- Dating apps and practices such as parallel dating have made the world of relationships move faster.
- Realistic relationship expert Sandra Neumayer advises when looking for a partner.
- And remember the biggest delusion you think exists in relationships.
Shown on TV shows like “The Bachelor” and finding out for ourselves through dating apps like Tinder: relationships today are often short-lived and almost interchangeable. We spoke to relationship expert Sandra Neumayer – about dating apps, parallel dating, and why kids aren’t a cohesive relationship.
Ms. Numayer, in your experience, what are the most common problems singles face when looking for a partner?
Sandra Neumayer: Many people see their partner through rose-tinted glasses at the beginning of a relationship. They are in love. However, each person has strengths and weaknesses. After a certain time comes awakening.
What does this awakening look like to most people?
People then feel deceived or lied to, even though they didn’t look closely from the start.
Have you fallen in love with someone who is perfect, so to speak?
Exactly, one glorified. However, what can be changed in the next relationship is often not discussed. Why did the old relationship fail?
Classically, one might say that many relationships fail because of jealousy.
Jealousy is always a matter of self-esteem. It is not always assumed that a partner is cheating, but it is believed that there are a thousand better options for him or her. This assumption gradually builds up more and more pressure.
However, the assumption that there are a thousand options is not far-fetched. Has online dating and the rise of dating apps changed matchmaking for players?
In all cases. There is of course a much bigger offer now. Whereas you used to go to the tea dance and then fall in love with someone and confront that person in person, today you can scroll through 100,000 copies of Arnold Schwarzenegger online. (He laughs)
What advantages do you see in online dating?
In particular, it benefits that generation over 45, who often no longer go to clubs in the evenings. The previously mentioned tea dances no longer exist. Even people who are very busy professionally have the opportunity to get to know a partner in a different way. It also makes sense for single parents who can’t go out in the evening either.
What do you advise people to do before they start dating?
If you are looking for a partner, you should first recognize your patterns and think: Who is right for me? For example, if a lady who does absolutely no sport wants an athletic man, then problems are inevitable. One has to be realistic here.
Does it often happen that people are looking for someone who does not suit them at all?
Precisely because they are often unrealistic. For example, many women want the position of a top manager, but at the same time they want a man to be home by 5 pm every evening.
Love via the app: ‘There’s enough choice on Tinder’
On dating apps like Tinder, it’s entirely possible to match with multiple people at the same time. Do you think dating multiple people at once is a healthy approach?
It’s consumerism. I think it’s good at first to make a rough choice, but then you should focus on one person. Otherwise how should anything evolve?
Is this the downside to online dating?
Many people think: Well, the relationship is not going well, I will look for a new one – Tinder has enough to choose from. It is often forgotten how valuable a mature relationship is and that the difficulties do not always come from the partner, but often have to do with oneself.
Is this speed dating phenomenon dating back ten to twenty years?
In all cases.
Do TV shows like “The Bachelor” also play a role in the exchange of relationships?
Certainly a little too, although sometimes it does have a glorifying effect, for example if things are going well there. Then that is taken as a model. I think you have to maintain a healthy relationship with reality and with yourself.
Do you also see advantages in parallel dating?
In the beginning for sure. The choice is greater. But then you have to give someone a chance.
Let’s say you go on your first date with person A early in the week, with person B in the middle of the week, and with person C at the end of the week. How do you see that?
This is not a problem. But then you have to think about it at the weekend: Where’s the empathy and perhaps the foundation? This does not mean that you have to unsubscribe from all platforms at once. But it’s still about relationship and love. Trust must develop.
What do you do when you build that trust by getting to know so many people?
You must ask yourself: Who is right for me? And by the way: if you meet several people yourself, you should not expect your dating partners to lock themselves in the basement. (He laughs)
Does this mean that you should only expect from others what you expect from yourself?
Actually always in a relationship.
Children as a cement relationship? “This is the biggest delusion that exists.”
At what stage will you bring up the issue of a committed relationship?
I think if you meet once or twice, and you get close and you realize it’s a good fit, you might consider addressing something like that in a subtle way. Of course not a sledgehammer that you want to marry right away and ideally bring three children into the world. (He laughs)
It seems common on dating platforms for women in particular to announce their desire to have children on the first message.
If you’re sharing that without pressure, that’s okay. If the other decides for himself that children are not a problem for him, then you know right away that it will not work.
Does that mean that the desire to have children alone is not a reason for the relationship?
number. I have been attached to children for a lifetime. The relationship needs a foundation before children are born.
So children are not the key to a happy relationship?
This is the greatest illusion that exists. Raising a young child is great, of course, but it’s also a huge stressor for a partnership.
Where does this thought come from?
I think this thought has always been there. But linking someone to you through children is not a good idea.
A good relationship needs a good foundation.
Yeah. Of course, you don’t have to be obsessed with staying in a relationship. But you must realize that relationships require work. Getting to know each other is a business, maintaining a good marriage is a lifelong business, which always involves self-discipline.
Work worth it?
I don’t like to judge that. Personally, when you have someone you can really trust, it’s worth the effort to keep the relationship going. Interestingly, in recent years, the trend has been increasingly declining towards maintaining relationships.
We certainly notice this in our practice. We used to treat couples before divorce court. Now we have a lot of therapy for couples right before marriage. They often want to build a really good foundation.
Is there still hope for love?
In all cases.
About the expert: Sandra Niemeyer has been caring for people in relationship crises for 25 years. She is a senior lecturer at the Academy of Counseling Psychology and Vice President of the Professional Association. I have specialized in couples counseling for 22 years. In her practice in Munich, she offers, among other things, individual training.
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