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Resolved: Dating more people makes for a better marriage

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/27/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,571 times Debate No: 25854
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I'm going to posit that dating more people before you get married actually helps a marriage to work.

To argue in the negative doesn't require that you should have no dating experience, just minimal, or "the less, the better". I'm saying "the more, the better".

Dating implies up to and including "relations" (I'm not sure what words we're allowed to use on this site) and co-habitation.

However! My arguments are limited to dating, it doesn't apply to sleeping around, I will not be arguing that promiscuity is good for a future marriage.

Also, saying "helps a marriage to work" means that (1) less likely to divorce (2) live happier lives (3) live together and focused together

Assuming my opponent agrees to the terms, no acceptance round is needed... go right ahead and start... no so much structure this time... a "conclusion" is not necessary.. just hit me with your best shots and don't stop till it's over.

Good luck!


Thank you, dear Opponent, for the invite. This seems like it will be an interesting debate indeed.

Clarification-- So "dating" ranges from a single date to cohabitation and beyond? Just so we're talking about the same thing. Also, your argument is centered around dating more people, correct? As opposed to simply having more dating experience.

My argument will be that dating fewer people actually leads to and makes for better marriages. And there are several reasons for this:
Dating fewer people
1. Encourages more careful choosing/selection of potential girl- or boyfriends.
2. Leaves people (after having chosen carefully) more likely to enter long-term relationships.
3. Given that it encourages long-term relationships, also better prepares people for marriage.
4. Leads to less time wasted jumping through the hoops of "casual dating"--- not to be confused with hooking up or the like-- and more time dedicated to learning how to carry on a meaningful relationship over time.
5. Perhaps most importantly, leaves daters with far less "baggage" from past relationships, thus allowing for their future relationships to be that much less burdened.

These will be my main points and I will go into detail about each of them (this being only an overview).

So, I'll dive right in:

1. More careful selection: If people strive, either consciously or subconsciously, to date as few people as possible on the path to finding their future spouse, their selection of partners will inevitably be better. This goal/mindset encourages two people to get to know each other before taking the next step and dating. It also helps put into perspective what really is or is not important in a mate. Many people don't stop to think about these things until they are well into relationships, or until several past relationships have failed. Having such criteria in the forefront and present when courting surely helps people make more educated decisions about who is a genuinely viable candidate, and likewise enables people to spot "deal-breakers" or "warning signs" right off the bat. How does this apply to marriage? Well, for a variety of reasons, people can end up marrying the person they are dating despite non-compatibilities among them. Starting the whole process with more emphasis on selection itself can stave off the problems that come with incompatible people entering into marriage.

2. Tendency towards long-term relationships: Continuing the mentality of ideally dating as few people as possible on the road to finding one's future spouse, this type of selectivity and level of seriousness about the process surely leads to more long-term relationships (as opposed to short ones). If potential mates are chosen with more thought and consideration, it becomes more likely that those relationships will work better and for longer than those chosen almost at random. Of course, there is no guarantee, but longer relationships are more likely to end in marriage than countless short ones. Also, there is a finite amount of time people have to devote to dating. Pair that with the fact that different phases of a relationship demand different things from the people involved. Therefore, increasing the longevity of relationships likewise increases a person's relationship skills in breadth as well as depth. And this leads me to my next point--

3. Preparation for marriage: The idea may seem simple and/or obvious, but long-term relationships are better preparation for the realities of marriage than short relationships. The bond, expectations, communication, understanding, etc. between two people is notably different after a few weeks or months as compared to after a few years. Marriage of course is meant to be "for life." So, knowing how to nurture a relationship over years as opposed to weeks or months is indeed valuable. This may mean having lived with a significant other, learning to keep things interesting, dealing with reoccurring problems, etc. The skills set is really quite diverse. But in order to learn such skills, one must find themselves in such a relationship. That's not to say that any or every long-term relationship will turn into marriage. However, having the chance to build these skills doubtless leads to better, happier marriages.

4. Better allocation of dating time: In conjunction with Points #2 and #3, better allocation of dating time (ie: spending less time in the early stages of dating and more time in the "long-haul," committed stages) can also mean better readiness for marriage. If two people each spend X hours dating (not each other), but one goes on approximately X/3 first dates (ie: an average of 3 hours per date [which is probably generous if they are indeed first dates]) and the other devotes that time to just one or two people, who has more dating experience? Well both. BUT-- who is better prepared for marriage? Well, I'd say hands down person 2. Why? Well, simply put-- "dating experience" can mean a lot of things, but the segment of that experience that actually helps prepare people for marriage and/or leads to better, happier, healthier marriages is quite specific and is really only gained through longer relationships. While meeting new people, small talk, random banter, etc. may be fun (no argument there), it's the stuff of long relationships that actually makes for better marriages. Things like finding balance between the various facets of each person's life, improving communication (a life-long journey in my opinion), planning for the future, etc. etc. all come to those who gain the second type of dating experience. And all of these skills go directly towards improving married life.

