Love American Style, by Will Saunders
No, this isn’t about that old 1970s TV show, though some auspices of the vignettes on that show could pertain to this writing. These are just a few random musings on my mind today related to love, dating, and relationships.The heart loves to play tricks on us. When you’re not interested in anyone at all, no one is out there who’s interested in you. But as soon as you find someone who catches your attention, that’s when other people become interested in you. It’s funny how that happens.
A. One of the things that I believe complicates matters of the heart is when someone isn’t ready to commit, and they want to date other people. That never worked for me. Frankly, I think it’s hard to get to know someone when you divide your time between more than one person, especially if one of them is someone who you really like. A lot. Furthermore, I don’t think we ought to compare people like we’re car shopping trying to see which one is better. People are so unique and fluid. Comparing people in dating situations sort of demeans the experience, if you ask me. But that’s what I notice people do at times. Just know if you date me, you’re the only one I’ll be dating even if we haven’t discussed dating one another exclusively. I can’t spread myself around that way. It’s far too encumbering. What happens if you start to fall for both people simultaneously? That can be an entire blog topic by itself. Do you say, “Eenie meenie miney mo.” to help you decide? I wonder. No thanks. I’m not about that life.
B. Choosing the right person is paramount, not based on the superficial things that many of us use to choose our mates but rather, based on those innate and inner and unseen things not visible to the naked eye. Additionally, both people should always be and should always give precisely what they want. This concept reminds me of that old Buddhist principle. Paraphrased, it goes something like this: Life is cyclical and everything we give out comes back to us tenfold; so if everyone would give out that which they seek, then everyone’s needs would be met. It’s sort of like modeling, also referred to as observational learning, which entails persons who model desired behavior or language. Basically, modeling is the process of learning through watching others, retaining the information, and then later replicating the observed behaviors. The goal is to attempt to get a particular behavior, thought, or attitude from others by demonstrating what it is you expect from them – assuming you are with the right person. That’s why it’s important to choose wisely.
C. The biggest challenge I see with some people is their discomfort with being single, and they rush into a new relationship before they figure out if it’s a good match. People jokingly talk about how the best way to get over your old love is to get a new one. Well I don’t believe in that. You need time to do a personal inventory, regroup and do some introspection. Some people call it soul-searching. Whatever you call it, you need to do it. A lot of people harp on the wretched person their ex was in the relationship.
D. When it comes to dating someone new, people should be sure to take time getting to know each other gradually and nurture one another over time. They should make it a slow cooker love affair and not a microwave love affair. That’s why I am a huge advocate for dating from among your friendship pool. You know each other well, you have each other’s best interest at heart, you already have a mutual level of respect and adoration for one another, and you are more likely to have a fair fight. I have found that dating friends was far more rewarding and meaningful than trying to get to know a stranger. When dating strangers, more often than not, I find them to be even stranger once I really get to know them, for they’re always hiding so much about themselves. Dating your friends is better because you know about many of each other’s idiosyncrasies and you still want to hang out anyway. My boy John Doe knows I’m weird AF but he’s alright with it. How cool is that? Why don’t people embrace the concept of dating their friends? Some will say it’s because they cherish the friendship too much and do not want to impair it. I’ve had people tell me that. But, it seems to me if you date and it doesn’t work out, the friendship won’t be hampered if it was a true friendship to begin with.
E. The other problem I see is people don’t court each other. They meet and instantly they formulate an opinion before they take time to share and get to know one another. Furthermore, some people are stuck on a preconceived idea they have in their head about what dating and what true love is supposed to be like. Perhaps they had bad modeling. If you grew up without loving relationships around you – relationships that were unhealthy, you might use those examples to dictate how you think all relationships ought to be. Some people may not even realize that those examples are not healthy, and they end up in a cycle of one bad relationship after another and they have no idea why.
F. The internet and social media contribute greatly to this ‘non dating’ phenomenon. People formulate opinions based on what someone appears to be online, or they conduct a background check online before they ever get to know you. The really bad thing is, if you have a common name, they might dig up something on another person believing that it’s you without ever communicating with you. I know two people named Keith Jones. I also know two people named Robert Jones. The irony is both Keiths and both Roberts are a Jr. Can you imagine doing a background check on a Robert Jones, Jr. or a Keith Jones, Jr.? I’m sure there are thousands of people with those names. Believe it or not, one of my Facebook friends is named Will Saunders. The UPS man who delivered a package to me one day was also named Will Saunders. There’s an IT guy at work with my name. I get lots of his phone calls. People call me and start telling me about how their computer froze up or how they cannot connect to the network before they realize that I’m not the correct person to fix their problem. You can’t get to know someone wholly unless you spend time with them. Your best bet is to hang out and get to know people over time rather than searching them online. Besides, a background check is pointless anyhow, because (1) you’re only going to find things for which there is a record; and most importantly, (2) a background check means its information from someone’s past and not necessarily a reflection of how they currently live their lives. After all, we all have skeletons in our closets now, don’t we? We have to be careful about judging someone for the present when the behavior is in the past.
G. Technology certainly has changed the field of dating. With all the online profiles, that further diminishes the opportunity to communicate one-on-one. People used to talk and share meaningful times, getting to know one another. Much of that is now lost. The oddity for me is that we’re connected to people on multiple social media sites. As I scroll down the list of each one I belong to, I am connected to many of the same people across different sites. How many different sites should we join only to chat it up with the same people?
H. The last point pertains to situations in which interest is just one-sided – something we may sometimes call unrequited love. That’s a pain in the ass. It is worse when they will say they just want to remain friends yet many of them will often pull away and eventually stop calling and texting. They just finished saying how they adore you as a friend and don’t want dating to ruin it, but they suddenly begin to vanish. Why is that? Why don’t people want to nurture genuine friendships? Who knows?
I. The dating game is definitely game and the rules are always changing. It makes some people not want to bother, choosing to be single. If that’s you, then fine. Nothing wrong with that. But please don’t give off that “Woe is me, I’m single.” bad attitude the way some people do. Be single and embrace it without complaints, and if you don’t want to be single anymore, do more than walk around moping about it. That will only attract the wrong kind of negativity that you may not want in your life. Just remember to work on the man in your mirror, and you’ll be alright.
“A fickle heart is the only constant in this world.” ~ From the movie, Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)