention text etiquette. Technology is so available that it hurts even more when someone does not make the tiny effort to text a love interest.

    Also, I can't forget how many people, seemingly wholesome on the outside, can create a double life through the internet and texting. Cheating and deceit are way easier to carry out with technology, and it is hard to detect this dishonesty when you're talking to someone through a screen and not hearing his/her voice or maintaining eye contact.

    It's a mess. A super mess. Honestly, even though it is more possible for me to meet more people thanks to the internet, I feel more hopeless than when I did hearing about dating as a kid. I don't know who anyone is anymore, or is anyone will put in the effort for more face-to-face contact.

    *ramble over*

    • *if anyone will put in the effort.

      Sheesh typos -_-;;

    • Agree with you 100%. Hence the reason I hate cell phones, texting, and all that other bullsh*t. I know for us guys, we always talk about texting being the worst invention for guys and dating. You no longer have an excuse to be unavailable.

    • Indeed. It's tiring for women too, because we feel too open and vulnerable, with multiple ports of rejection. It's like that one scene in He's Just Not That Into You where she mentions checking her email, Blackberry, home phone, work phone, etc... It's too much.

  • relationships are transient. once people realize this, they will relax & just enjoy things as they experience them.

    theres way too much pressure put on perfection, it doesn't exist things change., you either work through it or you move on. I don't see an ethical problem with either side.

    i think in all situations, people would do better to be aware & openminded & put effort into understanding other people. they do seem very reluctant to do this. I don't think ability is lost, as we are still cognitively competent. just the will to do so, may be diminished.

    i think relying on computers to communicate is not as significant as people don't really try to communicate. even when talking. few people actually have real discussions. its a lot of quick fix answers or playing games. I think it has more to do with the culture your in, rather than the technological advancement. tho they are not separate. when more interest is put on developing machines, than is it on developing human/ social consciousness.

    there are psychological, consequences. it would be like a 6 year old having a growth put to 6 foot. you can't expect her/ him to suddenly be mature. more insightful. more intuitive... imo, we are not keeping up emotionally/ psychologically / politically/ philosophically, with technology.

    • I agree that today more than ever we put more pressure on perfection. Everyone has unrealistic expectations of their relationship and their partners. I'm not suggesting that people learn how to find a person who fits 100% of their criteria, but most dating coaches would probably suggest you look for someone who fits about 70-80% and who's remaining 20-30% are things you can live with. 100% isn't realistic and below 50% is a disaster waiting to happen.

    • i think, part of perfection, is expecting things to last forever. sometimes they just dont. it doesn't mean it was wrong.,

    • Well to each his own but if you subscribe to that mindset then you shouldn't get married. Marriage is intended to be forever "until death do us part". So if you don't believe in things lasting forever then marriage I guess isn't for you. I personally approach every relationship with the intent of making it last forever, even if I know that that won't necessarily happen.

  • I don't think divorce rates are a nessecarily an indicator of our ability to pick a suitable partner...I think the % of unhappy relationships has probably always been about the same...it's just back in the day divorce was often impossible and extremely shameful so people just put up with living miserable, violent unhappy marriages rather than admit defeat.

    • I think so too. I know of marriages today that are unhappy but they feel like "I made my bed so now I have to lie in it."

    • Just goes to show what a bad joke marriage is/always has been. (In my humble opinion.)

  • Alright- I think people do jump into relationships without thinking all the time. That's why so many divorces and couples splitting up, etc are happening. That's why there are so many people having tons of bad relationships and having kids with these people that are bad for them. Also there are so many other factors into a person's life that add into the fact that they are more desperate for love than others. Some of those: lack of self confidence, lack of love from parents and other family members, etc. It is all individually based. People get married earlier in life, without fully accessing that particular relationship compatibility, and then they lose. I wish that more people were like you, and didn't just jump into so many different relationships...it would be so much happier for them.

    • Especially when I was younger, some people used to even tease me about my sexuality because of my lack of GF's. that was just because I only felt it was worth my time if I really really connected with the girl. Otherwise it seemed pointless to me. I've become a bit more open minded in my adult years, but even still I don't take every opportunity that comes at me, I only date girls that I feel have a reasonable chance at actually becoming something.

