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Online dating, game theory, and meeting the love of your life

by Confluence
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By:  Lisa M. Hayes – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.


I am a relationship coach and I work with a lot of people who are doing the online dating thing with mixed results, and when I say mixed results, I mean many of them are frustrated. Now, full disclosure here. I am a fan of online dating because if not for Match.com, I wouldn’t have met my husband.

However, online dating got me more than my share of duds before I found my Mr. Right. In fact, I had a profile up, on and off, for years before meeting my man. I did in fact, almost date a guy who threatened my life when I canceled the first date. I had to report him to Match. I dated a guy I met on eHarmony who said not one true thing about himself in his profile. We ended up in a relationship for months. I accidentally dated a married dude for three weeks, and it happened because obviously, he lied his ass off. I can swap online dating horror stories like a champ – but that’s not what we’re doing here – and we’re not going to do that for a very specific reason.

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering why something that should work based on the number of people who are using online dating sites and the computer algorithms, so often doesn’t work. And I can offer some thoughts about that based on my personal experience and the experience of hundreds of clients I’ve watched swim in those waters.

People get too attached to early results and when they don’t find the perfect match soon enough they give up.

Daters eliminate potential right matches by making their criteria too narrow.

It’s too easy to build “virtual” intimacy by spending too much time in the digital communication phase of online dating before meeting in person in the real world.

Women particularly get very discouraged by the overwhelming number of “low-quality men” who show up in their feeds as matches and get distracted by what they don’t want.

I could go on with the list of things that go wrong. However, it really boils down to one thing. When the online dating experience causes you to focus on things you don’t want or don’t like, you’re going to see a lot more of what you don’t want showing up in your matches and your life. Unfortunately, that happens often to a lot of people. Like everything else in life, the issue can be distilled down to one thing. It’s always focus. No more, no less.

Yes, as a relationship coach, I know that a lot of things can factor into what makes a person ready to date and attract love. You know, the “coachy” litany list of stuff to work on:

  • Limiting beliefs
  • Past-traumas
  • Self-worth and self-love issues
  • Difficulty trusting and being vulnerable
  • Not being fully healed after a recent breakup

All of those things and many more matter. However, the reason they matter is that failing to resolve them makes it damn hard to focus on what it would feel like to be in a passionate, amazing, forever relationship. Carrying those kinds of issues makes it very difficult to be the person you want to attract, so you can attract a person you’d want to be with forever.

Baggage is very distracting. However, when someone is singularly focused and pointed in the direction they want to go without distraction, your “issues” don’t matter. We’ve all seen people who haven’t done their personal work find amazing partners and have happy, satisfying relationships – and while that might rub some people the wrong way, it’s the truth.

We live in a focus driven universe.

Which leads me to why online dating can be such an effective tool for manifesting true love. Online dating done right is a focus machine.

But before we dive into that in more detail, let’s break for a moment and talk about game theory. Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction between rational decision-makers. It has applications in all fields of social science, as well as in logic and computer science.

The shorthand on that is game theory is the science of how human interactions within algorithms create specific outcomes.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret – that is exactly what online dating is. It is humans integrated with mysterious computer algorithms, the behavior of which, at times their programmers don’t even understand, intended to generate a specific outcome – a match. Here’s the even bigger secret: It’s much more algorithm than human – especially in the beginning.

Ok – so here’s an odd seemingly unrelated tidbit and I’m sure you’ve heard this. It’s not uncommon for couples who struggle with infertility to adopt and shortly thereafter find themselves pregnant. It’s also not uncommon for someone who lands a great job after being unemployed for a long period of time and after getting employed starts getting other random great job offers.

I’ve also seen it happen too often to count. A single person who’s resisted online dating for months or even years will finally give up and creates an online profile or two. Then out of the blue, a couple of weeks later meets a great match in the grocery store they’ve both been going to twice a week for a decade. Then this lucky dater will tell me, “See? Online dating doesn’t work”. Except it’s not exactly true. Online dating did work. Just not in the way they thought it might.

