Is The “Dating From Abundance” Mindset Turning You Into A Gambler?
If you’re in the dating market, social media algorithms have probably shuffled dating coach videos into your feed. Online coaches are everywhere these days, offering hot takes on romance from a wide range of credentials. Many say that just changing your mindset can be the key to finding happiness.
“Dating from abundance” is one of the newest pieces of love coach vocab. It refers to a mindset pitched as the solution to desperation, and it’s meant to remind you that, as your grandmother used to say, “there are plenty of fish in the sea.” The idea is this: If you approach dating as though good men are rare, you’ll settle for the first one you find and accept the bare minimum from him. In contrast, dating from abundance means believing that good men are everywhere, so you can — and should — be choosier about the one you truly have a connection with. But how do you know if you’re dating from abundance or just being picky?
What the Abundance Mindset Gets Right
The “all men are trash” mindset isn’t just rude, it’s also self-defeating. Even though hookup culture has damaged the dating scene, going on dates and expecting the worst out of men is a really time-consuming route to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Beginning a relationship by expecting the worst just means you’re setting him up to fail. Instead of just needing to be himself, you’re building a higher hurdle and forcing him to prove himself against your preexisting prejudices against men he’s never even met. You wouldn’t enter a friendship or a job interview making someone prove they aren’t “trash,” so why do we date this way? In this respect, the abundance mindset is right: Good men haven’t gone anywhere, and we should set our relationships up for success by expecting the best out of the people we date. This includes respecting men enough to believe that there are more than a few good ones out there.
You wouldn’t enter a friendship or job interview making someone prove they aren’t “trash,” so why do we date this way?
The abundance mindset also helps you put yourself out there in a way that’s confident rather than clingy. Simply put, you’re more attractive when you’re not desperate. This is both because you’re showing your real colors instead of trying to conform to what you think a guy wants to hear, but also because you aren’t scaring him off by making him feel like he’s pursuing a position no one else is interested in. Dating with the belief that good men are common helps you evaluate whether it’s truly a good match, because there’s a difference between a good man and the right man.
Betting on Love: The Casino Mindset
Good men might be common, but that doesn’t make them disposable. As a rule, women have way more options than men in the dating market, and they’re also a lot more selective. Some of this is because they’re filtering out men who only want one thing, but a lot of it comes from the notion that a potential boyfriend is a Build-a-Bear instead of a human. Contrary to what the dating industry might want you to believe, real people aren’t perfect. Perfect people only exist in dating app ads. While it’s a good thing to have standards, there’s a difference between setting healthy ones and treating a guy like he’s supposed to be putting on a performance for you.
Good men might be common, but that doesn’t make them disposable.
Treating romantic partners like they’re something to optimize isn’t healthy for you either. A major risk with the abundance mindset is a belief that apps already exacerbate: The idea that the perfect guy is just a swipe away. Psychologists now warn against this detrimental side of excessive swiping, saying that abundance can end up overwhelming, a phenomenon now called “partner choice overload.” One study’s author said some app users display traits in line with compulsive gambling tendencies, adding that "Dating apps may give us the impression that there is always someone better just around the corner, so we keep on swiping.” This problem doesn’t stop when you’re done swiping either. Constantly looking to upgrade your man instead of building a relationship together will leave you unhappy even after you DTR.
The casino mindset leads us to toss out good matches in search of perfect ones, but unlike in Vegas, the next swipe on a dating app is never going to reveal a human jackpot. No one should feel pressured to settle, but if your abundance mindset is leading you to treat the dating pool and the men in it like a ladder to climb, it’s time to reevaluate. Dating apps are specially designed to convince us that our options truly are endless and that a more perfect guy is right around the corner. Keep your standards, but keep them down-to-earth. The right fish in the sea might not be perfect, but he could be the perfect fish for you.
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