It's just the spark that's gone? You and your boyfriend faced the same challenge upon graduation but had radically different responses. You faced your economic reality and got very industrious. He could afford a different strategy. The disturbing part is that he didn't show an abundance of appreciation for your efforts or your lack of free time. Perhaps the missing spark really reflects a deeper concern, a new wariness about how he might respond to challenging situations in the future. Dating is a process of discovery, getting to know yourself as much as it is getting to know the other. It's wise to go slow, so you can see how your partner handles a variety of situations before you make a lifetime commitment. It usually takes a number of experiences before one learns enough about oneself and who might be a good fit for the long haul. Your boyfriend has many qualities that you value, but the cost of enjoying them is a growing resentment about what's missing—empathy and flexibility. His refusal to accept a substantial internship because it wasn't the "perfect" solution, despite the imperfect job market, may reflect a deep-seated difference in adaptability. Perhaps you sense that his approach to life is not as flexible as the future may demand and his problem-solving style is so incompatible with yours that it may cause too much friction ahead. For most people starting out, a six-month internship is far better than unemployment and a great foot in the door of real life.
Speed dating consists of organized matchmaking events that have multiple single persons meet one-on-one in brief timed sessions so that singles can assess further whether to have subsequent dates. An example is meeting perhaps twenty potential partners in a bar with brief interviews between each possible couple, perhaps lasting three minutes in length, and shuffling partners. In Shanghai, one event featured eight-minute one-on-one meetings in which participants were pre-screened by age and education and career, and which costs 50 yuan ($6 USD) per participant; participants are asked not to reveal contact information during the brief meeting with the other person, but rather place names in cards for organizers to arrange subsequent dates. Advantages of speed dating: efficiency; "avoids an embarrassing disaster date"; cost-effective; way to make friends. Disadvantages: it can turn into a beauty contest with only a few good-looking participants getting most offers, while less attractive peers received few or no offers; critics suggest that the format prevents factors such as personality and intelligence from emerging, particularly in large groups with extra-brief meeting times.
Several months ago I was invited by the Sichuan University of Finance and Economics and the Sichuan University of Nationalities to conduct a seminar on “Setting Boundaries in Dating.” The purpose of the seminar was to provide an opportunity for dialog and reflection with the participants, who are expected to get married within the next decade, and to help ensure that when that time comes they would use their utmost wisdom in making the most important decision of their lives.
Humans have been compared to other species in terms of sexual behavior. Neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky constructed a reproductive spectrum with opposite poles being tournament species, in which males compete fiercely for reproductive privileges with females, and pair bond arrangements, in which a male and female will bond for life. According to Sapolsky, humans are somewhat in the middle of this spectrum, in the sense that humans form pair bonds, but there is the possibility of cheating or changing partners. These species-particular behavior patterns provide a context for aspects of human reproduction, including dating. However, one particularity of the human species is that pair bonds are often formed without necessarily having the intention of reproduction. In modern times, emphasis on the institution of marriage, generally described as a male-female bond, has obscured pair bonds formed by same-sex and transgender couples, and that many heterosexual couples also bond for life without offspring, or that often pairs that do have offspring separate. Thus, the concept of marriage is changing widely in many countries.