7 Ways To Increase Your Value In The Dating Market

(Trigger warning for people who fear hard truths, self-responsibility, and tough love.)

Allllllllright… I just got a reader email that made my blood boil. So this is going to be a rant. But don’t worry… it’ll be a valuable rant.

Here we go.

This email (from Laurie in San Diego, CA) landed in my inbox this morning (edited for brevity and name changed for anonymity):

“Hello Jordan! I’ve been following you for just over a year now and I really love what you have to say about relationships. It’s had me look at myself (and love) in a whole new light.

Here’s my question…

I feel like there aren’t any good men left in the city that I live in.

I’m 42, in relatively good shape, have two kids (who I adore) from a previous marriage, and have a good circle of friends who I spend time with regularly. You could say I have a pretty full life and don’t “need” a man (or at least not another man-child to fuck me over)… but I want a partner nonetheless.

But whenever I think about dipping my toe back in to the dating pool where I live, the options are all underwhelming. Either younger guys who don’t seem to want anything more than a short-term physical relationship, or older guys who have tons of baggage and drama with their ex-wives. Neither of which I feel particularly inspired by.

Honestly, I just want to find my person. I want to find a man with a good job, a big heart, who loves my kids as much as he loves me, can communicate well, is interested in doing growth work, and has room in his life for a loving partner. Is that too much to ask? Where are all of the men who read your writing? You should start a dating service for people who follow your writing, so they can meet each other. I bet it would do well 😉

So what gives? Are some cities just less dateable than others?

I feel like I’m a catch. I read, I exercise now and then, I have a social life, I’m a doting mother.

What would you recommend for someone like me?”

Oh Laurie……. WHERE DO I EVEN START?

Alright… deep breaths…

I have so much to say to this. So… I will now attempt to rip this email to shreds, while giving my heart and recommending some concrete action steps that someone in this position can do.

And, in case you’re wondering, this email is not from a coaching client, but simply an email list subscriber. So if you’re looking for free advice by hitting up my email address, then know that you too can be ripped to shreds publicly (and anonymously).

Alright, here we go.

What’s Wrong With Emails Like This?

Honestly, so many things pissed me off in this email it almost feels like a cosmic joke. Like, it couldn’t have been more stacked with things that get me fired up. Here is a list of a few of the things that I think are unfortunate about emails such as these.

– She blames her city for the people she’s been dating

– Buried anger towards men

– Half-hearted/non-committed effort

– Little responsibility for her mind

– Is searching for a shortcut

– Lives in a city of over 1.5 million people and believes that all (approximately 750,000) men are only either sex-starved boys or emotionally fucked up old men

Let me dismantle each of these issues one by one, and then we’ll get into the action steps.

– She blames her city for the people she’s been dating

The most surefire sign that we aren’t taking responsibility is when we start blaming things outside of ourselves. In this situation, Laurie blames her city as being the problem.

It couldn’t possibly be the case that Laurie has any emotional blocks to intimacy, because, in her mind, it’s San Diego’s fault.

When we blame the city we live in… or our tough childhoods… or our previous relationships on why we aren’t in a relationship, then we dissolve the need to take responsibility for the reality of our lives by blaming our results on something outside of ourselves. This is lazy, and gets us nowhere.

While environmental factors can be important to consider (ex. living in a city with a population of 1,000 people will bring you different odds than living in a city of 10 million people), it’s much more important not to side step responsibility for our situations and, instead, assume that it’s more about how we are showing up in our lives.

– Buried anger towards men

In the third sentence of her question, she states that she doesn’t need a man and that she isn’t interested in being “fucked over” by another “man-child”.

There is a healthy element to being able to enter into a relationship from a state of non-dependency. It’s good when someone is truly standing on their own two feet and isn’t just looking to slide into a codependent bond of using someone else as a battery to jump start their lives. But when that sentiment is immediately followed by some sideways anger slipping out, it raises a red flag for me in terms of their most likely being some unprocessed anger towards men.

And guess what… you can’t date men if you hate men. I mean, you can… but it probably won’t go well for long.

If you have unprocessed anger about how your past relationships have ended, then do some honest work on yourself. Hire a coach or a therapist and do the work of picking up your baggage, sorting through it, and getting the residual cobwebs out of your mental attic.

