The law of choice in dating (and a call for the end of tribalism)

I've been thinking about how tribalism can be so limiting when it comes to finding and choosing the right spouse. When you choose to be inclusive to a particular sex, religion, race, nationality, or socio-economic status, you eliminate vast swaths of human beings from your dating pool.  

I don't think this is good. 

The basic tenet of this belief is this:

The more choice you have in potential spouses, the greater the possibility that you will land your ideal mate, and therefore the greater the chance that you will end up in a happy marriage and remain happily married for life. 

The fewer choices you have, the greater the likelihood that you will settle for someone less than ideal. You will opt for the best of your self-limited pool of candidates. Perhaps you'll never even be exposed to the ideal. Never understand what the ideal could be. 


If I have 100 potential spouses in my dating pool, for example, and you only have 25 in your dating pool, the chances that I will find happiness is far better than yours. 

Therefore, it only serves to reason that bisexual people have the greatest opportunity at the ideal spouse. While heterosexual people automatically limit their choices by 50%, bisexuals do not.

The world is their oyster.

There are men who I have loved, for example, who I could not marry because I was not physically attracted to them. A bisexual person might have had that opportunity.

Sex and gender are not limiting factors for these lucky people.  

If you only date within your race, you also have less choice and therefore less opportunity at finding the ideal spouse. If you only date within a race that is also a minority, then your choices are increasingly limited.

The same goes for religion. If you’re Jewish, for example, and you will only date within your religion, you have limited your choices enormously, particularly if you're living in the United States, where less than three percent of the population is Jewish.

And some places are more challenging than others. If you live in the Dakotas, there are fewer than 1,000 Jews between the two states. This means that there are only 500 potential dating partners, and only if every Jew in the Dakotas is single. 

It's a miracle that any Jew in the Dakotas finds any fellow Jew to marry. 

And if your brand of Judaism plays a role, too, your percentages are reduced even further. Once you start slicing the religious pie into slivers, the numbers get exceedingly small/ 

My wife is Jewish. Thankfully, she did not limit her choices of people who shared her religion. If she did (as many Jews do), we would not be together today, and Clara and Charlie would not exist. 

I've always admired Elysha's willingness to date outside the religion and forgo tribalism, because it's not always easy. There is enormous pressure by certain elements of the community to marry within the religion. Had her parents applied similar pressure, it would've been even more difficult for her to date and marry me. 

But not impossible.

Many people don't see Elysha as a nonconformist and a rebel, but that is exactly what she is. In many ways, she has been more than willing to blaze her own trail and reject the expectations and norms of society. She does this absent of any fanfare or bluster (unlike her husband), but that rebel streak is alive and well.    

I'm thankful and grateful. We are together today in part because she rejected the expectations of a community and opened her heart and mind to the world. I think we are both happier for it.  

Tribal pressure can be insidious at times.

I have a Portuguese friend who parents would not allow her to marry someone who was not also Portuguese.

I have a Nigerian friend who was disowned by her family for marrying outside the culture.

I had an African American coworker who lost friends when she married outside her race. 

I've known Jews whose lives have been upended (and relationship destroyed) when they fell in love with people outside the faith who their parents rejected.   

As a person whose parents have always held little sway over the course of his life, it's easy for me to argue against rejecting the expectations and norms of parents who have seemingly placed their own needs and desires ahead of their children's needs. It's easy for me to suggest that you should push back against culture and society when that has always come easy for me. 

Still, it needs to be done, because tribalism makes no sense when it comes to finding a person who can make us happy. If we want our children to be happy - and if we want to be happy - we should open our hearts and minds to all possibilities. It only stands to reason that the less tribal you are, the greater your likelihood of finding happiness in your marriage. 

The more willing you are to look beyond the confines of sex, race, religion, culture, familial expectations, and the like, the greater your chances of finding the ideal spouse. 

The greater the chances of you knowing what an ideal spouse can be. 

This is not to say that if you only date within your minority group that you cannot find happiness. I'm simply implying that your chances are enormously limited, and even worse, your chances of even knowing what happiness could be are reduced. 

You may never know real happiness.

Then again, you may believe that there is a multitude of ideal spouses in the world for any one person, and therefore your chances of finding one even within your minority group is good.

If you are of this opinion, bully for you.