The Dealt Hand
There is a certain fact of love that works silently to set up romance without Cupid’s consent. It’s the whole proximity effect. We grow comfortable with the people who are around us. We fall in love with those who are around us. We marry someone from those who are around us. In other words, few people go out of their way to know people hundreds of miles/kilometers away just to find a friendship, let alone love.
Because we tend to gravitate to what’s available around us, there is a degree of fate that is at play. The lotto of love is heavily influenced by the types of people we grow up with or spend time with.
Those who date very intentionally know this. Those who just follow their heart may miss this subtlety. Fate, therefore, does play a hand in who we date, who we love, and how our lives unfold in the romance department. That is not entirely bad. In this digitally connected world, this does not have to be the only way we go about finding and keeping love.
this blog post inspired by a quote from Les Brown:
”Just because Fate doesn’t deal you the right cards, it doesn’t mean you should give up. It just means you have to play the cards you get to their maximum potential” – Les Brown
Thanks to having a smart computer in our pockets, maximizing our potential is usually just a tap way, if we know where to tap and what to tap.
In elementary all the way through college, we dated those who went to our schools or someone from a rival school we were able to keep in touch with. I’ve not really heard of anyone traveling to other states just to find a girlfriend or boyfriend. It is in school that the proximity effect is the most well understood.
We fall for the girl in chemistry class or the boy in math class or the person who made us feel the most comfortable while others tormented us. It’s quite elementary indeed to understand why we fall for who we fall with.
In fact, humans are so well wired socially, it is in our best interested to stick with those we know. That is why groups of people tend to think a lot alike and do a lot of the same things. It’s a means of survival and keeping the group safe while allowing the individuals to thrive.
Then came the internet. We can connect with anyone around the world. Dating options have grown exponentially. Layer social media on top of this, and the temptation of options grows logarithmically. We have too many options. Yet, we tend to still gravitate to what’s proximal and safe.
Which brings back the quote that is inspiring this post. Fate doesn’t always gift us the best group of people to evolve with. Not all social groups are created equal and with the same opportunities. In the area where this blogger lives, the ratio of men to women is so skewed that it is mathematically impossible for every woman to find a suitable date. 22:1 is not great odds. In other areas, the ratio is favored in the other direction 5:1 ensuring that most men will not find a suitable date.
(this is assuming unrealistically that every person is compatible with everyone else and that everyone who can date will date… obviously the minute you factor in taste and preferences, the odds get significantly worse)
Working with the cards handed to a dating person, they have to network and increase their odds by being willing to move and find options where options may be. In the old fashion way of thinking, guys have to be willing to get up and move about different social networks to find the woman who is most compatible with them. In the post modern world, women are already doing this.
Don’t settle for just anyone. The planet has nearly seven billion people. Know your worth and find one who is most compatible with you. This will increase your odds of finding love that works for you.
In a way, this kind of reminds this writer of a person who supports arranged marriages… their philosophy favors the village working together to find the best suitable mate… no matter where they live. A lot of these relationships did very well, just like a lot of them didn’t.
However, before we judge, keep in mind that this Western view of love first then relationship afterward has a much higher risk of divorce. (over simplifying many variables knowingly to make the point)
In the realm of long term committed relationships, the discussion of marriage will eventually come up. Some people are able to progress nicely through and find marital satisfaction. Others decide that marriage is not for them and don’t move forward.
It has happened to some to find themselves in a relationship where their partner wants marriage and they don’t… or vice versa. These are very difficult cards to have to play and handle.
While this blog totally supports marriage, let’s be sincere, not everyone will end up married… independent of their desires. For those who have to deal with the cards of being perpetually engaged with no marriage in sight (fancy way of saying long term committed relationship) there are things one can do to optimize their potential.
Having frank open honest discussions about the definition of long term commitment is a fair starting point. Transitioning away from living as roommates and more like married partners will help increase the odds of this relationship lasting the distance. The same conversation must take place when a long term live-in relationship transitions to a marriage relationship.
The way one manages resources, time, emotions, and interests is different when you’re living together for ever instead of just dating. It’s different when you’re long term committed but not living together… as well. It’s not a casual setup. It’s got serious emotional ramifications.
While this blog is very optimistic that a relationship can transition to marriage when handled right, it is not oblivious to two facts. First, not all relationships should transition to marriage… let alone be long term. Second, not all people who enter marriage or long term relationships should be together… let alone stay together.
Now… let’s turn our attention to the style of romance that is getting a lot of bad press of late… marriage.