– Half-hearted/non-committed effort

While this person doesn’t explicitly go into her partner-finding strategies in this email, she does say the words, “whenever I think about dipping my toe back into the dating pool where I live…”, which leads me to believe that she isn’t out pounding the pavement and going to singles events every week. It more sounds like an option that she is loosely considering.

Your real-time results are a reflection of your past efforts.

Why is it that people have no issue with spending weeks or months looking for a new home or apartment… or putting a similar amount of energy into getting a new job or building a business, but when it comes to finding a suitable romantic partner we expect that they will simply manifest out of thin air with little to no effort?

From the way that she talks about her situation, further up-stream emotional baggage aside, it doesn’t sound like she is putting in ample effort to meet possible romantic partners, but rather, it’s a thing she is entertaining the idea of, from a safe distance.

– Little responsibility for her mind

This shows in a number of ways, and in the overall tone of the email.

If Laurie was responsible for her mind she would be doing her work. She would be owning and integrating the unprocessed anger she has towards men. She would get her mind to a place where she genuinely loved and appreciated the gifts of the masculine. She would be putting in consistent effort to get herself into a place where she was meeting single, emotionally available men.

But instead she is hiding behind a wall of excuses and blaming factors outside of her control.

She would do better to see herself as the common factor in her life’s results, assume total responsibility for her situation, and move forwards with an action plan that got her real time reality closer to her ideal reality.

– Is searching for a shortcut

Near the end of her email she mentions wishing that I would start a dating service that introduces her to men who read my writing. While the sentiment is nice, she isn’t the first person who has suggested such a service. In fact, I’ve had women ask me to do this on a monthly basis for over five years now, and my response is always the same.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

It’s true that I have had the absolute pleasure of working with hundreds of men over the last decade who I would consider to be absolutely next-level catches. Honest, loving, self-responsible, successful, big-hearted men who have done their work and have spaciousness in their life for a romantic partner. But even if I did introduce Laurie to one of these men, it would implode as quickly as it began because, most likely, she would either self-sabotage because she wouldn’t feel worthy of their love, or, the men would leave her because they would feel the weight of her unprocessed anger and all the work that she hadn’t done.

You know that thing about how the vast majority of people who win the lottery, a couple years after winning, are in a worse financial position than they were before they won? That’s because their mindset hadn’t changed. They were still someone who had fucked up mental models when it came to money, and so of course their life imploded as a result. Because it isn’t about getting the end result… it’s about becoming the type of person who can sustain having the end result.

– Lives in a city of over 1.5 million people and believes that all (approximately 750,000) men are only either sex-starved boys or emotionally fucked up old men

San Diego has over 1.5 million people in it. For Laurie to say that there are no good men, and that maybe men in her city are “undateable” is a ridiculous notion.

Let’s say that half of the population is male. So 750,000. Now, maybe only a third of those people are in her dating age range. So now we’re down to 250,000. And then we’ll say that half of those people are single. Down to 125,000. And maybe she’s only into men who are employed, have brown hair, and who are into self-development work. I’d say that would take her dating pool down to somewhere between 5,000-10,000 men.

But regardless of the back-of-the-napkin math that leads us to her healthily sized dating pool… what matters the most in her thoughts on the situation is the way she is framing the men in her city.

Because remember, we don’t attract what we want… we attract who we are.

If she is only attracting “sex starved boys” and “emotionally fucked up old men”… then she is more likely than not, simply attracting a direct reflection of different parts of her mind.

In other words, inside of her own psyche, there is one part of her who is (to use her words) a sex starved younger women, and another part of her that is an emotionally fucked up older woman.

This is probably the most confronting truth that I will continue to touch back on throughout this article. People simply don’t want to look in the mirror and take ownership of the fact that THEY are a factor in their results. It is so much easier to blame external results or factors than to take responsibility for our situations and look at how we are contributing to the end results we are getting.