There are some big thinking scientist/philosophers who theorize that our entire reality is a simulation – basically, our whole experience is driven by something that looks like game theory. Whether or not that’s true, the rules really do apply. Humans interact with algorithms through focus. Our lives are basically serious of probabilities and we can navigate those probabilities through attention.

So, online dating is about how you manage your focus within the “game”. Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, that is exactly how we create reality in the multiverse.

Online dating is nothing more than a massive and complex focus machine.
If you get yourself set up online, and you use that massive pool of data to focus on what you want, the algorithms within the game and in “reality” as a larger universe will respond by delivering more of that.

Conversely, the opposite is true. If you get distracted by all the fray in the online dating environment, the algorithms won’t work for you – well they will work, but just not in the way you want them to. You can tell what you’re focusing on based on the results you’re getting online and in the real world.

Here are three tips for using online dating as a focus generator to bring you the love of your life, wherever they come from:

1. Here’s the thing about algorithms: They learn from you. That’s where game theory comes into play.

When you find the profile of a dude or dudette where you see things you like, even if you don’t think it’s a perfect match, interact with the profile anyway. Like it, sent a wink or a wave, even just going back to it and looking at it several days in a row, is a good idea.

The algorithms will start picking up patterns about things and people you like. Algorithms are all about patterns.

Interact with profiles with people you’re physically attracted to. Interact with profiles who say the right things but might not look exactly the way you prefer. Interact with profiles where someone has a career or hobby you’re into.

Notice I am saying interact with profiles – not necessarily people. The algorithm doesn’t care if you’re going to coffee. So, don’t feel any pressure to do so.

The bonus here is your focus on profiles where there are things you like will translate to focus in the multiverse. It will make you a much more powerful deliberate creator.

2. Keep a list of positive aspects.

Get a book and write them down or start a spreadsheet. As you’re looking at profiles, reading messages, and interacting with people, catalog every single thing you notice that’s awesome.

You may not think you’d fall for the man, but if he’s smokin’ hot, or seems to be a great father, or has a witty sense of humor, a really beautiful sailboat, loves hiking as you do, log it – really don’t short cut this. Write it down. The field of infinite possibilities loves lists of positive aspects.

When you’re dating, you’d be hard pressed to find a place to mine for data than in an online dating environment. You can get hung up on the weirdos or you can focus on the awesome stuff like a pro. One way will get you what you want. The other will get you something but you probably won’t like it.

When you’re using online dating as a focus machine, it’s not all about finding a person to date, marry, and spend the rest of your life with. If you pull that off, good for you. However, more importantly, it might be about really appreciating the amazing abs on one of those jerks who posts shirtless photos in the mirror on his profile. You’re not going to date that guy, but those abs might go on your list of positive aspects.

As you appreciate all the many aspects of the people behind the profiles the Universe and the online dating site algorithms start to get the point.

3. Unless it’s legitimately making you feel better to laugh at the expense of the complete losers online, ignore, delete, skip and move on from the profiles of the idiots.

Do not talk to your friends or anyone else about the assholes, morons, egomaniacs, fat shirtless dudes on the sofas, or even the dick pics – unless they are spectacular.

No matter what you do, at all costs avoid obsessing about the lack of quality candidates online. Scarcity thinking is like a highly contagious flu virus. It will pretty much sour your vibration around dating and everything else.

This is where the deliberate part of deliberate creation comes in. If you can exercise your muscles of cherry-picking what you’re focusing on while looking through online dating profiles and sorting messages from freaks, you will earn a PhD in the finer points of being a master manifestor.

Really, it’s your doctorate program.
The good news is once you know what you’re doing, it’s not that hard.

Online dating is an opportunity to inform your vibration on the topic of love way beyond the websites. Let’s face it, if you’re doing it, or even thinking about doing online dating, you’re flowing some optimism. That optimism mixed with your intentional focus can will make miracles.

Besides, the Universe loves, love.
So, you’ve got that going for you, no matter what else is happening.



More by Lisa:

3 Lies Women Need to Quit Telling Themselves


Lisa is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.





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