Mate selection - mere chance?

Submitted by freedom on
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Is mate selection primarily chance followed by a filtering out of who we find intolerable for one reason or another? Even doing things like activities we like to help find more compatible mates, chance + filtering still seems to be the primary process. After all, we can only meet a very finite number of people. Of course, eventually once has to grow to like the person. Is there some better way? What if I want more optimum compatibility? Can I even define optimum? Is a future mate more optimal or less? There are so many life paths and nothing is really known about any of them. I know one can never predict the outcome because life might throw a curve ball into the mix. Is my confused brain missing something?



You are forgetting how much we all share with each other. Women and men are much more alike than we are disalike. We have all followed the same path of natural selection to arrive at this moment in time together. Our ancestors have overcome similar obstacles to raise us to where we are today. We are standing on their shoulders together. If you meet any one person, that person is made up of genetic material from all of their ancestors and if you go back far enough - who knows but I think it likely that you would share some common ancestry. If you constantly remind yourself of your similarities to other people and focus on these rather than the minor differences you are bound to find enough common ground to truly start to like other people for who they are and not for how compatible they are with you and, because we are are a sociable species you will find happiness in bonding.

An interesting book on the subject of how similar men and women actually are can be found in "Pink Brain, Blue Brain" by Lise Eliot.
It is rather an eye opener when not so long ago the differences were being heralded in books like "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" since then it has been discovered that actually our brains are more similar than was previously thought...

thanks for reading,


Of course we share a lot. In

Of course we share a lot. In my tiny subgroup we're sometimes too simlar and couples get genetic tests before marrying to ensure that children will not get certain deseases.

Here is what I'm talking about. For arguments sake, say there are 1,000 possible mates. Chance brings one in contact with 50 in a specific order until one chooses. The mate has to choose as well. Is there anything other than chance (ignoring higher powers for now) and mutual choice governing this? Who is to say that #3 is worse than #50 or that the optimum mate is not in the 950 one will never encounter. Or is optimum irrelevant given natural selection? Clearly some people are genetically superior on natural selection grounds, but all made it to this generation so none are so inferior as to have died out. At a minimum each person has some strong genetic traits. Are genes governing decisions to the point that our rational brain can ignore optimum and let the genes rule the day?

I guess there are two optimums: optimum genetically and optimum rationally in terms of happiness, socio-economics, etc. I'm not sure there is a bonding optimum because we are made to bond. I'm trying to figure out if any aspect of mating can be optimized or are we stuck with fate?

Freedom, I'm guessing you

Freedom, I'm guessing you don't believe in fate and soul mates and there being a plan for you in the universe, whether you know it or not? Wink

Please don't forget there are people who are way past "mating age" who still manage to find each other and fall in love...


I do believe in some higher

I do believe in some higher plan. I try to think about any date, relationship, etc. as having some purpose even though I can't always figure out what it is. My rational brain likes to optimize things so I'm wondering if there is anything to do. Or must I let fate guide me? Even with fate guiding me, I have to know how to decide. Just feeling? Settling due to need? Love? Something else?

I know this sounds corny,

I know this sounds corny, but you just *know* when it's the right person. There won't be any analyzing to do, no just know.

Everything will be the way it should be...attraction, an emotional connection, a shared sense of purpose...they will even smell the right way, lol.

In my experience, the most important thing you can *do* to find love is to want it and to feel love all the time in everything you do, toward people you don't even know. Love attracts love~~


I've heard this, but my

I've heard this, but my rational brain is thinking "huh?" When does one just know? Right away? After how much learning about the other person? How long is too long to wait for this magic "knowing?"

I'm a label reader and

I've even found that many 'unsecented' products have a 'masking fragrance' added to them.


A thoroughly beautiful woman and a thoroughly homely woman are creations which I love to gaze upon, and which I cannot tire of gazing upon, for each is perfect in her own line. Mark Twain

Choice, not chance

Genetically superior? That's subjective.

Natural selection at a human level is so advanced because of our brains. Think about it. We all have plastic brains which we can either develop and use or allow to atrophy and lose. That's what levels the playing field in our species and allows such a range of people to exist side by side. It is also what unites us as the human race. We should seek peace from this fact not conflict. In our current phase of natural selection I think understanding how our minds work is very important.