Alright, now I want to deviate into a quick story about the dating market (and a woman who I once met who was willing to take total responsibility for her dating life), and then we’ll get into the tangible tips that you can implement to increase your value in the dating market. I encourage you to not skip over these next two sections to jump to the seven tips, because, as I’ve already alluded to, it’s the mindset of the situation that matters just as much, if not more, than the real world factors that you can chip away at in your life.

What Is The Dating Market?

I want to talk to you for a minute about the dating market.

And by dating market I don’t mean the multi-billion dollar industry of corporations (such as Tinder, PlentyOfFish, Match, OKCupid, etc.) that are literally a financial market centred around dating… but rather, the actual flesh and blood people that are dating each other in a given society, and how they relate to each other.

Many people, when they hear the words ‘dating market’ immediately get their guard up, for fear of an impending onslaught of analogies that make dating and relationships sound overly transactional. And sure, that’s understandable. Because love and intimacy, on one level, is an egoless, selfless, generous process of following your energy with people that you naturally have energy for – regardless of that person’s relative ‘value’ within said dating market.

AND… there is a transactional element to relationships as well. Not just in cultures where dowries still exist… or where men are legally allowed (and encouraged) to have four wives… or where who you marry is based on your last name. But in major cities in North America. In small town Italy. In every place on this planet. Because we are still mammals who, on some level, have a genetic predisposition to want to partner up with the highest value partner that we possibly can.

Individual preferences will always vary widely. Women are not a monolith. Men are not a monolith. No group of people are ever one, singular way.

But if you don’t spend some time acknowledging the reality of the existence (or at least the idea) of the dating market, then you will be at a disadvantage while still living inside of it.

But Jordan, Doesn’t Everyone Deserve Love?

Yes. 1,000,000x yes. Absolutely they do.

Your value and your lovability was born with you.

Nothing in this article negates that. Straight facts. Full stop. The end.

But WHO YOU ARE LOVED BY is largely up to how you live your life.

This is similar to how I believe that everyone deserves to have (or at least strive for) fulfilling work – if a career matters to the person in question. Does that mean that every person in the world is inherently entitled to their dream job, or is entitled to a $20 million per year salary? Of course not. Not even close.

You get the opportunity to strive towards the dream career that you aspire to… but it isn’t handed to you. Nor should it be. We don’t value what we don’t work for.

And I see the same thing with how people relate to their so-called dream partner.

People have been fed a steady diet of romanticism, romantic comedies, Disney films, and #RelationshipGoals Instagram posts and they have come to believe that their 10/10, flawless, charming, beautiful, caring partner is sitting at the end of a rainbow just waiting for them.

Listen…

No one is coming to save you.

No princess or Prince Charming is coming to sweep you off your feet and kiss your boo boo’s and make it all better. And the part of you that wants this to happen is the regressed inner child inside of you that misses how your parents used to meet your needs without you having to do anything in order to earn their love. Even if your parents treated you like shit… when you were a child, they still fed you and helped you meet your basic needs for a number of years in order to make sure that you didn’t die.

Which brings us to today…

We have a generation of spoiled, entitled brats who have been force fed this narrative that you don’t have to do anything in particular in order to be handed your dream relationship on a silver platter.

And hey, you know what? That may totally be the case for 0.1% of the world. Some people do easily slide into their dream partnership and stay married for several decades and then pass away in their sleep simultaneously and their lives are great. And I bet those people will have amazing wedding videos plastered all over social media. And good for them! I rejoice in their happiness. Truly. All the power to them.

But for everyone else who wants the end result without putting in the work? Booooooo. Boo, I say.

Laziness isn’t attractive. Entitlement isn’t attractive. Wanting to be saved from your dysfunctional life isn’t attractive.

What’s attractive is a self-aware, humble, honest, realistic, and courageously loving person who is willing to put in the work they need to, to meet the person they say they want to meet.

The point of working on yourself and becoming a more holistically balanced, integrated, healthy person is not to then appeal to the largest percentage of the dating market as possible. Not at all. The point is to do the work of getting out of your own way, so that you are SO YOU that you naturally attract the tiny subset of that dating market that you are actually, deeply compatible with.

Put simply, you’re not trying to appeal to everyone. You’re just trying to very appeal to the handful of people that you are actually the most aligned with.

So What Should Someone Do If They Want To Improve Their Value In The Dating Market?

