Oh, what a question… possibly THE most confronting question a dating coach could throw at you.
But let me say here that if you haven’t wrestled with this alligator of an issue, then there’s a good chance the gator has got you by the pants leg and you don’t even know it.
If you’re wondering why your love life and dating adventures haven’t been more fruitful, hang in here with me while we address this Monster Issue.
The term, Romantic Market Value was coined by St. Louis psychologist and author, Larry Davis, Ph.D., who was the first, to my knowledge, to courageously tackle this Monster.
Romantic Market Value is about the relationship between two questions:
- What type of person do I really want to be with?
- What type of person naturally wants to be with … someone like me?
PZ: To be blunt, the REAL questions are: “Who do I really have a shot at?” & “Am I marketable enough to attract My Target?”
When we look at these questions objectively, rationally, from a pragmatic stance, it’s plain as day, isn’t it? That there might be some “gap” or some discrepancy between the person that question #1 pulls up as an example and the person question #2 pulls up? I’m trying to be delicate, but I bet you get it…
What’s at the heart of the issue is that our expectations are very often not in line with The Real World.
PZ: And we see ourselves differently than others do.
And then there’s the other challenge, which is the cultural impact of demographics — As we get older, our “stock” changes – not for any fault of our own, but merely because we’re living in a culture; a living, breathing culture that is constantly evolving, always in flux.
PZ: Julie’s trying to be nice – Let’s put it this way. Even though the 27 year old hottie looks mighty fine to me, at my age, I’m invisible to her.
Our ever-evolving social culture sets us up for surprises as the aging process inches us ever so slowly into new chapters of life, with completely different playing cards, and new rules by which to play.
Fantasy is fun to flirt with, but reality is where results show up – and I’m into results, so let’s get real for a minute. Embrace the harsh realities – Who has the trump card, the power, the advantage in the dating arena? Young women and older men. And I know… it’s not fair.
Two groups of people are HOT – sought after, in demand:
1. Young women. Nature is smart; Nature wants babies, and so a man’s attention will always be instinctively drawn to a woman of child-bearing years. Her hourglass shape, shiny hair, glowing skin and her playful, youthful spirit of adventure are perfectly designed to grab hold of him, whether or not he ever wants to see another diaper. Does this older gent have a shot at this hot, young cutie pie?
Probably not, unless… he has enough of something else that instinctively matters to her, causing the scales to tip in his favor.
PZ: If he’s wealthy, powerful, super confident, funny, or ridiculously good looking…
Yes, sad but true. A generous man with lots of dough or power and influence has more Romantic Market Value than if he were frugal, out of work or living in a camper. Harsh, I know…but like we said, dating isn’t fair, and that sucks, but this is reality we’re dealing with here.
PZ: It’s also not fair or right that a guy who’s 6’2” tall will have an edge over his cousin who’s 5’6” but … instinct will compel a woman to favor the taller man. Brutal, yes, but true.
Because women in their 20’s and early 30’s are scarce, tantalizing, and so much in-demand, the younger guys are struggling plenty, as it’s SUPER competitive to catch the attention of the cute young gal. Why? Because she’s getting 100 emails a day on Match.com and she turns heads everywhere she goes. It’s not uncommon for a young 26 year old guy to send out 100 emails online before getting even ONE message back. Demographics are NOT in his favor.
And then, to make matters worse, the super adorable young girl starts getting picky and fussy, as she has to screen and filter from among so many, too many, and she starts saying No Thanks and often. She feels has to. There are simply too many suitors for the women who are in what I like to call “The Golden Bubble” – age 27 to 32. All the men who are seeking marriage and kids are targeting that age demographic and that girl is tough to lasso. She’s overwhelmed, and she has to sift and sort somehow. She becomes too choosey, and then often she is the one who ends up empty handed at age 39, wondering what happened, as by that time it’s HER Romantic Market Value that’s rapidly declining. By the time a woman reaches her late thirties, the invitations and the responses from the highly desirable men tend to evaporate into thin air. She’s shocked and thoroughly pissed off about it.
2. Older men. Every day of a man’s adult life, his stock goes up. Truly. Demographics are unkind, brutal in fact. In the U.S., women live an average of 5 years longer than men do. Pop into any nursing home to get a major dose of reality – we girls tend to outlive our guys. Dating event producers will tell you how hard it is to throw a successful party for the 50+ crowd, as it’s like pulling teeth to find the men to attend — especially the highly desirable / in-demand type men (nice looking, well dressed, personable, well educated, successful.) And the ratio is less and less favorable for senior women as we enter our 60’s, 70’s and beyond.
My client, Rebecca argued — “All of my boyfriends, including my ex-husband, have been VERY good looking men.” Rebecca is 52 now, and she’s flabbergasted that the men she’s been targeting through her online dating site aren’t responding as she’d figured they would, and the men who are reaching out to her aren’t making the cut in her esteem. Might Rebecca have success dating and partnering with a man who’s attractive? AS attractive as her former partners, the guys who found her to be “The IT Girl” at an earlier time in her life, when SHE had all the Romantic Market Value? Well…maybe…but she should know that LOTS of women want to be with that handsome Silver Fox, especially in today’s image conscious, photoshop, order-it-up-MY-way world, and so she’s setting herself up for big competition if she’ll only consider the best looking guy in the room, like she did back when SHE had all the power cards.
PZ: Especially since women have the ability to develop attraction over time (far more so than men do), a woman of any age is wise to broaden her interpretation of “nice looking” to open up her playing field.
Sam is not having much luck either – He’s 68 and he’s aggravated that the type of women he used to be able to date are now vetoing him. “I’ve always dated younger women, and they’ve all been beautiful. Look at these photos of my former loves…” What he’s not getting is that today’s grown-up woman KNOWS she’ll likely outlive her partner, so as she gets older, SHE TOO is hoping to meet a younger man, or at least someone who’s close to her age. She’s not ready to even think about becoming a nurse quite yet.
The answer? First, let’s accept the reality that as we age, our Romantic Market Value evolves or devolves, depending on gender, and the type of person we can naturally attract changes too.
Especially for the demographically challenged (younger men and older women) if you are finding that the folks you’re “targeting” aren’t lining up on your dance card, you’ve got options:
1. Broaden your interpretation of the type of person who might be an acceptable candidate for you.
2. Throw a whole lot more spaghetti on the wall. Be assertive, extend LOTS of invitations, and develop a thicker skin, as you’ll need to get comfortable with hearing “No thanks” – and that’s never easy to hear.
3. Get VERY clear about what your Top Five Critical Criteria are, in the type of person you’d like to date and potentially have as a partner, and don’t dismiss anyone casually, for anything that isn’t on that short list.
4. When in doubt, say Yes. Give more folks a shot at meeting the remarkable YOU.
5. PZ: Try new avenues, experiment with different venues, activities and travel adventures you’ve never explored. If you’re being “closed out” online, throw yourself into some social settings – where your personality, wit, intelligence, self-confidence and your FUN factor can play in your favor, captivating people energetically. Online profiles can’t reach out and grab someone in this way.