5. Less baggage: Finally, dating fewer people leaves daters with less potential "baggage" from past relationships as they move forward and towards finding a future spouse. I realize baggage may be a bit obscure, but I think anyone who has dated in any serious way knows what this can mean. My personal definition (ie: totally not Webster, but hopefully sufficient) is any negative psychological or emotional (sometime, but rarely physical) injury, scar or toll taken from past relationships including but not limited to fears, anxieties, behaviors, habits, assumptions, hyper-sensitivities, so on and so forth. Of course not all relationships end with baggage. BUT most do. It is very rare for relationships to end in a truly amicable way. Popular forms of baggage may include jealously and/or cheating, dishonesty, disrespect, control, abuse in its many lovely forms, lack of trust, codependency, insecurities, etc. Having experienced any one of these things in a past relationship (especially if/when it caused the end of said relationship) is likely to make a person very on guard about them when going into a new relationship. In extreme cases, baggage can make people see or create problems that are not actually there, or on the flip side may make people avoid very real problems for fear of confronting something so difficult/painful again. Examples: people who have been cheated on may be over-suspicious of future partners; people who have been lied to may be hesitant to believe/trust new partners; people who have had controlling relationships may fear conflict and lack trust; those who have had physically unfulfilling relationships may develop linked insecurities; etc. etc. Bottom line is the less opportunity there is for this kind of damage, the better.

So, having the goal of dating as few people as possible on the road to finding a mate increases quality of selection, leads to more long-term relationships, which in turn better prepare daters for marriage, wastes less time playing the "dating game"-- ie: casual dating, AND leaves people with less baggage as they enter new relationships and/or marriage.

I look forward to reading your argument and of course good luck!
Debate Round No. 1


Dating" as I'm saying it, shouldn't really count like speed dating or blind dates, or even one-off dates. The "dating" that I'm talking about is exclusively saying relationships, meaning when you get past the general likes/dislikes (sports, music, movies, tv shows.. whatever) and sex.... and two people consider themselves exclusive with one another and learn about each other in ways that are beyond the superficial. And it is up to cohabitation, but does not include marriage/divorces.

And my argument is for having relationships (dating) more people, not just more experience... in fact, I could argue against that to my point (citing dependence).

1. More careful selection: I would argue that it is near-impossible to spot the "deal-breakers" and "warning signs" without sufficient experience. If we limit ourselves, and choose early, we haven't gotten the full experience to know what we would like or dislike in a mate. If we choose late, we are likely to settle when we had better choices early. By not following up on "leads" we are doing ourselves a disservice by not fully understanding not only our mates, but also our likes and dislikes. Additionally, if we don't have the experience, we may not know best how to win over that potential mate that we find best. Experience in learning how to get someone to fall for you is important to win over that best selection. Lastly, we'll feel more comfortable proceeding and not as nervous. Without having to make a choice before any long lasting commitment, we may find ourselves more open to casual relations that will eventually blossom--- More careful selection does not allow you to (1) actually find that someone, since you don't know the criteria yet and (2) be able to win them over if you do: NEGATED

2. Tendency towards long-term relationships: The problem here is if you have made a commitment (not to marriage, but to a long term relationship), you will stay in that relationship, when there really is no future ONLY because you've made a commitment to a long term relationship and want to date as few as possible. Obviously long term relationships are more likely to end in marriage, but you can't commit to long term relationships devotedly, you have to be able to cut the cord whenever you see if going south EVEN IF it means you're raising your dating number... you'll have better luck next time. Also, by staying in that ill-long term relationship, you're passing up a bunch of chances to get with a potentially better mate. --- striving for long term relationships leads to (1) staying in a relationship longer than you should and (2) missing better opportunities : NEGATED

3. Preparation for marriage: Yes, we must build these skills... and that requires cohabitation, which is one of the things I was supporting.... but we also want to get a range of ideas instead of focusing our whole attention on what experience we get from just one or two people before marriage. The faster we can get to cohabitation with someone, the better, we can learn what we like and don't like and learn the skills. Find out sooner if that person is meant for marriage.... if we only live with one or two people before marriage, everything in the marriage will be weighed against only those two experiences... but if you do it with many, you'll come to realize that those experiences ARE normal, and that you can deal with them... it's not just "Sally never did it that way".. it's "Cindy didn't do that, but Marsha did.. and Jan was SO MUCH worse". The more you have to compare to, the more likely you can deal with the bad times in a marriage. I'd say once you reach maturity, it's best to cohabit with a potential partner as fast as possible, its the best way to learn... If you like it, good, get married.. if you don't, then you learned-- You prepare better for marriage, and become less close minded by cohabiting with as many people as possible before marriage : NEGATED

4. Better allocation of dating time: I didn't specify what "dating" was good enough.... therefore, I exclude this point from the debate (otherwise, CONCEDED, but not in reference to the debate)

