Finding and Keeping Love
I do not believe it’s easy in modern American dating culture to find a partner or keep one. Many of us believe that we have a lot of choices, and that’s why we can go through each choice quickly if something doesn’t seem right. This is an illusion of choice that isn’t widely discussed or inspected.
I found that dating multiple people over a long period, even at a steady pace of focusing on 1 or 2 per week, led to instances where I suspected that it would take many tries to find someone I meshed well with and felt a connection to. I knew that once I found this person, it would be evident since I am a unique person, and he would be, too, in some ways, based on how he sees and interacts with the world.
About 6 months after I created my 100+ item list of metrics, with clarifying paragraphs underneath each one, I seemed to have manifested the perfect match. The connection was there, and it was strong, and we seemed to have coincidentally found each other in the oddest of circumstances. I wasn’t even seriously assessing him on the app before we met, and that was the first time in a long time I took a risk like that.
Finding a soulmate or feeling intense love toward a person after a short time usually happens by chance. That’s why our grandparents could eventually find a partner in their relative vicinity if only they had their minds open toward it. Perhaps it was, again, a meaningful coincidence. For more information on the history of dating, see Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance.
After we find a partner we feel strongly about, those same feelings get in the way of enjoying our time together and learning to trust them, especially if we have been hurt. We become paranoid, easily upset, and regularly worried, unable to communicate to ourselves, let alone to our partner; why. This happened to me, and I ended up in a cyclical pattern that gave me stress, anguish, and pain.
These days, having overcome that year of struggle with mostly myself, for which I sought plenty of help, I can communicate what I fear, what I want, and what would help. Things are going much more smoothly, even after I concluded that men and women are simply not meant to cohabitate under any circumstances, based on core values men and women hold from their upbringing and biological differences.
I’ve come a long way, and so has my relationship, even though there is a lot of self-work still to be done on my part. Simply put, romance or dating these days isn’t straightforward, and sometimes we must simplify rather than complicate these matters to determine what truly matters to us. It’s easy to lose sight of that because of all the noise in our minds from a culture of perfection and idealism.
Aimee Sparrow is an author, applied philosopher, and mathematician who has been living with a mood disorder for more than a decade and advocates for happiness and inner peace. She is the author of Lunacy. Follow her website for more details.