Find Her or Him

I wonder if we need to think in terms of a minimum threshold we need to attain before dating. It wouldn’t be a tricky thing: a useful way to make a living, some money, physical health, mental health, freedom from addiction, established probity in one’s affairs.

As a list of low-level requirements, it doesn’t challenge mainstream ideas. If you want to become and remain a member of almost any society, these are close to being the least the rest of us can ask.

But reasonableness does not apply to dating and romance. Nor sex. Unspoken and unwritten, the unstated assumption is that the price of entry to the world of making a union with another – no matter the length – is only that we can breathe. Living for the moment is almost the assumed position from which we begin relationships, a kind of human rights assumption without reference to what it means to be a human, let alone how rights are issued.

Which is a long way around to say that the responsibility for the success of any relationship begins with us. You and me. My relationship with you depends upon who I am, how I present, my foundation, the way I make my way; in an oddly isolating way, you begin with me.

Let’s stipulate that we’re looking for something who is additive to our life, not a net withdrawal. Finding the person who will make 1 + 1 = >2 therefore begins with having our heads above water. We don’t build lighthouses underwater. Let’s not shine our own light until we’ve found a solid headland from which to beam.

The Difficulty of Attraction

Solving for x is the reason for algebra, and while relationships aren’t clinical like mathematics, there are some parallels.

One such parallel is the need for one side of an equation to equal the other. As long as we invert the left side as well as the right, we can consider the problem the same. In the squishy world of people, things tend to even out, even if we don’t quite see it that way at the time or when we’re close up.

The matter of attraction is an interesting one. People have a total attraction factor (for fun let’s call it x) that’s made up of the physical, the intellectual and the spiritual. Let’s be smart here and call it the body, the brains and the heart.

In general, B + B + H = x, where x is generally about the same for everyone.

Key to figuring our own personal attraction is understanding how our individual inputs are proportioned, namely, how much B, B or H goes into our own x.

Am I attractive because of my body, my brains or my heart, and in what proportion? Figure that out and you have a strategy for finding your mate.

Do Your Duty

I am allegedly one of the lucky ones. My models – aka parental units – created zero expectation around my life. It feels liberating now, and also empty. When you receive no guidance as to the possible choices, an immature person is cast adrift. And drifting through life is not as happy as it sounds.

I am talking here about relationships and how to fit yourself onto the coupling plane.

More usually, young people are given a few vague ideas. You know the kind of thing: marriage is work, but a good thing; children are gigantically rewarding but provide pain until you die; you’re gonna get hurt so learn to get over it.

This is life.

They are also generalizations. Some people should never be married. Some people should never have children. And a lot of people do more hurting than are hurt. That is life, and the sappy advice from parents (who probably know dick about it themselves) will not help you.

We all must find our own way, incurring the smallest harm on others in the process. Heeding foolish media-driven advice and ignoring your own mind can lead only to unhappiness…and to that of the people around you.