Like many older couples, my parents are a product of an arranged-ish marriage. My dad got to pick out my mom and just like that they were married. The amazing thing is that somehow they have managed to make it work despite their stark differences and general outlook on life for 46 years and even with options I can’t even make it past the 3-month mark.
After reflecting upon my relationships, past and present, and talking to friends about theirs, I have come to realize that we have somehow become the generation that calculates the perfect partner. We do extensive research and judge them based on their previous partners, education, current job, social status, and their social media.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that these things aren’t important, but I’ve come to notice that most people judge people based on a standard that they cannot live up to themselves.
We’re the Nintendo generation who is searching endlessly like Mario hitting block after block looking for a one UP to reach our goals and fulfill our needs. We want the perfect partner, the person who is driven, ambitious, loving, caring, and giving yet are not willing to put in the effort ourselves.
We want it all without having to give.
We expect things to be handed to us on a silver platter and are obsessed with the idea of finding our instant soul mate when half of us don’t even know what we’re even looking for.
With the prevalence of dating apps that “promise” and advertise that your perfect someone is out there we find it hard to commit to anything. Instead, we seek pleasure and fill voids by engaging in short flings which have no base and no meaning.
We love when we’re lonely versus loving when we’re ready.
We have become the grass is always greener generation who is blinded by all of the false ideas slammed down our throats every day to see that the person we are so readily willing to give up may just be the “one.” Even then once we have found our person, we spend more time analyzing their faults rather than celebrating their beauty. We’re so high on the idea of instant gratification that we don’t take the time to get to know one another and understand the things that have shaped them from their past up until the present.
We’re so afraid of getting hurt, so scared of being labeled emotional, or kind because we’re too busy focused on appearing chill that we have programmed ourselves to feel nothing and above all turn off every instinct to love.
As an alternative, our cell phones and constant access to social media have come to serve as our little black book, our Rolodex, on which we can call upon to summon a companion instead of taking the time to get to know a person. We prefer the partner we do not have to invest in.
We have somehow lost sight of the fact that love isn’t easy, but rather it’s an active choice. You choose this person day in and day out despite their mistakes or their blemishes because they hold within them qualities, traits, and values that mean more to you than money, looks, clothes or their car.
Relationships that last are not founded solely on passionate love but also friendship yet we are the generation who chooses to chase the ones that are not built to last.
We’re all so quick to exclaim that romance doesn’t exist, yet we are so self-obsessed and self-centered that the idea of doing something for someone we care about or love without receiving something in return is just not an option. We have become the generation that only goes out of our way when it’s expected when real romance is doing it on the days when its least expected. Romance isn’t a fancy dinner, an expensive gift, a grandiose gesture; it’s about taking the time to show another person you’re invested in them. Whether it’s a handwritten note, a subtle kiss on the cheek or simply holding their hand romance lives in the spaces in between that we have lost sight of.
We have allowed our egos, our pride, our desire to be wanted, and our addiction to attention to flood any trace of romance we had ever known. We are aware we want it, and we fixate over the couples who show affection in the stories we read, the movies we watch, and on social media yet are unwilling to break away from all we’ve come to know and depend on. We see only the surface level and want that without understanding that what they have is achieved not only through love, romance, and commitment, but also a willingness to invest.
So are we doomed?
In my heart of hearts, I think not. Even in the midst of our mania with social media, and the ever increasing popularity of dating apps, and a society that encourages self-centered behavior we just have to take the time to invest the time we all claim we have so little of in others, put in the energy and extra effort to be more thoughtful, and be more understanding about the fact that that the person you are destined to be with is not just an algorithm you’ll be able to solve on the spot.
Then and only then will the romance and love you seek present itself to you in a way only you’ll be able to see.