5. Less baggage: I would argue that "baggage" in the way that most people can't handle comes from past Long Term Relationships with only one or two people ....or promiscuity. Most baggage doesn't come from relationships where people dated for a few months and quit as soon as the tide swayed... they came from people acting according to C2 and trying to stay in relationships longer than they should have... Also, baggage generally occurs when there's only One or Two points to be directed act. Meaning there was one or two ex's that gave them at baggage because they're the only ones the person has dated. I would say that times when a person has dated more people, baggage isn't really an issue. They've learned that that's just the way life is and there is no emotional scarring from it. The more they date, the farther they separate from the baggage, the weaker the baggage becomes. This does exclude promiscuity, as we just saw in Chasing Amy. that is clear baggage that is often times hard to deal with in a relationship... but that is not what I'm supporting.. I'm supporting having many short term dating experiences, up to cohabitation. If you are so determined to keep your number low, any baggage that you gain from any dating will most likely carry on into your marriage and might lead to divorce, whereas, if you date more - you separate yourself from that baggage and can potentially have a happy long marriage: NEGATED

On to mine, although many of my points I've already exclaimed in negating yours

(1) We understand ourselves better
(2) Make us more likely to win over that perfect mate
(3) Less likely to end up single
(4) Feel more complete
(5) Can help our children better

(1) We understand ourselves better: By being with more people in relationships, we understand ourselves better. When we go through a break up, we find out why... what did we do wrong? We learn our annoying habits and we learn how to fix ourselves so that when we do find that perfect person, we have perfected ourselves.

(2) Make us more likely to win over that perfect mate - From the skills we have learned from making past potential mates accept us as a potential mate as well, we can use those skills when we find a mate that we want even more. We have to feel comfortable attempting to make a mate fall in love with us... and we get those skills from the past

(3) Less likely to end up single - If we are too choosy in picking a mate, we might be the last one at the table and end up with the check (I don't think that made sense).. but we might think too highly of ourselves and then when we find the one we want, it may be too late. If we are constantly trying, its more likely that one of them will fit the bill.

(4) Feel more complete - if you don't experience more before getting married, its very possible you're going to look back and regret all the things you didn't do... maybe date someone of a different race or just do something in general that your partner isn't interested in (she won't go skydiving, so you can't either). You need to get all these things out of the way first, and assuming you want to do them with a partner, you need a lot of them to get it all done.

(5) Can help our children better - the more you date yourself, the better advice you can give your children on their dating or even marriage experience. If you know very little yourself, how can you teach and advise them? I'm not saying to tell them to date around, but even if they've only dated one person and is entirely different than anyone you or your partner has been with... how can you give your children advice?

I've ran out of space... hope you got some good counter points! Cheers!


