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(Unless you’re the sister of one of my students, who has had getting coffee with strangers. Add to that the fact that dating is time consuming.

When you have a busy job or children, for example, there may be barriers to going out with every potential match you meet.

While it may seem just that simple from the married side of the fence (just the way it does from the non-depressed side of the fence), it’s not.

And the benefits outweigh the costs, at least for now. Neuman talks briefly about how people who worry that marriage will be unpleasant or find the process of looking uncomfortable or demeaning, saying that these problems “are an outgrowth of certain inaccurate ideas some people have developed about themselves and about the world.” While he does mention psychotherapy in passing, the emphasis is “If people can be persuaded not to be proud and not to be fearful, there are plenty of opportunities to find someone to share their lives.”***If someone has had bad experiences with dating or with a previous marriage, are their ideas about future experiences ?

After all, just because someone has a phobia of elevators because one malfunctioned while they were on board doesn’t mean they should be afraid of all elevators.

But these things stick in my craw, because the implicit message is that the single person just needs to try harder.

That is, people who would never dream of telling a depressed person to “just try harder,” to pull herself “up by the bootstraps,” or to “just get over it” have no problems telling single people exactly that when it comes to finding a life partner.

Giving those things up—especially if someone has had bad experiences in the past—can be tough. Next.., a professor of psychology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, whose research on online dating shows that misconceptions are rampant.

It’s not an either/or issue—you’re either dying to get married or you’re damned if you’re going to give up singlehood. "You think you know what you want, but what you really need is to sit across from each other and get a beer."Yes, good online dating leads to sitting down and getting a drink, but it’s easy to rule out potentially wonderful partners based on negligible facts.

If someone says they do not like dating, or some aspect of dating, or if they are anxious about marriage, something (or many somethings) about the courting process have acted as punishers or negative reinforcers, thereby reducing the likelihood that the person will continue to seek mates using the same techniques he or she has in the past.**Further, unpleasant experiences can stunt the creation of or damage feelings of self-efficacy.

Singles may lose their confidence, believe there’s something wrong with them, and have more trouble recovering from setbacks.

And even if these singles do go out with many, many people, at what point are they choosing a relationship not because the potential partner in question is an excellent match, but because they just want to stop the discomfort of dating? Neuman says, “[Some people] really do not want to get married; they want to maintain a fiction of aspiring to marriage; but it is only a fiction.”I’m not sure exactly what that means, because I’m not sure for whom the fiction is being maintained.

For family members who wish the individual would just get hitched? People can certainly maintain fictions to avoid unpleasant situations or experiences (for example, once in a while someone will attend therapy religiously to maintain the illusion that they are going to change their lives when they really have no intention of doing so), but if it’s for oneself, isn’t that an interesting fiction to choose?

If you really think they’re hung up on something—low self-esteem, having trouble putting their best foot forward—offer to role-play with them or suggest that therapy might help.

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