When we treat dating like online comparison shopping we can miss out on the most important things.
In this age of internet dating, many people bring their comparison-shopping habits to the search for love.
It’s so easy to assume that someone better is just a click or a swipe away. Sure this one looks pretty good, nice eyes, good hair, not a bad job, but then you want to check out another site to see if you can find a better deal. Maybe there will be someone with more bells and whistles, bigger muscles, a stronger chin, or maybe a career with more upward mobility? Can you “trade-up” for someone smarter, richer, or better looking? When we treat human beings like the latest electronic gadget or a new pair of shoes, we can miss out on the most important thing, true human and deep soul connection.
This belief that something better is just around the corner, is often a defense against intimacy.
When you’ve been hurt before and are afraid of being hurt again, it’s easier to think of yourself as the one in control, the shopper who sees a potential partner as easily replaceable so you can remain on the look out for a better opportunity to come along. When someone is in this situation, they often have an exit strategy for their current relationship and are quick to end things before they’ve given the other person a fair chance.
But what if the person in front of you IS your person?
It is possible to find something wrong with any living human being. None of us are perfect. All of us can grown and improve. But if you refuse a potential mate because you wish they’d go to the gym and work on shrinking those love handles just a little more, or because it’d be nice if they didn’t have that way of snorting when they laugh uncontrollably at your jokes, you maybe nitpicking against your own best interest. You may also be blind to some of the subtle but very important qualities that a particular potential partner has.
What if the thing you are ready to criticize is actually something that makes this person endearing and unique?
Would you eventually come to love that snort-laugh and do anything to earn it? The way Stephen King did with his wife Tabitha? He once admitted in an interview that with anything he wrote, his highest goal was to make his wife, always his first reader, laugh so hard she snorted through her nose.
I sometimes wonder what would have happened if some of the great romantic couples of history and fiction would have viewed each other’s profiles and each judged the other based on that.
Would Mr. Rochester, a man of means, have swiped left or right on Jane Eyre, a lowly governess? Would Cleopatra, the last of the great Egyptian Pharos, have given Marc Antony, an invading Greek, a second glance if fate hadn’t thrown them together? Would Juliet have considered Romeo for a second if she knew his family name from the start? What if she’d never had the chance to speak to him and see him as the rose before she knew any other name?
This is not to dismiss the value of dating apps. They have helped so many to connect with like-minded individuals and find the lasting love they long for. The most important thing when it comes to using technology in the quest of love is to remember that there are real people behind those photos and words. People with lives and loves and challenges like you. Being too quick to dismiss someone based on criteria that doesn’t reflect the inner person and build toward a soul connection doesn’t serve you or your quest to find your soul mate.
Try stepping back for a bit. Stop scrolling and swiping.
Focus in on someone you like, someone you get a really good feeling from. Carefully read through the things they say. Get curious. Ask the kinds of questions that help you get to know them, without thinking about the next thing you are going to say. Don’t try to impress. Listen. Allow yourself to be surprised. Even delighted, if that should happen. Be open to all the possibilities that getting to know another person offers. Maybe they won’t be the right one, but if you never give them a chance, you’ll never know.