If you are single and trying to figure out why you can't find a lasting love, you are not alone. So many of us wander from one promising relationship to another, ever hoping that this one will finally be "the one," only to be let down again. We need to have a look at the structure of our society for the answers as to why this is. According to Helen Fisher, Ph.D., the renowned relationship anthropologist, serial monogamy is the new normal. Most of us will have several significant relationships in our lives instead of just one. In our parents' generation, it was normal to marry once, now it is just as normal to not mate for life. To get what we want from our relationships, we may have to reexamine our relationship goals. Studies show that 90 percent of us will walk down the aisle in the quest for happily every after. No one ever plans to end in divorce and yet, 50 percent do. We have ideas of what our unions should be like and reality seldom measures up. Marriage expert, Stephanie Coontz, says that relationships have changed more in the last 30 years than in the previous 3,000. Why? Our expectations. We have never expected more from our partners than we do right now. In the 1960's, researchers asked co-eds, "If you met a man who met all of your criteria for a mate but you did not love him, would you marry him?" Believe it or not, 70 percent said yes. Compare that to a more recent study out of Rutgers University that asked a bunch of twenty somethings to agree or disagree with the following statement: "When you marry, you want your spouse to be your soulmate first and foremost." 94 perfect agreed with the statement! We apparently aren't just looking for someone, we are looking for THE one. Marriage used to provide social status and financial security but now this isn't our aim as we are getting those things ourselves, beforehand. We want a relationship that has it all. We want a sexy, smoldering, soul connection that will help us realize our potential. We want a best friend and a confidante. We want an intellectual companion. It isn't a bad thing to have these expectations. They drive us forward as people and give us the impetus to grow and improve ourselves. We improve ourselves so that we can be the kind of person who can attract the sort of relationship we are seeking. We learn to communicate better, so we can repair cracks in relationships. We are striving to learn how to love another person outside of our own selfish motives. We are also more willing, than any generation before, to release relationships that are poisonous and toxic to our being. We free ourselves up to move forward with open and available hearts. Whether or not you find "the one," or find a series of "ones," take comfort in the fact that the hope and the search has moved us into a space where we are able to see greater possibilities for ourselves and move towards living happy, healthy, self-expressed lives.
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infeday March 17, 2021