We are all born idiots in the game of love, but over time and with clumsy experience, we start to learn what works. I've had plenty of clumsy experience, but am now happily married so I guess I must have done something right. Here's what I've learnt from personal experience and from observing others.
What is love?
It's a question that's been asked throughout the ages. Many answers have been offered, and you can choose those which suit you. I think that there are some things we can all agree on, however.
At some point when we're growing up, a desire grows within us to be in a relationship with someone else. Sometimes these feelings get mixed up with sexual desire, but often at their base is the need to find a significant other. This desire is usually very strong, and can overwhelm our rational mind, causing us to behave in ways that can be confusing, painful and sometimes downright embarrassing.
Usually, we channel that desire towards one particular person at any time. That person may change, sometimes even over short periods. But when the desire has us in its grip it is usually concentrated on one particular individual at any one moment. This can form into a crush, obsession and even a life-long love.
In the early days of our desire's focus on an individual, it is usually the overwhelming force within us, rather than the particular person that grips us so strongly. Most of us realise that when we look back on someone we have been obsessed with in the past and wonder "how did I ever feel so strongly about that person?". With a bit of thought, we realise that it was the idea of being in love with them that we were in love with, rather than the person themselves. It is with the time a relationship has to grow that we truly start to separate real love from these types of desire.
It is when two people, who are the focus of each others desire, come together under the right circumstances, that a good lasting relationship is formed.
It's very rare to hit it off with someone
Sometimes, love seems to be all around us. On every corner there's a happy couple and everyone we know seems to be pairing up. But in fact, compared to the number of possible partners we meet, the proportion that we get involved with are very low. For every hundred encounters between potential partners - that is both people being single at the lowest common denominator - less than one probably results in a relationship. Even when all the factors are right - both are available and attracted to each other - it's common for something to go wrong.
In order for a good lasting relationship to exist, these are just some of the many factors that have to match up:
- They have to desire you.
- You have to desire them.
- You both have to have an opportunity to hook up.
- Someone has to make the first move.
- Neither of you must do anything to turn off the other person in the dangerous early days.
- You must be emotionally compatible.
- You both must be willing to make a commitment to a long relationship.
- Neither of you must do anything to ruin that relationship once formed.
As you can see, the chances of all the above falling into place are pretty slim. Of all the people you meet who you could potentially form a relationship with, only a tiny fraction will ever become something meaningful.
That does not, however, mean it will be impossible or even unlikely for you to find love.
How to find your significant other
Love is a difficult thing to look at rationally, but if you want to improve your chances, you must do so.
Movies and songs sell us on the idea of there being only one perfect person out there for you and love at first sight. Such things may exist, but you're going to do a lot of searching if only one person on the planet is the right one for you! If this was true of everyone, the human race would soon die out. Instead, be content with the fact that there's probably someone you can have a long, loving relationship with not too far away.
Like many things, forming a good relationship can be treated as a numbers game. If you are single and looking for a companion, there's a good probability that you'll have to meet a lot of people before you settle on someone. You may be lucky and bump into that special person straight away, or you may be unlucky and have to meet more people than average. But the more potential partners you meet, the more quickly you'll find the right one for you.
So get out there and start meeting people!
If you're looking for suggestions on how to do so, here are some below:
- On-line dating sites.
- Classes, schools and courses. These may vary from an short course on cooking, to a university degree program.
- Social clubs.
- Sporting clubs.
- Charity organisations.
- Friend's parties.
- Choosing to live in accommodation where other singles are.
In all of these, you should choose somewhere you're likely to meet more of the type of person you're interested in. If you're a man looking for a woman, a dance class may be a good choice. If you're a woman looking for a creative man, a multimedia class may be for you.
The main thing is to get out there and start meeting people. The more you meet, the quicker you'll meet someone for you.
In a future piece, I'll look at more ways to improve your chances.