The ambiguity of modern love
a psychological view
Let me fly and I will be your guarding angel! Let me explore and I will be your guide! Let me go and I will come back! Let me blossom and you will be my garden. Let me taste and I will be your heaven. Because this is what I need, an emotional rollercoaster, a challenge to learn to love you, not in a suffocating way, but one of free will.
Dating today is like a slot machine (especially when going online), it has a very addictive character to it too. Where coupling is very scrutinized, there is a hyperbolic many amount of choice; it is harder to find a suitable partner in a world full of losers, chads, players, crazy and of course healthy kind of people. On top of this, there is a lot of social indoctrinations which adds to the drama. It does not matter if society changes dramatically with each day or does not change for generations, the underlying psychology stays the same.
Let’s view dating without societal distractions of what should or should not and see the beauty of two people finding each other in their true sense. Two worlds, so similar that they cross many paths, an inspiration for the other to love. To really love.
The modern world of dating
In the pursue of love, there is a certain need that wants to be filled — a sense of affiliation, empowerment and inspiration. The modern dating scene has dramatically changed the last few decades. The advise from that time is pretty useless.
“The modern-day situation that’s trending is something I like to call ‘intermediate dating’. It’s that thing where you’re not sure if you’re best friends, sex-buddies, boyfriend/girlfriend, or enemies with a person who you interact with regularly. How can we genuinely not be able to identify what we are with someone else? If you spend significant amounts of time together, and your time apart is full of interaction via cell phone — isn’t it safe to say that you’re with each other? Or does it not count because it was never officially discussed? Yeah, it probably doesn’t count. I mean, if you don’t even have an anniversary date, how can it be a legitimate relationship? I don’t know, and in all likelihood, the parties involved don’t have a clue either. Sadly, this is a stressful scenario that many are tangled up in today.” — Thought catalog, by Mark
In today’s world where we are hurt from left and right, we are afraid to commit, we protect ourselves by jokes to stave off compliments, affection or the professing of feelings. Each joke serves as a bouncer at the door of our heart. Many do not want to be serious, let alone to be honest. Because these things are scary.
One will discover, that when they open as much, on intimacy, can only receive as much intimacy. When one can distance his own feelings from himself and is able to give himself freely. This is transformed in emotionally connecting with someone, understanding what the other person is saying and wanting. What are the intentions and do they bow well with whom you date? One will discover how much easier it is to connect and be loved by others when you yourself connect easily.
It’s the internal process we go trough from one of the most important thing, to feel the feels. The emotional resonance you have with yourself first and then the person next to you. Or to put it in another way, how able you are to spark a connection with another human being. How well do you align with the wants and needs of the other person, without giving in and giving away your power.
Dating should be about how emotionally we talk with the other person. How well our demons sing along with their demons. If not so, it will be a fast ride to emotional hell if the dated partner becomes your playmate.
But the modern world of dating is not as straightforward as it seems. More and more people have expectations, build in by social media, by bad and good experiences and wonder why they do not get the real deal?! In this modern world of dating, it’s often the most genuine people who are smashed, because who do not fit the mold of perfection and do not pretend to be one. While the players, those who are good in their game, are putting a nice show of delusion, have the most success.
On top of this, more and more people feel entitled in who we are. There are multiple contributors to this feeling of being the most special and unique and I deserve everything. This includes the hyperbolic unlimited amount of people to date with, without emotionally investing in someone and being there when the person most needs it.
“Humans, in short, are neither solely monogamous, nor solely promiscuous; neither polygynous nor polyandrous. Which strategies from the menu a particular person chooses is heavily dependent on circumstances. These include the sex ratio in the mating pool (i.e., the ratio of males to females), a person’s mate value, and even prevailing cultural norms (Buss, 2004).” — Strategies of Human Mating — David M. Buss
In order to have more genuine connections, we need to throw away our idea of how a relationship should look, who the other should act like and stop believing in people who play mind games. For that, a lot is asked, to be real and not be fake… for god’s sake understand your feelings and where they come from.