(1) We understand ourselves better: I agree, it is important to understand one's self and I agree that experiences gained through dating can certainly help us do that. However, I do not think that many relationships and/or break-ups are necessary for this type of exploration. Yes, failed relationship after failed relationship may indeed enlighten someone as to what's "wrong" or their bad habits, etc. However, these things can just as effectively be learned through the ups and downs of a single relationship (or a handful, as opposed to a plethora). If the goal is to fix/perfect ourselves, this can certainly be done while in a relationship. Particularly if the relationship means a lot to the people involved, learning these things and trying to fix them is just as (if not MORE) valuable to discover IN a relationship as they are after/apart from a relationship. So, while your point is indeed valuable, I do not see any way that it is necessitated or improved by many relationships. If anything, the determining factor is the desire of a person to a) recognize his/her flaws and then b) improve them in order to achieve a happier relationship. So, while important, this argument is still DEBUNKED.
(2) Make us more likely to win over that perfect mate: I completely disagree with this line of logic. It is based on the idea that people fall in love with each other as the result of well-planned posturing. It also suggests that falling in love with other is something that individuals can be steered into with the right "skills set." Though I agree social skills are valuable, not just in relationships, but in life, I do not think that is what you are referencing. I do not subscribe to the idea that there are certain skills that allow you to make someone fall in love with you. I think rather that it is a matter of personalities, compatibility and yes, social skills, but these are not relationship-specific. Yes, it is possible to TRICK someone into liking you by pretending to be something you're not. However, I do not see this leading to true love if the whole scheme is based on lies and misrepresentations. Likewise, I do not see this leading to marriage (and certainly not a happy marriage) if courting centered around lies. (DEBUNKED)
(3) Less likely to end up single: I concede that more dating leaves a person less likely to be single in the long run. HOWEVER given that quality of marriage is a factor in this debate, I counter this point with the following: While dating more people may decrease your chances of being single long term, it does not increase the chances of a happy, successful marriage. If anything, I would argue that a merry-go-round of potential mates may be overwhelming when it comes to choosing just one to spend your life with. Give that fact, what is more likely to happen is a person decides that they themselves are ready for marriage and/or its the right time in their life for marriage and so they wed the person that happens to be riding the merry-go-round at that point in time. This may work. Or it may not. It's a gamble.
(4) Feel more complete: Again, I see the truth at the bottom of what you seem to be getting at. However, you are confusing LIFE experiences with DATING experiences. Many of the experiences people seek in their lives may change with marriage. However, things like skydiving, traveling, etc. have nothing to do with the variety of people you date. If these are a person's goals, accomplishing them a) may still be possible after marriage-- I would argue CHILDREN change these goals more than anything and b) even absent marriage, these things may be accomplished with a mate or a friend or even by one's self. If dating someone of a different race is on someone's bucket list, but they do not accomplish it before marriage I would defer to one of two cases: (1) it is a simple, shallow infatuation that really ought to be grown out of anyways or (2) if this goal is more important than the joy, companionship and stability that comes with marriage then perhaps that person either married too soon or married the wrong person. Life experiences are important. But these are not connected to the number of people you date. Lastly, if after marriage you look back an regret not "experiencing more partners," I would defer that problem to the topic of promiscuity, which it seems neither of us is promoting. This is the only dating-ish thing I can see a married person legitimately feeling they missed out on. However, sleeping with more people and dating more people are (as decided) different things. And again, if sleeping with more people is that important, perhaps that person got married too soon or married the wrong person. (DEBUNKED)
(5) Can help our children better: You make an interesting argument here, but I do not think you properly identify the source of good advice. Much dating advice is generalized and applies to nearly all relationships (things like compromising, communication, values, etc.). It does not take that many relationships to realize that these things are universal, yet hold great importance. Dating more people may increase selection of stories, but does not necessarily improve advice. Also, realistically, "dating" over the last 2-3 generations has established a pattern of changing quite a bit from one generation to the next. The "advice" we accumulate now may in fact be null by the time we are giving it to our kids. If anything, more dating experience will help our friends and contemporaries more than it may help our kids. Finally on this subtopic, dating more people does not mean experiencing more success nor does it indicate improved skills. Perhaps some people date more because they LACK the skills required to carry on longer, more meaningful relationships. And again, this does not necessarily yield a larger pool of advice, particularly if someone continues to make errors.
To my points for a moment:
1. Careful selection: simply put, criteria for a mate comes from our personal desires, not others' offerings. By selection, I meant for dating. Leads may still be followed, options may be explored, nerves quelled, etc.
3. Preparation for marriage: yes, cohabitation is part of what prepares people for marriage. And an important part at that. However, no healthy relationship is based off of parameters set by past failed relationships. The parameters must be set by the two people involved and only them-- no one wants to be compared to a boy- or girlfriend that came before them. Things that bother you will still bother you regardless of how many exes did or did not do them. This is a question of knowing one's self. And it is acquired over time through living with many people-- from parents and siblings to roommates and eventually significant others. You should already be well aware of them when you cohabit with a mate. And, while cohabitation may prove to be a make-or-break, it is not like a job interview where you try out several candidates and then call back the best one(s) for round 2 or to offer them a position. If you love someone enough to want to marry them, you have to be able to live with them, yes. But this factor is all about personal preference and compatibility, not past ideas of "normal" or which ex was best or worst. Dating (and cohabiting with) more people only increases the chances that expectations will be skewed when you find that "best" fit mate. Ever person is different and few things demonstrate this more than living with somebody.
5. Baggage: Any relationship can impart baggage. While these problems do fade over time, I don't see how you figure lasting damage can ONLY be caused by promiscuity or unduly long relationships. Its actually incredible how little time it takes for people to hurt each other. I maintain that baggage increases with increased dating, and to that end, can pile up unpleasantly as more people are added to a lengthening list of exes.
Eek- out of space!
Debate Round No. 2


(1) We understand ourselves better: My opponent would have you believe that you could learn just as much about yourself in a singular relationship or no relationship at all as you would from a plethora of relationships. This simply isn't true if the context of learning about yourself is the interest of how to keep your identity in a marriage. No matter how many experiences you have while single, none of them compare to experiences while in a relationship. In learning who you are yourself, you need the challenge of getting mixed with a partner to truly understand what that means. In a relationship, both people will be constantly trying to change each other, you have to be able to learn how to mold yourself and maintain yourself at the same time.

(2) Make us more likely to win over that perfect mate:
"It is based on the idea that people fall in love with each other as the result of well-planned posturing." - you're not a guy, so this might be tough.. but yea.. if you want to catch the biggest fish in your pond, you have to be as attractive as possible.
"Yes, it is possible to TRICK someone into liking you by pretending to be something you're not." - This isn't what I'm arguing for at all... winning a girl's heart and tricking her are two separate things... if you don't believe me... watch the Will Smith movie "Hitch"... it doesn't mean you're lying to her, its just having the tools to make yourself shine... these are not tools that everyone has, and the way to get them is to practice.