    • Yeah...I should probably be more open than I am right now. I just know myself...and I agree with you, I'm not going to waste my time with someone that won't go anywhere...that's just pointless to me too.

  • yeah, dating sites are basially bullsh*t, and the internet is changing the dyanmics a lot, as well as easy access and addiction to p*rn... and many other things related to the internet.

  • Have people lost the ability to asses relationship compatibility?

    Some people have and some people haven't. No different than past times and likely no different than potential times.

    So what do you guys think?

    I think that breakups/divorces arecommonplace as it's less stigmatized and more readily available. I've known plenty of gals from past times that wanted a divorce yet didn't because of fear of social stigma or simply because it was quite difficult for a gal to get divorce so they simply waited until their husbands die and they danced on his grave to be happy.

  • So far, I think only the Baby Boomer generation has provided evidence to support that theory. They're the ones that provided the data for that statistic (50%+ divorce rate).

    Generation Y is starting to reach the age of pairing off, but there hasn't been enough time or a great enough number of pairs to determine any conclusive data about their marriages.

    So in short, did the Baby Boomers lack the ability to assess compatibility? Yes, almost overwhelmingly so (as is evidenced by the numerous failed marriages).

    Did the Greatest Generation (Baby Boomers' parents)? Apparently no (or that wasn't a factor).

    Does Generation Y (Baby Boomers' kids)? Don't know yet. We'll see.

    • I'd have to look up some actual stats but my GUESS is that your not entirely correct. I don't think its the baby boomers who are getting divorced. It's the generation just after them. I know in my experience almost everyone I know who has gotten a divorce recently is in their 30's and 40's. I even know quite a few in their 20's who have gotten divorces.

  • I think about this a lot. I believe that we have lost the ability to truly know if we are compatible with someone. I mean, how do you know? I felt like I found the love of my life and he turned around and told me he was just using me. It's just beyond me... I don't know how we're supposed to figure anything out these days.

    Funny thing is with that last guy, we never even dated.. so what I was basing all of that "love of my life" stuff off of was the fact we'd spent SO much time together. Countless hours just being best friends. We always knew we had a thing for each other, but the timing was never right so we didn't act on it. Then when we started to he turned around and said he was using me... after 7 years of liking me? Makes it hard to make any kind of decision off of that. So have we lost the ability... maybe we have. I figured being able to stay up all night with someone, cuddle with them and tell them everything and have them tell you everything were really good things. being able to spend time together and do w/e together and it's still fun? I thought that was good too. apparently I was wrong?

    • Been in your exact same situation. I know the feelings. People have also become more selfish in our society but that's an issue for another day.

    • yeah, I mean, how do you think you know if you've found the right person? He was a selfish one, but he had always been known for being a little arrogant and bit selfish. I always thought it was funny and just laughed it off.

What Guys Said 7

  • Okay, here's the thing, "Dating" used to be something that didn't even happen. Usually, people were set up by their parents. THis isn't as bad as you think, the parents would introduce you to new people who they felt were compatible with you, and you chose one of them.

    Once dating hit the scene, there really isn't much in the way of pre-filtering, and first impressions are quite deceiving. There is simply a lot more trial and error.

    Also, although marriages end sooner, they have actually gotten BETTER according to studies. (I hate using that phrase, but I don't have the links on me.) The difference is that divorce is now easier and more socially accepted, so it's easier to drop your spouse and run than it is to compromise or expect them to compromise. We used to work to keep the relationship going, now we drop it and run when things get tough.

    As for some of the other things, I agree that we have become more emotionally distant with each other. Whether or not the digital age has anything to do with it is up for debate, though.

    To me, it's the infestation of Capitalism into the cultural level.

    That is, our brand Capitalism runs on the idea that a business should be fairly free of restrictions so that they can succeed, and companies that are failing are basically expendable or are absorbed into larger ones.

    However, we took this farther than ever was intended during the red scare. We avoided helping each other because "that's commie bigotry", and we tried to make sure everything we did was anti-commie as possible.

    As a result, we treat our friendships and romances as business deals:

    -Constantly keeping tally of who did what and who owes whom.

    -Someone who needs help is considered weak and that they shouldn't get in the way of the strong. We give most of our apathy to those who need sympathy.