First of all, drop your entitlement, get honest about what you bring to the dating market, and then date roughly at your level.

Second, constantly be improving yourself and find ways to offer more as a partner.

If you want a better partner than the people you’ve been attracting, then BE BETTER.

It blows my mind when I meet people who have multiple strikes against them rattling off the 50 things that they believe they “deserve” in a partner.

There is a huge gap between self-honouring and delusional… and so many people in the world are completely oblivious to this discrepancy when it comes to themselves.

So again… first, get honest about what you bring to the dating market.

And be totally honest with yourself. Who cares about “humble bragging”? If you know that you’re awesome in a dozen different ways, own that shit. Look at the facts of your awesomeness and feel good about them.

And then… look at where you might be falling short. What strikes do you have against you? How many of those things are alterable? How willing are you to alter those things?

The Reality-Dwelling, Badass Woman I Once Met In A Bar

I was in a bar about eight years ago and a woman who wasn’t really my type started hitting on me with a decent amount of intensity. Not one to intentionally bruise another person’s ego, I chatted with her for the better part of an hour, without leading her on in any way with my words, body language, or tone.

Through our conversation, I found out that she was a registered massage therapist, a Red Seal certified chef, and she was finishing up her schooling to become a licensed sex therapist. I found the combination of these certifications so intriguing, so I asked her, “What had you seek out these three seemingly disconnected lines of work? Were you just following your energy… doing things that you felt curious about, and you switched every couple of years? How did this come to be?”

Her answer has stuck with me to this day.

She said, “Well, I know I’m not the most conventionally attractive person in town, and I also know that I want to start and maintain a really loving family one day. So I figured that by really understanding the human body, being able to cook well, and becoming masterful in the realm of sexuality, I would be a phenomenal partner to whoever I end up marrying.”

And, here’s the kicker, she said all of this with zero hints of self-rejection. Just a completely straight faced, matter of fact, pragmatic approach to how she wanted to show up in the world to attract an amazing partner who she could love well.

I respected the shit out of her. In fact, her simply stating that she had put this much egoless effort towards bettering herself as a person actually MADE ME more attracted to her. Granted, I am biased towards anyone who displays intentionality in their lives in general… but honestly, she immediately jumped up three points out of ten on the attractiveness scale. I remember thinking, “What a fucking bad ass this woman is. Just getting after it in life. Good for her.”

Concrete Steps That You Can Take To Improve Your Chances At Attracting a World Class, High Value Intimate Partner

The points that I recently made in Being A Healthy, Balanced Adult Is Sexy As Fuck still stand, but I want to get into a few specific things that were not mentioned in that article in this piece.

So without further ado, here are seven tangible things you can do to increase your value in the dating market.

1. Make friends with your emotions

If I could, I would wave a magic wand over the world and change the phrase “self-development” to “self-acceptance”. Because growth work isn’t about developing or improving yourself, it’s truly about seeking out all of the ways in which you subtly reject yourself, and instead, grow to accept yourself.

One of the most predictable ways that people remain in a state of self-rejection is they make their emotions wrong. This could look like someone who isn’t willing to face the fact that they have unprocessed anger… or that they feel envy, sadness, or loneliness on occasion.

This work can be done by oneself (journalling, meditating, reading, etc.), with a coach or therapist, or in a group context (men’s group/women’s group, 12 step program, group therapy, etc.).

For some tips on getting in touch with your subtler emotional reality, check out my article How To Fully Release Difficult Emotions That Hold You Back.

2. Get your finances in order

Money is energy. And being irresponsible with your money is just as unattractive as being irresponsible with your life energy.

A lot of people who share a victim mindset love to blame money for their lack of a love life. As if being abundantly financially prosperous is the single greatest factor in attracting a romantic partner. What an absolute crock of shit. I mean, hey, if you’re hell bent on finding something to blame for your life, then go right ahead. If you want to live by this world view, it is your right to do so. But the idea that your bank balance matters more than all other things combined is shallow, ill-informed, and lazy. Some of the happiest, most loving couples I know are not well off financially… and yet they still find a way to love each other deeply despite their respective bank balances (can you imagine??? HOW DO THEY EVEN DO IT!?). Conversely, I’ve also known men who make hundreds of millions of dollars per year, and who were single and struggling to find a partner – so this theory of money mattering above all else simply doesn’t hold its weight.

