Advice on finding a talented spouse

From a reader:

Re your observation that most people don’t know what their strengths are and your interest in finding and fostering talent:

I haven’t done the two things I’ve recently come to think I’d have the greatest comparative advantage in – marry and stay married to a very talented male and raise very talented kids. As a 36-yr-old female with no potential mate at present, I’ve decided I need to be more intentional about this.

What are your thoughts on the best strategies to maximize my chances of success? How to approach dating sites- multiple with different types of profiles and levels of info; deep on just 1 or 2? Focus more on new sites/established sites/niche sites? Best questions/methods for weeding out and attracting potentials online- especially deeper cultural/moral/values questions? Seek out more in-person opportunities instead? What kind? Groups, orgs I should join? What should I be most/least picky about? Other considerations I’m likely over- or under- rating? I’m in the Dallas area, finishing up my PhD in [redacted], free to move most anywhere.

You haven’t set yourself up as an expert on this, but I know you’ll answer. Also open to suggestions of who else to ask for such advice.

This one is far outside my expertise, but I have a few comments:

1. Are you sure this is what you really want?  I don’t know you at all, but surely you are smart and skilled and so far it hasn’t happened.  (What is your theory of why not?  Maybe you wanted it less before, but keep in mind part of what men want is women who have really wanted this all along.)  That said, if you don’t really want this, I don’t see the harm in trying to make a match of the sort you indicate.  Your own intuitions will save you in time, conditional on you not really wanting this.

2. Use on-line dating.  I’ve seen a graph indicating a trend line marching straight upwards for how many matches, in percentage terms, come from on-line dating (might any of you know the link?  Here it is.).  That is very often how the trend line looks for a dominant trend that is still underrated.  On-line dating simply seems better than any other method, for the same reason you are reading this blog.

2b. I have no idea which services you should use, but since network effects in this market are strong, plenty of your same-age friends should know the right answers without much hesitation.

3. If you are considering doing more “in person” things, such as joining clubs and associations, do things you would wish to do anyway.  If you are doing those activities as part of your effort to be “intentional,” they are dominated by doing more on-line dating.  So just do what you want in this regard.

Other people to ask might be clergy?  Recently married same-age friends?  All the other econ bloggers?


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