You said it yourself - there are choices - not just chance. Just because you make a choice from amongst a limited group that dosn't mean there's no choice. Yes, there is chance involved too though, but whether it matters or not is debatable - my gut feeling is probably not. Everyone's choices are limited aren't they? Even the richest most powerful people's choices are. Oh and you could always choose to enlarge your subgroup to alter the variables so to speak. At some point you have to make a decision to stick with someone - an eternal hunt may otherwise ensue when what you are looking for might be right before your eyes all along. To be overly concerned over such detail seems to be counter-productive. I don't believe that matches are "made in heaven" or in "fate" or in anything of a supernatural nature.

thanks for reading,


Choice is particularly

Choice is particularly tricky when rebalancing. I'm barely sure who I am some days and the different versions of me might make different choices. I guess that is a sign to wait it out. I don't want to sell myself short. I read somewhere that people aim too high in dating and then slowly back down until they find the right target range for mates. I feel a little like I've somehow reversed that. It is a whole different world for those of us without much dating experience. I'm flexible enough to adapt to most people, but at times I'm left wondering if that is a mistake. Maybe I just don't yet get it or I'm stuck in the old me that didn't like choosing. I'm great at knowing what I don't want, but not so good at what I do. With that mindset chance has a great impact on choice.

It feels like with "mate

It feels like with "mate selection", Im always striving to have more choice with who I get involved with rather than end up feeling "trapped" in relationships that I am not happy with. It seems like we are moved more by natural forces (biology, evolution, etc.) at first, but we learn through hardship that keeping the rational mind in control over our selection and choices can lead us to more fulfilling relationships. If Im biologically drawn to a crackhead and I get out of my crack lifestyle, I am going to want more than my partner can provide. Do I just accept my mate choice that I made when i was jaded as my fate in life? No way, I wasnt thinking well at the time and hopefully Ill exercise more rationality in my next encounter. Or, I could just waste 2 years in a relationship that didnt work out and have garnered that lesson in 2 weeks with the help of my rational brain. No doubt, there are always lessons to be learned, but why not speed up the process and do what humans do best? Think rationally and make healthy choices that are best for us.

Oh, its perfectly rational to choose someone that you are attracted to too :)

Courage is knowing what not to fear.

Good point...

It certainly is perfectly rational to choose somewone that you're attracted to. How do you quantify attractiveness - what is it? Can't be done can it? Well there's the old phrase "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", can't think of anything better than that at the moment.

thanks for reading,


This is a little closer to

This is a little closer to what I'm trying to get at. I don't think there are easy answers, but I want to know where my thinking is going right versus wrong. I don't think it is fair to waste each others time once one person sees some deal breaking issue. People are selfish not to let go. On the other hand if you put too much ration into the mix, then all mates might be unsuitable. Where does one draw the line between trapped and the need to work through issues together? Do we all have so many problems or is it just people I meet that seem to be suffering? I know guys tend to think girls have it easier, but I'm not so sure.

There are no easy answers.

There are no easy answers. I think a person can be in tune with their needs, motivations, intuition and exercise complete rationality. A major part of growing and balancing is figuring out how to walk this fine line. There really is no such thing as "perfect rationality" in the same way that there is no such thing as a perfect circle, so you are right in being wary of being insensitive and seeing every partner as unsuitable. And there is danger in relying too much on "what feels right" as most of us have had the experience of being going with our "gut" to realize that maybe it was this neurological cocktail all along to get us come together with someone. Biology doesnt always have what is best in mind for us and tries to keep the rational mind out of the mix if it can.

As far as working through issues or just dumping someone? Not any easy answers for that. Many times you can kind of tell that when you met this person, I just wanted sex or I was desperate or lonely and you can tell that maybe your decision wasnt the best, but sometimes its hard. It seems like it would take a lot of this rational/intuition mix and balance to be able to come up with a good action. Tough questions, thats why with relationships its best to get the thoughts of older people who are pretty balanced. I always try to ask some older guy friends and my mom.

Courage is knowing what not to fear.

Turn problems into challenges and work at them individually

I don't believe in quick fixes - do you? But there is a way to fix the depression problem and that's not to try to do everything at once. Don't tackle all the problems you face at once. You can't fight a battle on two or more fronts easily. Conquer one enemy at a time and if you can, choose the times yourself. Put yourself in control and think like a general. Sufficient for each day is its own badness (or goodness for that matter). Write down what you're going to do the next day every evening - don't make the list too long just the things you absolutely will do and do them. If you have time in the day do some of the other things you need to do on top. Look at the problems you face as projects and break them down into chunks. Manage your life, don't let it manage you.

thanks for reading,


I've never gone into any

I've never gone into any dating situation focusing on sex or my own desperation (even if those feelings were there). I'm marriage minded, but not overly so in the sense that I think people need to allow time to see what develops. I've not had the situation where things got mutually more serious and then I chose to end it. I've avoided it getting serious when knew it was wrong, but there I didn't have to deal as directly with my own feelings. I also haven't clearly gotten feels right feelings. It is usually neutral or wrong feeling.

I greatly value older people's wisdom, but for whatever reason I've tried to keep my dating life away from my older family members. If they ask me, I'll share, but for some reason I cherish figuring this out on my own. I suppose I would turn to them in a real jam.