According to a recent article in The Economist, I should be taking advantage of the current economic conditions to find love.
My walk home from work is a stark reminder of how expensive girlfriends are. I start out on Fifth Avenue and weave my way through cute girls loaded up with bags from boutiques that I can't afford (recession or not). Along the way I see great restaurants filled with diners sharing their day's events over candlelight. I walk by one of those little custom wedding dress stores and imagine my beautiful bride in a stunning dress that just happens to be on display in the window. I pass the toy store where I bought my nieces their birthday gifts, and think about how expensive that phase of my life will be.
OK, maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself with the bridal garb and the kid's store, but you get the point: dating is an entry point into a rewarding, but expensive endeavor-- and one that will be tough to afford in these hard times. My natural inclination is to hold back on dating to save money.
But the article points out that there has actually been a spike in online dating activity since the economic downturn.
So how is it that when times are tough, people are seeking out dates more? The article outlines the following theories:
1. People have more time to devote to dating in the slow economy
My Take: I thought people claimed to be on dating sites because they did NOT have time to go out and meet people. So, if people have more time, doesn't that mean that they don't have to use a site do the work for them?
2. Living alone is expensive, so why not find a soul mate to live with and split that rent?
My Take: A while back I was really desperate to replace a roommate who was moving out. I decided to ask my girlfriend at the time to move in. I did it completely out of practicality. But my girlfriend started shedding tears of joy the moment I asked her. When I recounted this story to my best friend he told me to cancel these plans immediately. Sometimes I just don't think. If you're going out and trying to find a love in order to save money on your rent, you're doing it for all the wrong reasons.
3. Uncertain times increase the desire for companionship
My Take: I'm on board with this one. Perhaps you look in the mirror and tell yourself that it's time to find someone to suffer the through the tough times with you. If things are bad, at least you have each other. Moments of crisis force us to do some soul searching and sometimes bring us together.
A couple of other elements of the article got me thinking of how I can capitalize on "the market":
- According to a survey conducted by eHarmony, there is an increase in average visits to their site when the Dow Jones Industrial goes down 100 points or more. Now, I've never been one to play the markets...or even understand the markets. But this is simple enough. When I see that Dow go down by over 100 points, I'll hit the bars and try my luck.
- People are seeking cheaper forms of entertainment with one another. The owner of OKCupid contends that people will now play online Scrabble together, for example, instead of going out for the night. I can certainly take advantage of this new trend. Now that people are doing cheaper things, a dinner — which may have seemed cheaper than other things a year ago — now looks expensive. With couples trying to do cheaper things, I will look like I'm willing to spend big bucks if I spring for dinner.
There was a depressing part of the article concerning Ashleymadison.com, a site that actually assists people in having affairs. Noel Biderman, of Ashleymadison.com states that economic woes are a prime reason for couples to fight and for stress to fracture marriages. People look outside of their marriage for companionship, as the economic conditions make their home life a source of strife.
It's interesting because it appears that the financial crisis is bringing people together (looking for companionship during tough times), and pulling people apart (marriages wilting under financial stress).
How is the economic situation affecting your love life? Are you feeling like you need to find a companion and, if so, why are you feeling that way? Does a crisis situation make you want to be with someone more, or less? Or does it depend on the type of crisis?