Virtues, Gifts, and Principles in Dating

principlesHave you heard people complain about dating websites lately? Sometimes it comes from the men saying that the women are rude, snarky, and just not women anymore. Sometimes it is the women saying that the men are crude, desperate, and verbally abusive. After having read a few messages to and from people on dating websites I can see a lot of problems with people’s approach to dating. Namely, it appears to me that neither men nor women have a clue what qualities to look for in each other and what qualities in themselves they should be working on. The women are typically making dating profiles that look like auditions for porn movies, while the men are crafting unbelievable tales of their wealth, fitness, and charisma. In other words; they have become skilful at creating attractive profiles, but not skilful in recognising what elements are needed to build and sustain a successful romantic relationship. There is a lot of conflict on dating website because of this both sexes are reporting harassment by the opposite sex through verbally abusive messages demanding to know what the other person’s true intentions are.

Yes, men are attracted to physical beauty in a woman, and yes women are attracted to a variety of specific qualities in men. However, attraction stops being important the moment you decide to message someone (and they decide to message you back). After this, attraction is no longer important to the relationship. Stage one of dating is finished and one should stop focussing solely on how attractive the other person is and/or how attractive you appear to them. Telling people how attractive they are at this point is merely trying to play on their vanity. In stage two, since both parties have established they have mutual attraction, the goal is now to collect information about the integrity of the other person. Integrity is the most important quality in a relationship. It doesn’t matter how smart he/she is, how good looking he/she is, or how good at conversation he/she is, all these things are gifts. Gifts are qualities a person has that are a bonus to their character, but they aren’t important in making a relationship work. How smart, funny, interesting, skilful, etc… a person is might influence how attractive a relationship will be, but it won’t ever play a decisive role in the viability of that relationship.

When I ask people in unhealthy relationships why they are with someone they usually say something like “love” and when pressed to provide more detail they start telling me things like: she’s smart, he’s kind, she’s funny, he’s a good conversationalist, etc… which are all gifts a person may have. None of these are virtues. Gifts are special traits that you have but didn’t have to work hard for. Beauty is an example, women are either born beautiful or not. They can obsess with cosmetics and fashion, but this typically only draws attention to them, the beauty is a gift they either have or lack innately. Likewise, if a man is born rich, born healthy, or born well connected, these are all gifts he brings to the relationship. These are not virtues. Virtues are not something you are born with or can be given. You are not born self-honest, self-disciplined, courageous, consistent, and wise. These are qualities you must work on to develop.

But why should I care more about whether a person is virtuous rather than rich, beautiful, funny, and caring?

The answer is to do with human nature. Human beings are emotional animals, and that means we’re moody. Sometimes we’re careful with our money because we feel worried about losing it. Other times we’re completely careless with our money and we will throw it all away one night on an whim. Admit it; we’ve all done both of these things at some point in our lives; because we’re all moody to some degree. Likewise, sometimes we’re patient, kind, and attentive, and other times we’re brusque, mean, and egotistical; again, because our moods change. Sometimes we’re passionate love makers, sometimes we just don’t feel like it. All through our lives we are accosted by these rising and falling tides of emotion and it can seem confusing because it can seem like we lack a stable sense of self: I’m confident, nope, shy now, I’m funny, nope, now I’m a misery guts, I’m kind, nope, now I’m a bitch. On and on we cycle from mood to mood and how we treat other people varies with the ebb and flow of these emotional waves. The most traumatic one for relationships is “I love you” and then the next day the same person feels differently and says, “I hate you,” and in the moment at both times these words are said, they both feel true.

This is the fallen state of mankind.

As you can probably guess this means relationships with anyone with an emotional pulse is going to be a roller coaster having to constantly deal with the rise and fall of their moods as well as dealing with your own. Yet many couples are stable, they are happy, and they are fruitful. How is this possible? The answer is virtue, allow me to explain with what seems like a painfully common anecdote these days:

I meet women and men who say to me things like, “I am smart, beautiful/rich, and red pilled, why can’t I find a decent partner?”