Deep inside, based on evolutionary psychology over the globe, men and women tend to search for the same clues in a partner, be it long or short term mating, despite what others might say. I am talking about the raw, physical, attraction cues self.
“Despite these cultural variations and universal commonalities, women and men differed across the globe on their desire for some qualities, precisely as predicted in advance by the evolutionary hypotheses. Women, significantly more than men, desired “good financial prospect”. Women also tended to value qualities that are known to be linked to resource acquisition, such as ambition, industriousness, social status, and somewhat older age.
Men, significantly more than women, desired partners who are “good looking” and “physically attractive”. Physical appearance, as voluminous research has shown, provides a wealth of cues to a woman’s health, fertility, and reproductive value. Contrary to long-held beliefs among social scientists, standards of beauty are not arbitrary or infinitely culturally variable. Evolutionary psychology provides a powerful theory for the evolution of standards of beauty — whatever observable cues are linked with fertility (immediate probability of conception) or reproductive value (future reproductive potential) will evolve to become part what humans find attractive in female. These include cues to youth, such as full lips, smooth skin, lustrous hair, and a low ratio of hips to waist (WHR). They also include cues to health, such as clear skin, absence of sores, white teeth, and symmetrical features…
In addition, men appear to lower their standards dramatically [contrary to women] in the context of short-term mating (Buss & Schmitt, 1993)” — Strategies of Human Mating — David M. Buss
This all is covered under a layer we call our own perception, we can enhance the perception that others have of us, with our personality and circumstances. This mixture of emotions and perceptions come to reality by ignition of different of the right emotions done well which results in successful mating each other.
That first ignition of seeing someone, that holds your attention span longer then normal, when there is something about that person that is interesting, delightful and an attractive style or aura around them and no, the physical features only are not everything. Attraction is for a huge part emotional.
After you start to talk to them you soon discover how well-spoken, intelligent and powerful they are; the positive humor they have, the enthusiasm to see you, the decisiveness with what they speak and the way of their gesticulations. In general, this person is enjoying themselves. These persons follow their dreams and live a full live, these people are honest in their wants and needs.
The way people start a conversation reveals something about their personality. In the beginning it’s about increasing interest, building attraction and report. You can do that be asking a favor (can you please hold the door, for example), making a statement (nice shoes), or just plainly asking a question.
Depending on your goal, you can aim for a bond or building excitement. Bonding is done by sharing personal believes and feelings on issues you and the other person care about. Anything, that is deep, thoughtful and future oriented. By doing a lot of self-disclose. Building excitement is done by talking about the very present, it’s talking about the current mood of things (recent activities, experiences, how things feel, taste, sound, smell and look). Overtly sexual or empty compliments should be off the table. A good opener is lighthearted and witty, edginess helps to be remembered.
We should aim for durable emotional fulfilment instead of trying to satisfy our vein desires without a direction and responsibility. For a sustainable relationships and society we need to have our own experiences that form us, ideas what we stand for, and this makes us powerful and attractive. When we do so, we will know with whom to connect. We seek beauty, a glimpse of god in the other person. We seek inspiration, an expansion of the self. In today’s society we call this platonic love, the opposite of appetite, the utility of filling a short-term need.
Sexual desire and passion gives us the choice for adoration, love or appetite. When we just want to fill up our shallow appetite, of which our culture is fueled upon, we will be left empty, a mere echo of what we wanted. A life well-lived is one of adoration that will inspire us to be greater than ourselves.
Comfort and Trust
After the initial attraction is established, comfort and trust is build trough dates and a lot of talking. The feeling good and comfortable around this person and the feeling of being valued, special and the ‘you have finally found someone who understands your world’ kind of feeling, a feeling of home. This is what we call comfort and a foundation where trust can be build.
