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Last summer, author Jon Birger published Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided s Game , which essentially argues that today's dating market is suffering from a so-called " man shortage. While there are 5. The book raises some interesting questions about what we look for in a mate, as well as some alternative solutions for the marriage-minded among us. Apparently, if you're a lady who wants to put a ring on it, Silicon Valley is a single-man mecca.
But Birger also suggests that this "man shortage" might result in a surprising trend: women dating outside their class and education levels. At face value, the suggestion that women date outside their class seems hopelessly old-fashioned, not to mention politically incorrect.
After all, we're living in the 21st century, not in the highly stratified social world of Downton Abbey. However, the uncomfortable truth is we do gravitate to partners who have the most in common with us, which means we tend to date within our social classes and education levels. So what happens when modern singles venture outside their socioeconomic pools and engage in what Birger calls "mixed-collar dating"? To find out, Mic spoke to men and women in modern-day mixed-collar relationships.
A relatively rare attraction: Despite what Disney movies might tell you, it's rare for people to hook up across classes. That's because research shows that most of us just feel more comfortable dating people at similar educational and economic levels. In fact, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that the tendency to marry within our education level has drastically increased since To a degree, this trend makes logical sense. Since most couples meet through mutual friends or work, people are simply more likely to cross paths and hook up if they have shared interests and backgrounds, which often means they have shared economic backgrounds as well.
But thanks in large part to the Internet leveling the playing field, people have more opportunity to meet and hook up with those from different walks of life. Kim self-identifies as working class: her father worked for the US Postal Service, while her mother was a nurse. Her boyfriend, Zach, on the other hand, is descended from a prestigious Midwestern family and grew up very affluent, living in a mansion-like home, playing on tennis courts and attending private schools.
But while Kim is now pursuing her master's degree, Zach dropped out of undergrad years ago. As a result of their disparate upbringings, the two have totally different outlooks on life — which is partially why they're so attracted to each other.
He excels at chilling," Kim said. He loves working with his hands. He chops wood! Do you have any idea how hot it is to watch your boyfriend chop wood? Having love in common: But mixed-collar relationships aren't just happening because husband-hungry women are venturing outside their own social circles to find marriageable men, per Birger's thesis. Rather, it seems that mixed-collar relationships happen simply because both partners are compatible. We've been together since. Emily is not blind to the class differences between her and Alex.
When she first met his parents, for instance, she was a little surprised when she had to sleep on the couch for the stay and his family ordered pizza for dinner. Their relationship works simply because "we enjoy the simple pleasures and, fuck, he makes me laugh. Bridging that wide gap: We can pretend we live in a classless society all we want, but there are nonetheless a few inevitable speed bumps that come with mixed-collar relationships. For instance, money is cited by most couples as one of the biggest sources of fights and stress. Navigating a relationship where your outlooks about money differ can exacerbate the tension of dating someone of a different economic status.
In her research, Streib found that people from different classes tend to approach their relationships differently. White-collar professionals like to manage and organize things, while working-class people like to "go with the flow more. Kim, for example, has noticed that Zach tends to dream bigger than she dares. I view home ownership as totally out of reach for me, and I hesitate to get financially involved with him. He dreams about luxury items like boats and RVs.
I just dream about paying off my student loans. Nonetheless, couples in mixed-collar relationships say there's a fairly easy way to transcend economic differences: acknowledging they exist and just getting over them. Letting go of a checklist: If Streib has any practical advice for couples looking to maintain mixed-collar relationships, it's that they not try to change one another. People who enter relationships with a "come as you are" attitude often have the most long-lasting ones. That's not going to work, especially if it's class difference — it's just going to be a frustrating experience for both people" Streib told New York magazine.
Couples in mixed-collar relationships echoed this sentiment, saying that in order for such relationships to thrive, you need to detach from both your personal and social expectations of who your partner "should" be.
Among other things, that means keeping your ego in check if you're dating someone who has a higher level of education or makes more money than you do. It also means relaxing some of your personal expectations for who and what your ideal partner "should" be. That doesn't mean settling so much as it means figuring out what really matters to you in a relationship.
In most cases, the answer usually isn't whether your partner makes a six-figure salary or has a master's degree. That's what I found with my boyfriend. By Kate Hakala.Dating someone in a different social class
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The Truth About "Mixed-Collar" Dating — From the People Who Make These Relationships Work