How we choose our mate?
Think about it…really. With more than 40,000,000 sites available to singles, people must think a lot about this. I think understanding more about how we choose who we want to partner-up with, can help us recognize why certain relationships (of the romantic couple variety) are lasting – or not.
Not that I’m a big fan of limiting oneself to only one, one...but, for the sake of argument, let’s keep this simple and address this conversation to the vast number of people who are looking for a significant other to share time with. In a sort of committed or datey – I want to be with you, and only you, and nobody else but you – kind of way.
Widespread opinion (or is it just a myth?) says that common beliefs, interests or shared experience are important in an ongoing relationship. Maybe, maybe not, but many dating sites have made a mint on this idea. And although, it’s true that those factors often bring people together. Alas, this limited understanding of union, often it is not enough to keep a couple a couple (or together at all).
Here are some examples of how those looking for love try to search: age, religion, political views, looks, hobbies, blah blah blah… and here are some samples of the kind of information you can find on the profiles of daters looking for love: “I love outdoor activities such as water sports, camping, baseball and playing pool”….SO WHAT? Sounds like he's looking for a companion, not a girlfriend. I mean, “Are you interesting?” Or how about this guy, who is looking for a soul mate – yikes: “I like the fresh air of the golf course and occasionally catching up with the latest cult movie.” Impressive, yes?
Wouldn’t it be easy if that was all it took, just to have things in common to find your one and only? It’s a very seductive idea, indeed, and one that many marriages are based on. But it’s certainly not, well...that simple. What happens when you life-partner gets bored, or sick, or has an allergic reaction to some shared common interest that was important in your relationship? Then what? What if as you both go through life, each of your values change; what was once considered a cornerstone of your connection becomes a source of strain - because, that value is now only important to one of you and is seen as a ridiculous by the other? What if, as all people do, we each become more true to who we are as we gain experience – which inevitably brings us to new outlooks and worldviews? That can be disastrous to a committed relationship. And often is. Even if the relationship survives this, it’s often because one of the partners has to shut up or because they have something more than we look for on dating websites.
Chemistry (the spontaneous reaction of individuals to each other, especially a mutual sense of attraction or understanding), is what I think is most important. And honestly, I’ve not figured out how to determine the intensity of this kind of connection without meeting the person in person, which is one reason I’ve not tried the dating sites. (The other reason is that I’m not sure I believe in coupling.)
Nevertheless, chemistry is a visceral thing that occurs between two people when they’re in the same room. There can be no love at first sight if you’re not in the same room…even if you’re on the same website.