(3) Less likely to end up single: This point, I was mainly arguing that you can't have a good marriage if you don't get married, so how good of a marriage isn't relevant for this topic... I'm just saying that dating more people makes you more likely to get married, which is one of the pre-requisites for this debate

(4) Feel more complete:
"even absent marriage, these things may be accomplished with a mate or a friend or even by one's self." - I was arguing solely for the ones that aren't possible (or aren't as enjoyable) without a partner. Like kissing under the Eiffel Tower or "pink blazing" (back packing with a girl/friend) I'll use the Pink Blazing one because it is something true for me... that's something that I certainly want to do... but I don't know if the person I'm going to marry will want to do that... if I don't do it before I get married, I may never get the chance.. because it isn't a criteria for who I marry, but it is something I want to do

Secondly, in regards to the promiscuity and "dating someone of another race", I was saying just that.. I wasn't saying sleeping with one, I was saying DATE. Meaning, have a relationship... because there is most likely a lot to learn from other cultures, and there are people that might be interested in that, not just a sexual thing, but a culture thing.. that can't fully be appreciated without dating a member of another race

(5) Can help our children better:
"Much dating advice is generalized and applies to nearly all relationships" - This just isn't true... good dating advice comes from people who have been there and done that.... the more capable you are of empathy, the better and the more experiences you have, the more accurate your empathy will be.
Your argument of the generational gap is a good point, but I think that argument can be extrapolated to all parental advice. Certainly can extrapolate it to things like drugs... can you really advise your children on drugs and alcohol if you always abstained? Or have otherwise limited experience? The answer is NO. Even with the generational gap, more experience will yield better advice
"Perhaps some people date more because they LACK the skills required to carry on longer, more meaningful relationships" - At this point, we're assuming you're having kids with your partner... you clearly don't lack the skills to carry on a longer, more meaningful relationship if you've reached that point

To your R2 point:

3. Preparation for marriage:
"no one wants to be compared to a boy- or girlfriend that came before them." - And yet that's going to happen, you really can't escape it
"Things that bother you will still bother you regardless of how many exes did or did not do them." - I think this is plain wrong, if you date 100 people and they all do the same thing that bothers you, either (1) you're not getting married or (2) you gotta learn to not let it bother you.
If you only date one or two others, you might not think it's normal, and that you can change it... and then it bothers you

"it is not like a job interview where you try out several candidates and then call back the best one(s) for round 2 or to offer them a position" - I beg to differ.. the dating game can be very much this... you find out some of them took positions elsewhere, some are now overqualified, some have somehow lost qualifications.. and yet.. maybe there is one of them that, although didn't fit the bill before, the position has changed, or the applicant has and it's a perfect fit now...

"Dating more people only increases the chances that expectations will be skewed" - I think before we have experience, our expectations are skewed from our interpretation of our parents experience... it's only after we get experience from the world ourselves that our expectations become normalized.

5. Baggage: From my own experience, the only baggage I know of is from those relationships that lasted too short or too long... I don't understand how a relationship that only lasts until it isn't good anymore can give you baggage? Which is even more drastic because of the old saying

"Women remember the man they could have had, men remember the one they couldn't."

Baggage comes from regrets... you don't regret something that you look back fondly on. I think if your goal is to date more people, you won't look back negatively on as many things, and won't regret them as much.. and if you don't regret them... they aren't baggage

For women, if you get out of a relationship that might be going bad, you'll always remember that you could have had him, but didn't want him.. and think positively.
For men if you go for every relationship that might work out, but get shot down, you'll think positive because you took a shot, it's resolved. But you have to give up as soon as you know you won't get her.
For women, even if it would have worked out, it won't matter because you'll never know... you'll just think positively about it.
If you get shot down, it won't matter, because women don't remember the guys they couldn't have, only the ones they could have
For men, if you go for it, and it doesn't work out, you won't think back negatively... because you won't care.. you could have had her... and that's all that matters, because men don't remember the girls they could have had.. only the ones they couldn't
What I'm saying is... women get baggage from the regrets of staying with guy they should have walked away from.. men get baggage from the regrets of not going for the girl they think they could have got, protect yourself from that (which both go towards the goal of dating many people) and you won't have baggage

I want to thank my opponent for a great debate thus far... hopefully we can come to a good understanding


Some new and/or revised points of mine:
1. Though you may learn DIFFERENT things in different relationships, my opponent has provided no evidence validating the experiences learned in more numerous and/or shorter relationships over the experiences gained from fewer, longer relationships. Even in a long-term relationship, the lessons continue and change with time. I actually see this as a more valuable learning experience than repeating the same early-relationship lessons again and again and again. The only value I see here is for those who cannot manage to absorb a lesson the first time. But lets pretend the daters we speak of are smart enough to move forward. Some lessons are ONLY learned at certain points in a relationship. Absent the time and nurturing to get a given relationship to the point where certain lessons can be learned, a dater is limiting him/herself from an entire segment of skills. Also, learning about one's self if a life-long adventure. I would argue that it is actually enhanced by a whole array of life experiences, which span far beyond dating (short or long, few or many). So yes, maybe more life experiences are better. However, there is no correlation between dating more people and having more life experiences. Actually, it may even distract from other things in life like studies, traveling, hobbies, etc.

