What Kind of Love Do We Look For?

For many of my readers out there, you too have experienced the cold and rainy days that have plagued the west coast these last few weeks. I for one have been a bit confused as to how to pass the time with the sun not shining down on me. Then I remembered a favorite past time of mine that unfortunately, I have neglected since entering adulthood and trying to navigate this crazy work force: reading! I know, I probably just reminded some of you too of how much you miss that. You’re welcome. Good news- my blog comes with a book recommendation so you can get you back into the groove for 2017.

I started reading Modern Romance by comedian Aziz Ansari because, at this point in my life, and in my career, technology and relationships have become an area of conflict, confusion, and endless opportunities. Through this “research,” my goal is to have a better understanding of how we as young adults have gotten to this place of swipe right, swipe left, likes, comments, and how we can use that awareness to our advantage in the future. 

But now, here is my question. I believe we are all on a path of seeking love, validation, and acceptance in one way or another- whether it is from a family member, friend, or romantic partner. The tricky thing is at this point are we expecting our “person,” significant other, or spouse to be all of those things? In Modern Romance, Ansari quotes psychotherapist, Esther Perel, who explains,

“Marriage [used to be] an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and success and companionship. But now we want our partner to give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give be belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise.”

Kind of a lot, right guys?! It truly is way more pressure than previous generations have placed on their companions and I’m not saying it is a bad thing. It provides us with an opportunity to have a fulfilling and long-lasting relationship. However, in this world where we all have access to people 24/7, it can also create a sense of being completely overwhelmed.

For my visual learners out there, try Ansari’s metaphor on for size. “Today we want a bunch of doors as options and we are very cautious about which one we open. The emerging adulthood phase of life is basically a pass society gives you to hang out in the hallway and figure out what door is really right for you.”

So here you are, in this picture-esque setting and have thousands of options in front of you. Good news: you have options! Not so great news: you have options. So how do we navigate through this hallway? How do we get to the right door, let alone the right room? We have to know what we want- and then own it. Even if that means writing out a list of their characteristics, values, beliefs, and what their favorite coffee shop is, then do it! This will save you time in that hallway because you can open a door, do a quick look around and decide if you want to walk in, possibly stay there, or go running to the next one.

Knowing what you want, understanding how that person and room will make you feel, and putting that out to the world is one step in not only getting through this hallway but enjoying the journey as much as possible. Once we’re in the right place, we can decide what this room needs to offer, and what we can bring to it as well.

Until then, be intentional, be open, be curious, and be kind.

Right there with you,