As a dating coach, I often find myself challenging the very people I counsel. And the subject that always seems to arouse the most fireworks is the one where my clients want to chase white hot chemistry with a person whose looks are a “10". And really, who could blame them?
I can. Chasing "10's" is a terrible strategy for finding love.
Now, before we get into that in great detail, I want to state 3 important disclaimers:
First, not every person who is a “10" is damaged goods.
Second, not everyone agrees on what a “10" is.
Third, people can be judged on things other than looks. Believe me, I don't encourage people to run around labeling people with numbers. I just think it's a good shorthand.
So if I am to observe that a disproportionate number of “10's” are: shallow, narcissistic, selfish, demanding, difficult, more likely to flirt, less likely to commit, and somewhat disconnected from the ‘average’ person’s reality, you might say, “Maybe…but I know this one girl who is gorgeous and sweet”. And you’d be right. It still doesn’t change that most 10's are problematic partners.
I'm notorious for telling my clients to stop chasing 10's, and marry the 7's. Which is why it was no surprise to get this email back from one man:
"Most hot girls are crazy, that’s for sure, but I wouldn’t advise anyone to date a 7. I say go for the 10 that’s awesome on the inside, too. They’re out there, you just have to look around and be the man that’s worthy enough to get with that gal. If you fall short, look in the mirror, and make the changes that make you attractive enough to land a 10/10."
Well, I’ve gotta disagree – vehemently – on a number of levels.
1) If a man or a woman is a 10, who is he/she going to most likely going to want to date? That’s right, another 10. Most men, in particular, don’t date “down”; they all want to date “up”.
2) If, as my friend says, you hold out for the 10's…and every other woman holds out for the 10's…but the male 10's want the female 10's…doesn’t that mean that pretty much every woman ends up not finding a partner? It’s like saying that everyone should hold out for a $500,000 salary because that’s what you’re WORTH. Well, if there’s only a few those jobs out there, there’s going to be a LOT of unemployment. That is, unless someone compromises – and finds a lower paying job (a 7) that has much better benefits and quality of life.
3) If the average guy is – logically – a 5, he usually thinks he’s an 8…and that he should be dating a 10. Yet women who are 10's have, literally, EVERY single man they meet hitting on them. I can’t think of a better explanation about the fundamental flaws of online dating than this phenomenon. You’ve got a 1-1000 chance of landing a 10, tops.
4) The most important reason that chasing 10's is a bad idea is that, when you get right down to it, you probably wouldn’t want to keep them. That’s the big blind spot. Chasing looks and chemistry is like a sport. There’s the rush of the chase, the thrill of victory, and the smugness of showing off your hot catch to all your friends – for a moment.
But what happens when you GET the tall, dark, handsome, wealthy, educated, sophisticated, world traveler/self-made millionaire?
Guess what? He’s probably just not that into you.
In fact, he’s probably more into himself.
That means he’s going to be a workaholic – that’s what made him a millionaire.
He’s probably going to be arrogant and stubborn – that’s what happens when you’re a success at everything you do.
He’s probably going to be vain – that’s what happens when you’re told how gorgeous you are.
He’s probably going to be a player – that’s what happens when you have the ability to pick and choose your dates at will.
He’s probably going to be a commitmentphobe – why settle down when you can continue to date a variety of smokin’ hot 10's?
And so, you never really GET George Clooney. Or James Bond. Or that guy you’re lusting over right now. You’re just renting him. And you’re merely overlooking his considerable flaws because of how hot he is.
Guys do the same thing with women, I assure you. The most tempestuous relationship I ever had was also with the hottest woman I ever dated – so hot that she had to hide her profile on Match.com to stem the tide of emails. I held on for four months of hot sex and bragging rights – mixed in with innumerable times of being insulted, emotionally abused, and left at restaurants, parties and weddings. Why did I put up with it? Because she was a 10. And because when she wasn’t acting crazy, she was actually a good girlfriend.
The key is to break the cycle. Stop chasing looks first. Yes, attraction matters, but seriously, it’s a short term high. You’re looking for a relationship to endure for 30 years. You want to spend 30 years walking on eggshells because the hot guy or girl is being selfish or doesn’t let you know where you stand? Go ahead.
But if you want to find something healthy and enduring – and STILL have great sex – try going for a 7 in looks and a 10 in every other area. Kindness, warmth, intelligence, wit, consistency, effort, generosity. These are the things that matter when you’re 50 – far more than whether your partner holds up next to a 26-year-old Maxim or GQ model.
It’s easy to say you’ll never compromise, you’ll never settle, and you’re going to be the one who finds the “perfect 10 – the Rhodes Scholar/ Supermodel/Top Chef. Good luck with that.
Most 10's never develop the life skills that average folks do – which is why, on the whole, they’re not going to be as loyal or thoughtful or empathetic. If that’s okay by you, because, hey, you just can’t help what you’re attracted to, then I wish you good luck.
Just don’t be too surprised if everyone else “compromises” their way into a fulfilling relationship while you keep chasing a dream that never has a happy ending.