2. There seems to have emerged a gender-based difference in the process and mindset of finding a mate. I think both men and women understand the concept of maximum attractiveness, and this is not what either of us were talking about. However, even if you're arguing that men use special "tools," acquired over time with practice, I still see flaw with this argument. The ability to pick up women may indeed come with practice. However, picking up as many as possible in order to perfect the skill for when you really need it does not seem like a good use of time. The tools that keep relationships (and marriages) happy and healthy are completely unrelated. But without them, it is unlikely that either will succeed. The pick up is important, I agree. But overall it comprises only a brief amount of time and skill. And ultimately, it has little to do with happy, healthy marriage. Even with a perfect pitch, not everyone can hit a baseball. In other words: creating opportunities does not ensure one will produce the ideal outcome.

3. As for the completeness that my opponent credits to experiences undertaken with a partner, I would like to argue the exact opposite. While an individual may feel satisfied with having completed such romantic ventures as kissing under the Eiffel Tower or "pink blazing," once they find that special person, are they going to do these things all over again?? Better yet, aren't some of these special moments we create for ourselves meant to be with someone special, not just with.. someone?? Lets say that one or both partners in a marriage (or to-be marriage) have completed some of these feats. The other partner may very well want to do these things too-- namely, with their spouse. And in the event that they haven't, feelings of disappointment, jealousy, etc. may arise due to the fact that their partner has already completed certain romantic, fulfilling activities with others and now holds no desire to do them again. Problem, right? And if not, what was the point of jumping the gun, just to do the same things all over again with your special person?? Either way, it doesn't make sense.

4. The argument in favor of dating lots of people in order to establish what is "normal" is likewise garbage. First of all, if you don't know what "normal" is by your 20s, you may never know (and this is ok-- seriously!). Further, when in doubt, why not ask a friend or relative, observe other couples or hey-- Google it?? How is the logical answer to finding "normal" dating around a bunch? Frankly, I think this could actually majorly distort or skew a person's idea of normal. The more people you date, the more variety you see. The more variety you see, the less apparent normal becomes. Besides, who ever said dating and/or marriage was a quest for normal? Its a journey of compatibility. And hell, sometimes that means finding someone that's not normal at all!
*It more depends on knowing yourself (expanded in #6).

5. Baggage is about more than opportunities missed or lost. You've vastly over simplified it. Baggage has to do with emotions, with problems, repeated behaviors. Baggage arrises out of pain and hurt and situations beyond (rather than within) our control. If a person wants to get married and be happy and commit to one partner, don't you think the very merry-go-round that is endless dating could create baggage? Feelings of being unwanted, not being good enough, etc.

6. In order to be a good boy- or girlfriend and later spouse, you first have to know yourself (and I think we agree on this!). You must know your good and bad qualities. When you strive and when you sulk. What is important versus what doesn't matter. Spending lots of time getting to know others, while perhaps fun, often serves as a distractor from this important journey. It is the long, in-depth relationships in our lives that help us become acquainted with who we are. Think about it-- who in our lives helps enlighten (and sometimes shape) who we are?? Parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, mentors, friends. All of these are people who hold long-standing positions in our lives. These are people who get to know us over years, not days or months. These are individuals who are there through good and bad. Basically, the exact OPPOSITE of a new, unfamiliar romantic interests.

In conclusion: If the real goal is happy, healthy marriage, then there is nothing to be gained from spending years jumping from person to person. This kind of behavior is usually indicative of a certain internal unhappiness, indecision or a general lack of commitment (which is fine). Not wanting to commit at an early age is fine, but that is thus far not part of my opponent's argument (boo to promiscuity). Internal unhappiness on the other hand is something that a person must confront before trying to make another person in their lives happy.

Ok, eeks, out of time (not space haha!)-- Good luck :)
Debate Round No. 3


I have to congratulate my opponent... after only a few debates, her skills have improved greatly.
I can only imagine how much better she will get as we do even more.

I'm not a big fan of "evidence" (read: studies, polls, agenda), as it's usually misleading... I like arguments based on plausible scenarios, and leaving each person to imagine what is truth in it. It is a great way of convincing people to sign something off as wrong simply because "there was no evidence presented", but I don't just say things that are wrong. I don't say things that go against experience, I just presume a person can think of their own examples of my conjectures and decide for themselves that I'm telling the truth.

1. You just don't learn as much from one person, no matter how long you stay with them, as you would from many people (save starting a family, which I'm reserving for marriage). Anything up to that point (marriage), by experiencing them with multiple people; you are - with no doubt - learning more about relationships. What my opponent fails to see is that people are very different. Even in the first few months of a relationship, relationships can be VERY different. It's not all the same, and by dating more people... you come to realize that. But nothing additional can be learned between co-habitation and marriage (or engagement)... those are two steps in which no grand relationship step intercedes. After co-habitation, and learning the lessons thereof, there is nothing to learn from the relationship. It is much better than to proceed to marriage (and fall into the pitfalls I talk about when marrying too early) or move on and find new experiences.

2. "The tools that keep relationships (and marriages) happy and healthy are completely unrelated." - This is correct, only as far as you are able to attract and keep the "perfect mate". It has nothing directly to do with existing inside of a marriage, but it certainly has to do with finding a mate in which a perfect marriage can exist... and that's my point. And by pick-up, I don't just mean that first "hello", I mean the entire first steps of a relationship... when to ask certain questions... when to show certain things about yourself... these are important, beyond the initial "pick-up" that help a person attract and keep a potential mate through the early stages of a relationship. For men, you can get up to the point when a woman will want to marry you, without wanting to marry them.. and then move on. These are all the skills I'm talking about. Not just getting her to say yes to a date, but getting her to say yes to a lifetime.