We should remember, a dusted thought, that a relationship, a fulfilling relationship, is about working towards becoming the best mates, to help each other out, like grocery shopping or cooking. It is not just about Netflix and chill. We have to work to make a relationship work and have the desire to really know the other person. Not just excepting that the other person does it all. Friendship is the skeleton of a relationship. As a society we need to leave the entitlement and wanting to be given, just all by itself. A relationship needs discipline to make it work. In a world of individualism and selfish self love, this poisonous mentality will lead to rubbing each other to death.
Our aim should be not be overtly nice either when we like someone, without any real social interaction. This comes over as unreal, be as nice as the relationship develops. But we should work on being more positive, outgoing, stable and open to new experiences. Also, focus on honesty, working hard, respecting others, and use your positive talents always.
After the comfort is built, we have a good report, we can spice things up to avoid being boring. It is by going into topics you otherwise didn’t dare to talk about, it is by doing things with each other you were you otherwise would maybe be afraid to lose face, but you know that the other is as a freak, crazy being as you and that your demons sing well together, so you can express your inner most being and the other will be thankful for it. There is no limitation when two people feel a passion for each other. Only, and only when enough trust in each other is build, this can happen within a few hours, days, weeks or months. Be there with that special one.
For a long lasting relationship there is a tension between platonic and sexual fuel that both needs to be healthy. These need to have a good harmony to keep you hooked, but most importantly a devotion from both parties is what keeps the relationship alive, even after the initial phase of novelty disappears.
We tend to be attracted to people who inspire us or who we look up to in a certain way. This does not immediately lead to love, but means a host of other things that need to be taken into account, like commitment. One night stands, on the other hand, are when we feel attracted to the other person, but do not want to commit (yet) and when we do not really care about the other, but we just want a fling. We should, in my opinion, seek for durable relationships and durable lifestyles. One night stands will not help you with that. To put numbers to it, only one in three women enjoy a one night stand and one of two men found it enjoyable and do not regret doing it.
When you would like to have a life full of love and seeking inspiration, instead of just mutual lust, that is when love should be contemplated and not possessed. Love should be an inspiration and not something we can command on our own will. Yes, we can hire a sheep boy, a host, a stripper, a hooker, or a cuddler, but is this not the same as the real one, only to some extend.
In order to live a well-lived life, one should know what his/her needs are and how (s)he can fulfil this and the needs of the other person, in a seductive way, that keeps the relationship alive. It’s building a constant liking with the other person, one that is impossible to fake.
Giacomo Casanova, the rebel, the traveller, famous for his love life, knew what seduction was. He courted someone for months until that person from not liking to liking him, started to be turned on by him. It’s filling an unmet need in a way, that has not been filled in such a way. This filling is done with the art of how to do so. The art of loving.
What we really crave
In our world, we are prone to go after glamour. Longing what is unreachable. We go after the handsome, stylish someone with good manners, not hell damned crazy people. The one, with a lot of social value and/or the beautiful hot ones. Yes, it adds to the package.
We want every encounter to be special, different and hard to reach (be it emotionally or physical). We want to be chased, desired, being respected and important at the same time. As Dita Von Teese (a famous stripper) said it: “It’s creating, weaving a web of magic”. All the impulses in today’s lifestyle burn our attention spans to a dry dessert. It certainly is glamorous, but this is not what we really crave for in the end. It is not about what the next new thing will be. We need an impulse for that rush, or we are bored to death.
When we talk about relationships, it’s something that comes from two sides. Each one is searching something in the other. Culture, norms and our upbringing influence what we desire, but when we go deep and start to engage with our real psyche for mating, then our ancient unchanged inherited structure of our psyche comes to the surface, one of them being procreation, to keep spinning life ahead.
“…research actually shows that personality trait compatibility does not play a major role in the eventual happiness of couples. What really matters are how the couple will grow and change over time; how they will deal with adversity and relationship conflicts; and the specific dynamics of their interactions with one another — none of which can be measured via personality tests.” — excerpt from Psychologytoday, by Gwendolyn Seidman Ph.D.
