The word “dating” has almost run its course.
Words are powerful for the images and emotions they create, and because dating drives straight to the heart of us as mammals and intellects, it is an especially charged thing.
Removing the links to expectation and desire might be a start to some clearer thinking about finding people. Replacing the word – date, or dating – with something more accurate could get us shuffling along a better path. Detachment from dreams and attachment to reality seems to me a healthy goal, so why not call dating “mesh testing” or “compatibility examination” or “people fitment”.
Yes, all those clunky words won’t replace something so strongly held as dating, but even if we think for a second or two about what we’re actually doing, we might find a useful shift in our outcomes.
Funny what we can learn from talking about couplehood.
On the weekend I was chatting with a friend, figuring the merits of online dating, how profiles work, what the probability of a genuine reciprocal relationship really is from an online Sears catalogue – the usual stuff. I was mulling over what it is we’re really trying to do here, over and above the flim-flam of ‘soulmates’ and LAFS*.
Fit might be the answer. We’re looking for another person who will be a kind of snug anti-us, like the master of a brick mould. Or a coffee-mug template. Or even a car-door stamping machine. We’re looking for the one individual who can spoon our personality with little or no gap. When we dip, we want them to…whatever the opposite of that is. When we’re proud (in the engineering sense) we’d like them to retreat. We want a personal candy wrapper.
Implicit from that starting point is that we don’t actually want to change. The prospect must be the one who fits us, in as many levels and as accurately as possible; humour, sex, finance, spirituality, driving style, they should all be not just compatible, but what we’re expecting. What we want.
Sounds like a tall order to me.
*Love At First Sight
Change is inevitable, and even with the best intention in the world, couples will grow closer and further apart because of it.
Are we taking on more than is reasonable when we couple-up with someone? Is all change acceptable? Are there better ways to make it work when we’re out of synch? What about discomfort created by one of us changing?
Kregg and I take a big-picture look.
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In the long list of bogus standards with which Hollywood has blessed us, their idea of romantic love is among the worst. Not only is it a false hope, it’s something far worse; an impossible dream.
Most of us think – because of the movies – that the best relationships begin with instant bonding, the storied glance across a crowded room. Something begins that way, but it’s not the best beginning to a serious and connected lifetime of shared experiences.
Chemistry is at the heart of this instant noodle notion of coupling. Chemistry is certainly a thing, but it’s a reproductive and entirely mammalian thing. Lasting reltionships of course require chemistry, but they need so much more; character, for one thing.
Character is like a vertical flight of wines from a quality winery. Over a series of years, one can see the differences between each vintage. Some years are lesser than others; less rain, or too much rain, or insufficient sun or too much, or the winemaker quit in the middle of harvest. Individually, each bottle is a snapshot, but when we put them together we can see the thread of substance and flavor from one to the next.
People are the same. Coupling with someone because we thought the first sip of one glass from one year is both shallow and dopey. Without knowing the backbone of this person, how can we know what happens under stress? When we argue? When we lose in the lottery of life? When we grow old?
Character, not chemistry. Patterns, not promises. Backbone, not bullshit.
None of us think of relationships this way, but the courtesy of allowing room for the other to be who they are forms a lifelong framework, if we so choose.
What does “allowing room” mean?
Well, Hortense, room equates to latitude and understanding. Within the boundaries of law, morality, etiquette and goodwill, women should allow men to be men, and men should allow women to be women. Observing our specific mate’s version of malehood or femalehood is part of learning about them.
What does ” (being) who they are” mean?
Being who they are is the characteristic and integral behavior of each sex. Women and men are different, and understanding them from the perspective of the other can be difficult, and, in extreme cases, fatal for a relationship. Finding a way to rejoice in the differences and to be at one with our opposite is finding peace with who our mate is.
Acceptance; finding a way to want what is mostly for the good is a fine way to progress through life with someone.