If there are few eligible women in your city, you’re more likely to get married. A study published last month in the journal of Evolutionary Psychology found that in areas of the country where there are more women than men, women are more likely to get married at a younger age.

The study puts forth several ideas for this including the likelihood that men won’t want to let a good catch get away and therefore propose marriage earlier than in places where they, perhaps, feel like they have more options.

According the MSNBC, to conduct the study, Daniel  Kruger, evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan analyzed data on the average marriage age and the number of men and women in the nation’s 50 largest cities.

Using the data, he calculated what’s called an operational sex ratio, which is the number of sexually available men per 100 sexually available women, multiplied by 100. A ratio of 100 means a balanced population, while numbers larger than 100 indicate a surplus of men. A ratio of 110, for example, means 11 men are available for every 10 women. A ratio of 90 would mean nine men are available for every 10 women.

Regardless of how the ratios are in your area, there are a few things that I advise people to do to make it past the first date. Yes, statistics about gender, age and location can play into things but that doesn’t mean you can’t take control of your dating life and help steer it in the direction you want it to go.

First up, toss the notion that if he or she doesn’t call right away it means they’re just not that into you. We need to employ common sense here – sometimes that can be the case, but chances are, the person you’re waiting to hear from just doesn’t want to come across as needy or clingy. I suggest women should make the first move in connecting for a first date and getting past that possible lull of uncertainty. If you like him, tell him! But make sure that first contact is a phone call – texting or emailing first can leave too much open to interpretation.

Secondly, talk about money on a first date. That’s right, I said bring up the elephant in the room. It will help alleviate the awkward “who’s paying” moment, but it will also help start you out on the same page. I don’t mean that you have to talk about your exact salary or how much you put into savings each month. Starting off by discussing your family patterns as related to money – what I call your Financial Imago – can be a good place to begin.

Third, utilize what I call Smart Heart Skills. I discuss this further in Make Up Don’t Break Up and usually I encourage couples who have been together for a while use it as a way of getting through rough patches and creating a place where it’s safe to speak their mind. But it can work for early dating relationships as well. If you start out a potential relationship by being honest with eachother – by asking some of the tough questions – if you continue to date you’ll start out on the right foot, and you’ll find out early on if you don’t want the relationship to progress.

No matter where you live and how many available men or women there are, you can empower yourself to take matters into your own hands!

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