3. "Once they find that special person, are they going to do these things all over again??" - Yes, you keep some things that all potential partners are going to want... but some things aren't criteria for marriage. I don't think by "pink blazing" with a girlfriend, you are taking away from a marriage--- especially since, for me, that's not a criteria for marriage. If my future wife should want to go blazing, awesome... we'll have a bunch of fun. But I don't expect her to. However, if I don't do it before I get married, that means I never will. I understand the mate might feel dejected by the idea that her mate has already done these things with someone else, but how was he to know that she was going to want to do them? Would she have preferred it that he eliminated her as a potential mate because she didn't want to do something he did? I think that would be a far worse tragedy.

4. Have you ever heard of the law of averages? Considering your constant banter about "the bell curve" and "sigma", I have to believe you have. As you get a larger sample size, things trend towards the average... that's just statistics... and, although there are arguments against my claim... saying that by dating more people you get a more skewed view isn't one of them. The quest for normal means that when someone is doing something that you consider weird, you have experience with it and rationalize what they're doing. You won't be as frantic because you have seen it many times before and justify it as normal.... if you believe your mate is the only one in the world that does that irritating thing that you don't like... that leads to serious problems in a marriage.

5. "Baggage arises out of pain and hurt and situations beyond (rather than within) our control." - I starkly disagree.... we are in control of our own actions... if we never let ourselves get too close with someone until we've decided to marry them, then we won't carry that emotional baggage... and that's something we control. I don't think that previous healthy relationships contribute to a person's baggage and hurts their marriage, like I've been arguing, I believe it helps... BUT that's the key to stay away from baggage is to have HEALTHY relationships... and we need to realize (from things like Google and friends and our own feelings) when they are losing their health and exit the relationship... that's a HUGE part of steering clear of baggage... not how many relationships you've been in

For example, I don't think a man would be angry with her girlfriend if she had a new boyfriend every 6 months since she was 16. I don't think he would think of her as a slut or promiscuous. I don't think that would contribute baggage in his eyes. (And I would think vice versa) The number of relationships are completely irrelevant in the eyes of the partner as long as they are HEALTHY.... .... HOWEVER, just ONE unhealthy relationship can ruin a girl... when a guy finds out that his girl had even one UNHEALTHY relationships in her past... regardless of how long it lasted, that carries the baggage and hurts relationships... and I know you're fret to hear this, but it's simply the truth... sorry

6. Sure the parents, siblings, mentors know YOU best, but they offer you the same OLD stuff they always have... you aren't going to learn something NEW about yourself from continuing to acquaint yourself with the same OLD people. In order to learn NEW things about yourself over time, you have to meet and get to know NEW people better.

In conclusion: If the real goal is a happy, healthy marriage, then the obvious setup is to have the fullest life you can prior to getting married. To have as many experiences as you can so that you can be the most knowledgeable when making your choices on who to marry. It will also best prepare you for dealing with the strife of marriage and how to keep your own identity while respecting your spouses. In contrast, latching onto people and being hopelessly romantic is usually indicative of a certain internal unhappiness sprung from inexperienced decisions or a general lack of understanding how to obtain happiness. We both agree that promiscuity is bad, so how else can you get those experiences that prepare you? You have to have as many healthy relationships as possible, up-to and including co-habitation before marriage. If you can do this as much as possible before you find the person who you consider to be "the one", you will be best prepared to make not only yourself as happy as possible, but also your spouse.

I truly want to thank my opponent for a great debate... I really don't know where we ended up... most likely somewhere in between.. and that's ok.... how about Guys date as much as possible and Girls stay home with their parents until Prince Charming comes to sweep them off their feet? I like that system... haha... thanks Dorie