You don’t need to be rich, you just need to be responsible with your money and be able to pay for whatever lifestyle matters to you.

If you want some pointers regarding working on your financial mindset, click here to read my recent deep dive article on financial mastery.

3. Start eating better (and I don’t just mean food)

What do you feed yourself on a daily basis?

Sure, the nutrient density and bio-availability of the foods you eat do matter. But I’m asking you this question in a more holistic context.

What do you feed your body? What do you feed your mind? What do you feed your soul?

How well do you nourish yourself, on every level, on a daily basis?

If you fill your mind with fear-based news programming… social media… and gossip magazines, then that will give you one type of outcome. Whereas if you fill your mind with well-researched and thought provoking books, that is likely to give you a different outcome.

If you fill your stomach with overly processed foods that essentially equate, as far as your body is concerned, to the culinary equivalent of plastic and cement, then you will feel one way. If you fill your stomach with nutrient dense whole foods as your foundational nutritional base, then you’ll feel another way.

If you surround yourself with friends who want to bitch, complain, and commiserate, that’s one way to connect with others. But if you surround yourself with people who support and cherish you, and lovingly call out your blind spots or where you might be playing small in your life, then that will push you in a different direction.

The food, people, information, and energy that you feed yourself with on a daily basis MATTER. Environment is more important than will power. If your environment is dragging you down and making you feel like shit, then change it.

4. Become what you’re looking for

Time for another hard truth.

The majority of people are stuck in a mental model where they think that their partner will help fix them… save them… or make their lives complete. This belief is a one-way ticket into a painful, codependent relationship where neither partner will ever be truly satisfied.

So instead of seeking out a partner who you hope will make everything better, become that which you seek in your ideal partner.

In other words, if you want a partner who is super active so they can whip you into shape… start getting into shape in your own time. Or if you want someone who is focused, ambitious, and hard working, start getting clearer on your own goals and then take tangible steps towards them.

No one is coming to save you. You have to become the thing that you tell yourself you desperately need in a partner. Why? Because you can’t get the core of your happiness from a relationship. As long as two people in a relationship try to use each other as battery packs to jump start their lacklustre lives, both people will be stuck in games, pain, and manipulation. You need to source your happiness from within… in how you live your life. Then, and only then, can you share the overflow of your love and joy with a highly aligned romantic partner.

There is no shortcut to doing this work. Become that which you seek, or, ignore this concept and suffer mightily until life shoves this lesson down your throat.

5. Become intimately aware of and take total ownership of your patterns and wounds

Just as I believe that everyone over the age of 18 would benefit from doing some international travel in their lifetime, I similarly believe that everyone over the age of 18 would benefit from doing some form of therapy to gain a greater sense of awareness of themselves.

Going through life without a foundational awareness of your own patterns and wounds is like trying to cook a delicious meal without ever having read a recipe before. You can do it, for sure, but the end result won’t come out as well compared to having had even a little bit of educational context on what you should be doing.

Talk based therapy isn’t the only way to gain self-awareness. You can build a habit of journaling daily. Or you can try meditation. But, ultimately, our relational patterns and wounds are best reflected back to us by the external mirrors of other people. Whether those people are therapists, teachers, romantic partners, family members, or close friends.

At some point in your life, if you can afford it, I would highly recommend digging in with a credible coach/counsellor/therapist with the intention of knowing yourself better.

The insights that you will gain in those sessions will be useful tools that will be strapped to your shield for the rest of your life. When you have an irrationally potent emotion bubble up in the middle of an argument with a loved one, you will be that much better prepared to see the emotion for what it is actually tied to in your past, and you won’t be blindly seduced into the regions of your lower self.

Do yourself, and your current/future romantic partner(s), a favour and get to know yourself, and your unique baggage… so you don’t need to unconsciously project your old shit on to other people.

6. Diversify your life (aka have hobbies)

One of my all time favourite quotes, from Robert Anson Heinlein, is as follows.

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.

Specialization is for insects.”