    -The modern take on gender issues involves declaring the other group as a privileged class, and saying "they owe us something". Rather than uniting to solve the problems, we're pitted against each other, treating the other as an obstacle to overcome, rather than a companion for support.

    -Advertising focuses squarely on making us feel inadequate, saying "our product will help you meet these standards." So we're holding ourselves to insane standards, and thinking the other group is the ones pushing them on us. So the idea of a relationship feels more like someone criticizing everything wrong about you, rather than celebrating everything right about you.

    There are technically advanced parts of the world who don't have this problem, meaning technology isn't the culprit, but culture is. Friends, family, lovers, favors, asking for help, and showing interest, have all become business transactions, and we're too busy keeping tally to enjoy the experiences.

    • Agree with most of this post. Always good stuff from you openclose

    • I completely agree.

      People like to marry into money, looks, and brains more oft than they marry into love.

  • Yes, we're too self indulgent to see the other person's point of view, so we just assume they feel the same way we do. We don't reflect and we don't really listen to the other person we're involved with. Not most of us!

    Sometimes I thik we should go BACK to the era when our parents arranged things, frankly.

    • Fully agree with your first statement. I'm not so sure I would go that far, but I do think parents should have a lot more involvement in teaching their kids about dating than they currently do. Parents in general are becoming more distant. They're so busy working and things like that, that the kids get forgotten about. Then everyone wants to know why our kids are all growing up to be useless pricks. They aren't being taught the facets of life.

  • Only in places that are mixing bowls.

    You forgot that the United States only has 300+ million people, compared to China with over a billion, their divorce rate is pretty low compared to ours.

  • I truly believe that we have lost our patients when it comes to relationships. We are an "I want it now" society. We can get pretty much anything delivered or from a drive thru. That's why dating sites are so big today, because we like easy. So when we get into that relationship and the second it starts to not be easy we tend to back out. I have hope that eventual we will learn Internet and electronics will not make it easier for our personal relationships.

    • Completely true. We want everything fast and easy. As soon as a relationship gets tough, we assume its doomed and break up, instead of stepping up our game and putting in the work to keep things going.

  • i don't really think so , relationships have just changed a lot over the years or at least how they start . a huge % start online and an average single has a lot more options than they did 50 years ago.

    relationships that took place say 70 years ago were still largely the same as today but back then they didn't have any other options . they didn't have dating sites with lists of 100's of singles . I think a lot of the older relationships lasted so long cause they didn't have anywhere else to go , now days if it goes sour they know they can leave and find someone else

    • This is true. I've always said that dating has changed a lot due to the fact our "community" size has increased, again, in part because of technology (internet, cell phones). Like you said, people simply have more options and its easier to get in touch with those options. This in my opinion has lead people to seek greater levels of perfects because they feel that now they have the luxury to do so.

    • i agree with ryan...there are so many options. they don't appreciate what they have. they take the easy way out instead of trying to understand and learn from ea. other. human relationships have gone to individualism, only tinkling about the self rather than the whole.

  • I don't think that's why FWB have become common.

    • That's not what I was suggesting, but regardless, I would be curious as to why you think they have become more common.

  • Judging by the ridiculous standards of today's young women, I would say yes. Men, however, know how to spot a good girl worthy of commitment.

    The sad thing is that women think they would be SETTLING when an actual good guy shows interest in dating them, but then think that just because a guy is more "fun" (even if he's more of a thug than anything [which is the flashy, "cool" lifestyle as portrayed by current American pop-culture], as opposed to a mature, reformed man), he's good relationship material.

    It's so wrong.

    • Actually, it's been shown that women are notably more picky than men are.

      While I agree women hold themselves to rather harsh standards, it's actually shown that these standards don't come from the men themselves, but the media and other women.

      Women's idea of what men want is actually far more strict than what men actually want.

    • Show All
    • Picky for all the wrong things maybe.

    • Not quite what I was referring too in my question, but I don't completely disagree with you. I think the problem (women will hate me for this), is that women are not logical by there nature. They are emotional decision makers, which we all know makes for poorer decisions overall. Obviously women have been given more freedom in society and no longer are expected to rely on men. Essentially we've given the ultimate decision making power in dating to the person who is the worst position to do so.

Recommended myTakes