For heterosexual men, the thing they want the most is not even sex, but a safe harbor, a woman who understands them and care about them. In a world full of competition, one could say that we are looking for a kind of an emotional home. Yes, a lot is through sex when a man comes into that place emotionally. That is when a wonderful world opens, when he enters, a place where he can let down his guards, on the top of the hill, under the sun shine of acceptance. But in a society as this, men are not encouraged to show their vulnerable self, where she pets him on his head, while he is in her arms. This would look as if he is weak, as if he is unable to be sturdy. The reality is that an emotional mature man is able to show emotions. It takes a lot to show your vulnerable self, you are strong if you are able to do so.
The needs and desires of women, on the other hand, are not met either. Her desire is that he has a direction in life, something she can look up to, adhere and follow. That she is desired, more than any other woman, that she is the most important to him, that she is protected in who she is. In contrast to a mad face where she is being hit by rage or being with a weak male, inapt to change his life and that of others for the better.
It is not so much about how popular or how rich the person is, how many achievement s(he) has, or what kind of lifestyle the person lives, but it is about how well two people can relate to each other. Who are you? Who do you want to attract? Males full of money, but without a soul? Whores that you can pump and dump? You will attract the people who are on the same frequency as you, with whom your inner being aligns.
One step further
After the raw attraction is established, emotional connection is build, there is also a psychological aspect, that what we spiritually want; the synergy we have with the other person. This is if the person is on the same frequency as yours.
After the psychical and emotional connection we come to a place of spirality (intellectual world, fantasy). The synergy we have with the other. Is this where attachment begins?
Attachment, however, is often more of a conscious choice. It is possible to “decide” who to share a home with, how to divide parental duties, and pick someone particular based on safety criteria. Therefore, attachment decisions are often more greatly influenced by social norms and cultural practices. Think of the “wish list” some have for the perfect partner.
Like attracts like, the synergy. If you are dating, for example, business people, and you are intrigued by them, then you are far more likely to attract business people too in the future. It’s the emotional bond that you build. It is the emotional world that is mutual. If you dated business people in the past, then it is far more likely that you can attract a business person too than before. You are familiar and know how to speak and act in that world. Each emotional world has its own attraction points, within the larger frame of culture and norms of society. Let’s start to know your people and adhere to it for maximum success.
Plus, not giving in to courting too fast can be a good thing to form a better bond and save us from disastrous drama with the person we just met.
The most important thing while going on dates is the search for inspiration, that spark, that connection you have with the other person. Do not follow an arbitrary list of what you want, do not look for who is the hottest. When you find one with whom you find the ignition of energy, the joy, be it short or long term, indulge in it fully. You won’t regret it.
A few tips as a take away for dating:
- don’t be hard on yourself when dating (of what you do wrong),
- it mostly is about having a good time,
- take it easy (in the first couple of dates you should not even think if this will be serious or not),
- flirt with people you like, and of course with your dates,
- have multiple dates, and let’s see where there is a click, real one,
- learn what makes people tick, even if that is very minimal (that is probably also the reason why you read this article), so you know peoples motives better,
- be emotionally adaptable and present, connect with people on an emotional level,
- be socially adaptable to the people surrounding you, know the ethics,
- be well written (you are actually living a full life and experience stuff),
- be laid back in your attitude,
- finally, look for a person who is on the same journey as yours (when taking it to a more serious level of commitment).
Once you understand the dating matrix, you understand everything in social relationships too.
In the end, it’s about two potential people coupling up for a long or short term relationship. They learn and grow from each other and have similar goals, where one can support the other. Our goal is durability and inspirational relationships and not the search for novelty where the other person is something you can dispose.
One last thing: as it is with everything, you do not know how to trust, but time will tell and try to be vulnerable, but not too much at a time, but slowly, step by step.