In many areas of our lives, it can be advantageous to be highly specialized. For example, specializing in your relationships by having your significant other and your five closest friends. Or, to be highly specialized in your career so that you become an expert in your field and can provide deep value to those whom you serve.

But if your life is lopsided in being too much just about one thing, then you may be in a precarious position.

I remember reading a study a few years back about how professional sports players had a heightened risk of attempting suicide in the first year after they retired. The hypothesis being that these people, whose identities were so heavily invested in being seen as professional football/hockey/baseball players, experienced a severe crisis of identity and meaning once their main ‘thing’ was no longer a part of their lives.

Ideally, we all have some diversification in our identities.

It is good, normal, and healthy to have an array of friends. An array of hobbies, passions, and interests. There are times where it’s beneficial to quadruple down on an area of our lives… but a laser beam of energy focused on any one spot for too long can result in a metaphorical forest fire in your life.

Diversification… balance… being a wholly integrated person… these are not only attractive traits to carry, but are also imperative for the long-term mental and emotional health of our lives.

7. Maintain friendships with people of your gender

The greatest downfall of modern romanticism is the idea that one person should be able to meet all of your needs. In theory, this notion sounds wonderful to the part of our mind that wants to regress to a childlike state where all of our needs were met without having to ask for anything, ever. In practice, this is a deeply flawed and codependent mental model that is simply unsustainable, and an exhausting amount of pressure for any one person to ever try to live up to.

Similar to the previous point, we must practice some diversification in terms of who we get our social and emotional needs met by.

If you expect that your intimate partner will always have the time, energy, and ability to masterfully meet your abundant and varied interpersonal needs, you will consistently be disappointed, no matter how deeply aligned you are as a couple.

To take some of the pressure off of your relationship, ensure that you keep up a social life with people other than your partner. Now, the point isn’t to swing the pendulum to the mindset of, “Don’t rely on my partner at all… I should get all of my needs met by other people and arrive ‘complete’ for my partner”… (because the opposite of crazy is still crazy), but rather, to find a healthy, balanced state of interdependence by getting your needs met via multiple people.

Call me old fashioned, but I believe that there is a certain kind of energetic nourishment that we get when we spend time exclusively with people of our own gender.

Men should spend time with their male friends. Whether they have a weekly group dinner, or men’s group, or watch sports together, or sit in front of a bonfire and tend to the flames doesn’t matter. As long as their is time and spaciousness to drop in, be honest, and bond with each other over the realities of their lives.

Similarly with women. I believe it is healthy and beneficial for women to maintain friendships with people of their own gender and to have the space in their lives to connect with others who see, value, and support them.

Is this all to say that people can’t have friends with people of the opposite gender, or whatever gender they’re attracted to? Of course not. And, more often than not, people who have a deep fear of maintaining friendships with people of a particular gender simply have unprocessed emotional residue in their relationship to that gender, and there is work to be done. Anyone can be friends with anyone else. There are no hard and fast rules about men and women being able to be friends or not. And anyone who says otherwise either lacks trust in humanity, themselves, or has some unresolved hurt that they need to look into.

In Conclusion…

This article ended up going more places than I thought it would, but here we are. What a journey it’s been.

Just like dozens of other articles I have published on this site… a lot of the common advice in this article comes down to, “If you want to attract a world class partner, then BECOME a world class partner.” Be dynamic. Be varied. Do your work. Show up in your life, and your life will give you the results that you deserve.

Stack your advantages, be realistic about what you offer as a partner, and then work to become even more. Not because it is your doing that makes you a valuable or loveable person, but simply because you will feel the best about yourself when you are in a state of growth, evolution, and expansion. And it is from that place, that you will attract someone amazing.

Dedicated to your success,

Jordan

Ps. If you enjoyed this article, you will also love checking out the following:

11 Ways To Be A More Attractive Man (or How To Fight Entropy 101)

How To Find And Date An Exceptionally High Quality Partner

10 Simple Ways To Be More Attractive To Your Man

Being A Healthy, Balanced Adult Is Sexy As Fuck

9 Things Everyone Should Know About Money

9 Ways Anyone Can Instantly Be More Attractive

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