So many persons are looking for a partner, romantic, sexual or otherwise, but so few seem to be connecting. I’ve been trying to figure out the reason for this and while I have some theories, they’re purely opinion based since I’ve been out of the milieu for a while and I can only speculate at this time until I head back out there. So far, I’ve observed a few things:
For those of us with previous relationships that ended badly, the reality of starting over, getting to know someone, building trust and making ourselves vulnerable seems like a risk that may not always be worth the reward. Pain memory is a very real thing and the resulting reflexes may cause us to recoil in the face of anything that feels like it’s leading us back to the trauma we previously survived, some of us, just barely.
Generations past placed a strong emphasis on coupling up. For social, cultural, economic and/or personal reasons, value was placed on finding and securing a partner as soon as biologically possible. However, paradigm changes have made it easier for persons, especially women, to survive on our own, provide for ourselves and maintain independence. Technological changes have even made it easier to achieve sexual pleasure. Persons can take more time to focus on personal and professional development in the form of growing wealth, acquiring assets and cementing their financial security instead of finding a partner to share these things with. A partner is no longer required to supplement income, intellect or assets.
Classism, colourism and racism have been trying to restore borders that various groups have spent decades trying to dismantle. While personal preferences should always play a part in the selection of a mate, the resurgence of these isms has restricted the pool of potential partners as borders close and preferences tighten. Photography filters and makeup have further normalized and apotheosized a specific set of features (especially Eurocentric), and body type (typically Afrocentric) and ideas and ideals of beauty have been influenced by the extensive use of them. The focus has shifted to women who naturally have those features – which is by no means the bulk of the female population – and has created industries geared towards reshaping, recolouring and remaking women to create the illusion of perfection.
We’re not so social anymore. The DM and IM have replaced the casual dinner or drink and opportunities to truly get to know people on an intimate level diminish as our desire for face-to-face and physical contact is replaced by the ease of texting and sexting. Dating culture has given way to hook up culture and even that seems to be fading as unsatisfactory casual sex and the increased risk of STIs prove deterrent.
Monogamy is unnatural. Polyamory creates problems in relationships. You have to be wealthy before you get married. Broken people shouldn’t try to engage in relationships. Single life is great! Men are from here, women are from there and ne’er the twain shall meet. Everyone is an expert and there are whole genres of literature aimed at telling people who they are and how they should function in relationships – what to say, how to say it, who we should try to be with, who is wrong for us, how long relationships should last and on and on and on and everything contradicts something else and people are just a confused mess walking around carrying the weight of someone else’s opinion of how they should act in a relationship and leading with ‘facts’ from ‘experts’ while hardly ever taking the time to get to know themselves for who they are and not who society tells them to be.
At a time when privacy is at a premium and we share and overshare on social media, there’s a serious dearth of communication in relationships. It’s nothing new. If you’ve ever listened to the Pina Colada song you get a good idea of what it’s like to be in a relationship and not know your partner’s likes, dislikes, needs or expectations. There seems to be too much of that. Sex isn’t the only intimacy that relationships need. Keeping secrets, suppressing emotions, telling everyone else except your partner how you feel about the relationship, not regularly and honestly assessing the state of the relationship in order to determine if you’re where you want to be and going where you want to be going and most importantly going there together, are some of the intimacy issues that need to be addressed if longevity is your goal.
With all these issues flying around, there are people who still want to date, who are seeking partners, who want to procreate and have companionship and find love. We have issues and baggage to unpack. Some, probably most of us are by no means attractive by the current conventional standards that require perfection. Eventually, I’m going to try to break down all these into individual blog posts. Some of the issues I’ve had real life experience with and can already speak with some amount of certainty. I’ll tackle those first. Hopefully when I start dating again and can speak from personal experience, I can more wholly delve into all the factors rather than from just reading and observation. Wish me luck!