The Illusion of Options: How the 'Paradox of Choice' Can Impair Your Ability to Choose



Have you ever heard of 'Analysis Paralysis'? Too much choice isn't always a good thing. Here are three hard truths that illustrate why your dating possibilities are not as infinite as they might seem.


Although most of us won't admit it, those hordes of city-dwellers you see looking down at their phones while waiting in an airport terminal, in line at the post office, or sitting at the bus stop, are all likely to be doing the same thing – incessantly swiping left, or right.


Dating apps have become a life-changing phenomenon, giving single people the impression that with an abundance of options comes an enhances possibility of finding that perfect partner. However, it appears that the opposite is true. indeed, the more choices that are presented to us, the less likely we actually are to make a confident decision moving forwards.


So let's look at the three main reasons why being presented with choice does not in any way get us any closer to actually making one.


1) Your options also have options


A hard truth that nobody wants to face is the fact that you might not be your type’s 'type'. And unfortunately, the online dating era has brought with it this sense of being able to choose a partner as if you were ordering from a menu. Sure - while dining out at a restaurant, you can order whatever items suit your fancy, and even tweak them to your liking.


However, the difference is that with dating, no one is truly an option unless they also choose you in return. So for that reason, the possibilities of mutual attraction can be much lower than you perceive them to be when you initially embark upon your search.


2) Indecision stifles progress


It has been scientifically proven that the more choice someone has, the less likely they are to make an actual decision. And this is particularly evident when you take a glimpse at today’s online dating platforms. But why is it that with so many eligible singles, who have unlimited access to one another, still cannot manage to connect?


One reason is this pervasive notion that there might just be someone a little bit better if you wait just a little longer - just one more swipe. Although this is rarely true, it's human nature to keep on seeking out a better option (even if that option may not even exist).


We must remember that the act of making solid decisions is in fact crucial when it comes to making progress not only in the online dating world - but also if you eventually want to graduate from dating to a solid relationship. Don't wait for so long that it has actually become too late to make any choice!


3) The grass is greener where you water it


Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? Simply put, it centres on the concept that you will never meet anyone that will fulfil 100% of your expectations. Therefore, if you find someone or enter a relationship where 80% of your needs are met, then the remaining 20% - even if not completely ideal - should not become your focus, or a reason for the relationship to be dismissed as unsuitable.


Yes, this approach does promote compromise to a degree - but it's in favour of progress, which too many people make too little of. This is also not to say that you should ever remain in an abusive or harmful situation where you are undervalued. The rule is purely meant to readjust your expectations, and remind you that perfection in humans - especially when it comes to looking for a long term relationship - actually doesn’t exist.


The may appear to be greener when you are exploring your options, but rest assured that there will almost always be stumbling blocks to get over. However, if you take the time to nurture and develop what you have and approach online dating with a more open mind, your future relationships will not only last; they have the potential to bloom.


Remember that when it comes to finding the right person, you don't need hundreds of options when you are only looking for one relationship. And while on the surface, it appears that having a plethora of possibilities to choose from sounds ideal, the fact remains that those options don’t really exist if none are the right ones.


Take your time, but be brave and bold enough to make the choices that are key to shaping your future.