Complicating our lives is a seemingly inevitable consequence of being human. Striving for greater detail or more information or some unspecified hidden secret might even define the way a lot of us pursue answers to those internal gnawing questions. It’s a kind of obsession for many, that if we just think harder we will find the key.

Dating and coupling is no different. As we age we gain experience and education, and we could be lucky and even acquire a measure of insight. These skills are a satisfying trade-off for the inevitable disappointments of life, but they work in two divergent ways.

We can, for instance, become more narrowly focused on what we think works for us. I might remember bad experiences with a certain kind of woman, or ways of going about relationships and therefore avoid them in the future.

The other way is to acknowledge that a few core qualities are more important than the ephemera. I could look for calmness and an accepting happiness in a woman; equanimity, in other words.

The discovery that small-scale success depends upon a handful of big-picture qualities is an easily overlooked not-so-secret secret.

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