During the late ‘90s, the now iconic tv show Sex and the City gave us the on-screen rollercoaster relationship of Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big. Their turbulent romance struck a chord with viewers and highlighted the pitfalls of our obsession with finding what Carrie called, “The One”.
Despite Big’s repeated cheating, Carrie was obstinate about providing multiple and undeserved redemption because she stubbornly believed he was The One.
But how do we know who The One is? Is it a destined life partner, a soulmate or an overly romanticized cliché suggesting you are doomed to be alone if you’re not in or actively seeking a relationship?
Let’s Ditch the Drama
In India, it’s still common to see marriages arranged by parents. This reduces The One to a contract between families. It’s less about finding a love-centered match and more about forging an extended family support network. But maybe there is some valuable in this? Could it be that the involvement of family and friends helps us to make better decisions about who to date and some hidden secrets to establishing a long-lasting union?
You have to wonder in America, where nearly 40% of all marriages end in divorce. As a love coach, I’ve often found that assistance from a third party never hurts. A friend or family member might turn out to be a successful matchmaker, especially if they know us best and truly understand what makes us happy.
That said, forcing a relationship eliminates a few important ingredients – namely, free will. And what about chemistry and the laws of attraction? We need our mind, heart, and intuition to work in harmony. In this modern world, people value choice and independence. While we should be open to the advice of others wanting to help guide us towards a happy destiny, we are the final stop when it comes to taking responsibility for the success or failure of a relationship.
So what about using scientific methods to up the ante for building a successful relationship? A recent and controversial television show called Married at First Sight provides interesting insight. The series showcases the journey of six discontented singletons who participate in an extreme experiment.
A diverse group of specialists including a spiritualist, a relationship coach and a sociologist use scientific matchmaking methods to eliminate applicants until three couples are left standing. What follows is a legally contracted marriage with a complete stranger, with varying degrees of success.
This kind of love connection is hardly inspiring or hopeful. So why is it that we put our faith in dating apps and matchmaking websites hoping they’ll be our modern-day cupid?
Sure, we know Internet dating can help people explore dating possibilities in a career-orientated city like London.
People are too busy to look for love organically, and put their faith in shared interests. But does liking the same movies, enjoying fine dining and a penchant for adventure travel create a lasting foundation for couples? It may, at first. But in the long run you may not move beyond the first stage when it comes to finding love.
I’ll venture one step further. In our selfie-obsessed generation, dating apps have created confusion. The most perfectly photoshopped girl may get lots of attention but “love at first swipe” destroys the magic that comes from the most important firsts that truly matter.
These are things like the sideways glance when your partner notices something endearing, the enchanting smile, the butterfly nerves from anticipation or even the unpredictable and genuine experiences that happen when nothing is contrived.
Maybe I’m an old-fashioned romantic. Technology isn’t all bad, but we shouldn’t be too reliant on it. Keep it real and don’t rely on screens and arranged meetups.
Otherwise, how do you know if you’ve met the real person behind a packaged persona? You’ll be tempted to second guess everything. If you do get through to a deeper connection, then that’s great.
So what happens when we settle?
Many surveys suggest that the overwhelming majority of couples think they are in a relationship without their destined partner. It’s astonishing to think we’ve settled for someone else. Maybe societal pressures to be in a relationship make that more comfortable than the uncertainty of being alone.
But finding The One doesn’t have to mean you have another half out needed to complete you. Remember we are all whole before we meet a partner or who we believe is The One. We should never let the pressures of society affect our happiness. Being single doesn’t detract from who we are; it just changes our relationship status.
What about those who settle or, even worse, become someone else to be in a relationship? A book by pastor Andy Stanley, ‘New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating,’ suggests we should change who we are by becoming another person’s ideal. Four words to this: are you kidding me?
Personally, I think this is preposterous. I am all for self-improvement when it’s done for the right reasons. Changing your appearance and personality to fit someone else’s ideal mate will eventually strain the relationship and lead to unhappiness. So yes, work on being a better person but don’t change to become someone else. Become your best self because you want to and because you are worthy.
Let’s Create an Action Plan
The first step in our quest for real love is to identify what we really want.
✅ Make a list of qualities you would like in a partner
This will help you be realistic and practical. Limit your list to ten qualities, focusing on personality traits and shared values, instead of things like physical appearance.
✅ Be ready to Compromise
We all want to find someone great who is caring, smart, funny, faithful, financially stable, etc. But we need to be realistic and accept that perfection is impossible.
A client once told me that she would only settle for an Ashton Kutcher-like spouse who was tall, handsome, successful, sporty, family-oriented, and funny. I thought she was joking. She was tragically serious. Sure, millions of single women would be happy to find this perfect spouse. Surely we should be focusing on deeper aspects than surface appearances. Which brings me to my next point…
✅ Be open minded
Don’t write someone off because at first glance they don’t embody your idea of a ‘perfect mate.’ The secret to a long lasting relationship is a combination of mutual respect, true friendship and undeniable chemistry.
Keep your heart open to all possibilities to find that someone who speaks to your soul. As a Love Coach, I provide guidance. A trusted third party often has the ability to see beyond our tunnel vision. Seek the advice of friends and family and remember, it’s 2018. People have a myriad of different expectations and dreams. What works for them might not for you.
Logic means following your heart, when you allow your intuition to help you make good choices. No matter where we are from, we all want to find and enjoy love. See you next time as we share musings on the complexities of love.