Thank you for the vote of confidence. I feel this has been a very thorough debate, so thank you for your part in it.
Evidence does not have to be a scientific study or a poll. It can also be a chain of logic, personal observation, or a simple fact from which you choose to extrapolate. You may use whatever "evidence" you choose of course. Plausible scenarios are helpful at times, but do not always represent something that common, relevant and/or real. Lack of evidence does not indicate fallacy per say, but perhaps an incomplete argument or idea.
To the good stuff:
1. I do not fail to see that people are different.I acknowledge, accept and embrace that fact. I likewise agree that different people will produce different experiences from which you can expect to learn different things. However, I do not agree that these lessons and experiences are all relationship-related. In fact, I would argue that the differences that are apparent between people are much more varied than the actual differences that result in relationships with them. Actually, the differences between people are seemingly innumerable. However, I argue that the actual relationship(s) fit into a smaller array of archetypes or molds. Variety, yes. But endless? No. Essentially, though you could probably successfully try a different restaurant every day, how many of them offer a "Sandwiches" section of their menu? And after a certain number of sandwiches, you will probably feel like you've seen 'em all. While obviously you cannot have possibly seen every sandwich, it's a well-defined category. You know what to expect. And, after a certain point (before having"seen them all"), you just know what you like. In fact, you may know BEFORE your exploratory venture what you like. So, project this idea onto relationships. They fall into categories. And even though there is variety within each category, it does not take long, nor does it take bountiful experience, to figure out which categories you like [for the moment at least, as this can (like a sandwich preference) change--and believe it or not, some people just don't like sandwiches! (..or long-term relationships)]. Likewise, within your category of choice, it does not take long to know what you like. If you're not down with salami (..orrr tall girls), you just won't order it. So, yes, I agree that there is variety to be explored and variety to be learned, BUT my estimates of variety are much more conservative than yours. And if you simply do not want or like something, beyond learning that you don't care for it, there is little more to gain there.
1.5. I agree that there are probably not any major relationship lessons to be learned after cohabitation, but before marriage (ie: "the engagement") IF a couple follows the prescribed path of one after the other. Problems can still arise, but I see that as different from lessons to be learned. So yes, I think we're on the same page there.
2. I understand what you meant by "pick-up" but I still maintain that it comprises a very small amount of time and energy relative to everything that follows. Thus, while it certainly deserves some attention, yes, it does not require bout after bout of practice. Maybe some need more help, but I think its important to remember that few people go into the world of dating knowing nothing. Between the media (TV, movies, magazines, internet) older influences (siblings, neighbors, friends), and a handful of "instincts," many people don't actually need that much practice. Its more about fine tuning and then looking for "the one." Further, the phenomenon of reaching a point with a partner whereby they want marriage and you may not is not gendered. It can just as easily happen that the woman does not want it and the man does (and I have seen this happen in real life). So, skills for both sexes I would argue. But ultimately, I think you said it best: "Not just getting her to say yes to a date, but getting her to say yes to a lifetime." Exactly!! And getting someone to say yes for a lifetime takes concentration on one person and one relationship. It takes time to foster and energy to keep going AND being in fewer relationships makes a person MORE likely to have and hone these very skills- the skills that matter in the long run!
3. As for the life experiences, I have decided that I think it really depends on the event(s) and the people involved. I agree you shouldn't eliminate someone just because they cannot or do not want to complete certain activities. Yet, its also nice to be able to do such things with each other and couples that do more things together tend to be closer (makes sense). On the flip side, I also think its reasonable to expect that having completed certain life milestones with someone else could take away from those moments with your special person. In the end, I really don't think it's related to dating a lot/a little. These things are probably a bit more likely to be completed with a committed partner, however I think the jury is out on whether or not this is a good thing. Maybe both?
4. Of course I know the law of averages! Here's the thing-you're saying that dating more people familiarizes you with what's normal, thus avoiding doubt, panic, etc. However, there are two equally important pieces to why that's not really helping anyone at all. First, while certain attributes or behaviors may fit a lovely, normally distributed bell curve, those are independent of the people who carry those traits or behaviors. Having a "normal" tendency does not make you a "normal" person, and vise versa. And when it comes to dating, you have to decide on the whole person, not a series of statistically analyzed features. So, back to my R3 argument, I think that this can skew things and make important decisions that much harder. Second, I think you are vastly overvaluing normal. In the end, even if some things are normal, that does not mean you are ok with them. Normal only helps if it perfectly aligns with what you want. And that, I believe, is a supremely rare case. For the average person, normal really does not properly describe what they want, because it really does not properly describe anyone.
5. Baggage. For a determinist, you suddenly have a lot of faith in the control we have over our actions ;-) Regardless, there are obviously situations beyond our control. You say " previous healthy relationships" actually help a marriage. Maybe. But you also say "if we never let ourselves get too close with someone... then we won't carry that emotional baggage." HOW is keeping a partner at arm's length healthy? In my view its really not. I mean sure, maybe as you are getting to know someone, but if you are truly, properly dating someone, you cannot possibly hope for success, nevermind marriage, if you have an upper limit for closeness. I agree with you about exiting relationships to avoid baggage. However, you must realize that its never as simple as you make it sound and that tendency alone can hurt a relationship if a person is TOO eager to peace out at the 1st sign of trouble, not giving good things a fair shot. Further, I completely disagree with your assessment of chronic dating vs. ONE unhealthy relationship. I would be more worried about a chronic dater than someone who suffered ONE bad relationship. Why? Easy. Despite the past, its over, in the past and hopefully more of a lesson than a wound as the person moves on. I've never seen a single bad relationship "ruin" someone. A chronic dater (serial monogamist) on the other hand often has deep-seated feelings of incompleteness, low self-worth and truly does not know who they are outside of a relationship. THIS would worry me. And it rather well-describes the type of dating you favor.
In closing, there may be much to learn from dating around, but it does NOT help, but rather harms a marriage. Dating fewer people better allocates time and skills towards successful marriage. I'vemuchmoretosaybutnospace!Thx&miss u <3
Debate Round No. 4
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