He’s So Romantic

Your idea of romance and my idea of romance will be different. Romance is like one’s taste in food; we all like and need it, but my steamed branzino with cilantro and scallion might not mesh with your cheeseburger.

Herein some of the friction of dating. With the best intentions, I try to curry your favour with my brand of romance. It will succeed only partially, because we are all quite specific in our likes. Really specific, actually. And the likelihood of finding someone new who shares precisely the same ideas of what’s romantic and what’s not is small.

We can look at dating through this lens if you like. Dating is the process of gradually aligning our romantic ideals so that they fit together pretty darn well. Finding someone with the potential for this is our goal. As a simple test, it’s not a bad start.

Celebrity

The ooze of famous people living their lives, well, everywhere, is the biggest sanitation problem of the 21st century.

I cannot help but wonder if we the people shouldn’t demand a public health stance from authorities. They should sluice this muck into Superfund sites or other toxic waste dumps. It’s at least as dangerous to our health as those WWII and Cold War leftovers, and probably a good deal more so.

Endless foolishness from media-created personalities distort real life. That’s the problem. If we’re looking for examples of how to be, the very worst ones pop up first. Everywhere. All the time.

Fighting our way (and I really do mean fighting, because the media are so smart at co-opting our brainspace) towards a sane coupling plane takes time and a thought. Overcoming poor relationship models and counter-productive advice is a challenge for most of us. Me more than anyone, by the way, but at least part of getting better is understanding the problem.

Celebrity relationships are the anti-matter of the coupling universe. Your life and my life are what matter…the real, important material we have to work with.

Guideposts

If you think it cold-blooded to plan your romantic and coupling life, consider the alternative. That alternative includes disappointment, confusion, heartbreak, heartache, sadness, spots and tears. These things will appear in your life regardless, but will be much worse without some kind of blueprint.

Our blueprint for successful dating and coupling is not the same as an architectural blueprint. By necessity, buildings and bridges must have engineering limits calculated and safety incorporated from the beginning. Those smart people with the snazzy sloping desks then add a margin for the unforeseen.

Relationships with prospective co-couplers (especially the unknown others who will end up being the people with whom we couple) cannot be so circumscribed, so we need a lot of room to stretch. The unknowns that evolve when we bring new people into our lives can be wonderful or disastrous. Allowing them to play out is part of the plan.

So we cannot make our loving outline too granular. We need room for manoeuvring. However, there are some parameters we can set with a high degree of confidence, a few of which I have listed here:

  • stick to dating within plus or minus ten years of your age
    • more than that limits your shared experiences from childhood
  • big economic disparities will cause problems
    • avoid money as a third entity in the relationship…and it will be
  • common attitudes to children (and having them yourselves)
    • to pre-empt surprises when it’s too late
  • shared thoughts on religion
    • stated expressly, not in vague generalizations
  • domesticity: washing, ironing, mowing lawns, dishes in the sink
    • easy to gloss over, difficult to reconcile gross differences later
  • common money disciplines (or not)
    • budgets, savings, income, thrift, celebration, risk, pauperism
  • home-body or traveler?
    • mixing the two types might be a problem – absences can be brutal
  • food
    • yep, it’s a big part of our lives so we best face it
  • politics
    • always easier when both people are up-front and clear
  • personality type
    • extrovert or introvert, party-goer or dinner-party type, drinker or stoner?
  • sex
    • expectations, desires, frequency, hang-ups, fantasies
  • spare time activities
    • books or movies, bikes or bars, exercise or beach-snoozing, couch or weight training?

Although this might appear to hem us into a tight corner with a limited number of eligible prospects, the nuances of each individual will surprise and delight us. Even within these boundaries.