My only response is to point out to them that those are gifts that he/she has listed, precious gifts no less, but gifts won’t make a relationship successful. Having a successful relationship is the same as having a successful job. If you need to get up at 6am for work, then you need to get up at 6am for work regardless of how you feel about getting up. If you don’t feel like getting up at 6am and choose not to get up this is called mood dependent behaviour, and it is why you are now unemployed. When men(/women) are feeling insecure about a woman(/man) either on a dating website, or in person, they might feel angry with them and they choose to express this anger by unleashing a torrent of verbal abuse either in writing or words. That is also mood dependent behaviour and it is why you are now single.

As a principle, if you want to keep your job then you need to get up at 6am whether you feel like it or not, likewise, if you want to have a relationship with the opposite sex then regardless of how angry you feel you cannot hurl a torrent of verbal abuse at them. The capacity to have a principle (i.e. I will get up for work regardless of how I feel) and to stick by this principle is an indication of your virtue.

People tend to make two fatal mistakes here: They confuse gifts with virtues, and they think their problem is in how they feel not their principles. The first problem is called vanity, and the second one is called having an ‘external locus of control’.


Vanity is the man born rich who thinks he’s virtuous, vanity is the woman born with great looks who thinks she’s virtuous. Vanity is looking at your gifts in life and erroneously estimating your sexual market value to be far higher than it actually is. All gifts can just as easily destabilise a relationship as they can enhance it. A beautiful woman has no limit of other suitors, same for a rich man, or anyone who is clever and well connected socially. These gifts generally destabilise relationships. Thus gifts don’t actually affect your chances of having a successful relationship, and if they do they are more often sources of conflict not attachment. The only things that count are how rational your principles are and how willing you are to stick to them. Vain people are a species of idiot. They’re arrogant, condescending, self-ignorant, and often it doesn’t matter how talented or beautiful they are they just fail to reproduce. At most they have one or two children, and they pour all their vanity into their children sabotaging their children’s chances at finding love in life. The boring plain Jane who thinks celebrity gossip is the most exciting thing to read, but has rational principles and sticks to them, will out breed the super high IQ blonde bombshell time and time again. Because any idiot who has had good parenting will have good principles and will follow them through to reproductive success; while vain people are always asking why they can’t make their relationships work when they’re so wonderful. The answer to every vain person caught admiring their gifts, in the words of Barrack Obama, “you didn’t build that,” so stop taking credit for them.

An External Locus of Control

The second mistake people make is thinking that all their problems would be solved if they could just feel the same feelings consistently day in and day out. The problem, they surmise, is not their lack of principles, but that they just don’t feel motivated all the time, or they don’t feel like being nice all the time. Their attempt at a solution is to try to get the other person to constantly change themselves and their behaviours so as to stabilise their own mood. This is where couples get locked into power struggles: I would be nicer to you if you weren’t so stingy, I would love you more if you weren’t so fat, I would love you again if you didn’t talk to him/her again, and so on… For these people the problem in the relationship is never in themselves and how they deal with their feelings, instead they are always at the mercy of external factors influencing their moods. These people are the confusing frenemies who are supportive and gentle one day, but cold and bitchy the next, and then warm and generous the day after. You can never tell what’s going to happen because the lens they see the relationship through changes shape with their moods.


If you want to have a successful relationship then you need to do a few things: cut out any vanity you might have. We all have gifts, and you need to realise these aren’t things to be proud of. Instead spend some time reflecting on what principles you have or would like to have, and each time you stick by your principles then feel proud of yourself for accomplishing something truly essential in maintaining a stable and fruitful relationship. It is really that simple, I used to feel proud of how smart I was, but I realised this was vanity because I was simply born smart, I could be proud of my wisdom though because that was earned. In the past when I was vain and a woman didn’t appreciate the value of my gift to the relationship I might have unleashed a torrent of verbal abuse on her, just like both my parents used to do to each other. However, nowadays, I am lot healthier than I used to be, I have a principle: I will not unleash a torrent of verbal abuse against anyone I would like to have a relationship with, no matter how hurt, angry, or miserable I feel. The best part is how proud I feel every time I don’t unleash my verbal arsenal, and I hope if this article resonates with your own experiences so that you too will discover the healthy pride of having the integrity to stick by your principles. Because once you start sticking by your principles then you will finally start to notice and attract other people who have the virtue needed to have a stable, fruitful, and joyous relationship.

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