So lately several things have been happening around me that made me think in a more broad view; relationships. Yes, I recently posted about dating and relationships, but this one will be more about marriage, relationships and the way we are heading in the future with it. How did this come about? Well, I was talking with an old friend from grad school; who I learned got divorced sometime last year. In our chat, I learned more about what had happened which included tracking phones, stalking, threats and things along those lines. She’s doing okay now, but it just made me think of the guy whom I have met a few times before. I did get the sense he was a little jealous, but not to that extreme. Have you ever known someone who has had a crappy partner or maybe currently is with one?
A few weekends ago, I drove out of town and got together with some friends from grad school for a mini-reunion of sorts. Besides the usual “what have you been up to” discussions, we talked about relationships. There I learned another close friend’s marriage isn’t doing okay, and may go south. And one of my friends talked about another classmate getting divorced months after her marriage. Back here at home, for the past several months my best friend’s parents are going through a possible divorce due to infidelity (on her part). And one of my friend’s girlfriend’s parents are going to get divorced due to the father wanting to be with someone else he met. Along the way, I kept hearing from friends saying things like “don’t get married” or “it’s easier to stay single” and things of that nature. I attribute part of it to feelings of frustrations, while the other part to them honestly believing it. And over the weekend, as I was catching up on my Youtube videos, I came across comments which led me to other videos; videos about relationships and movements. By that I mean, the ones on mgtow and feminism topics.
I won’t delve into each, as I’ll let you research all about it, but I could not help but see the comments. Besides the ones I mentioned above, I saw so many from other men talking about staying single being the best choice to ever make. To not be trapped. Not be taken for a fool, and lose everything that you have. How life is so much better when you’re not tied down. And I look at those comments, and I’m like “really?”. Of course, the ladies can say the same as well. There’s terrible men, too, who are the antithesis of suitable partner. But as I skimmed through the comments, and remembering what my friends say as well, I think about what the alternative would look like.
That same friend, whose marriage is on the rocks, joked about her life if she became single again. It went along the lines of “I’m just going to be with someone for at most 5 years then move on to the next”. That sentiment is very common these days: moving on to the next. I once went to a seminar about financial success, and the speaker mentioned dating. I forget the context it was brought up for, but he ended up saying how dating someone is only done until we find someone better. It made the couples in the room a little uncomfortable, but it’s thoughts like that which has affected our mindset on relationships. That wonder of finding “the perfect match” which may include: very high-paying job, good height, amazing physical appearance, no drama and can be a master in bed. There are plenty of men and women who have that, or other things, as their bare minimum. And that’s the thing is that nowadays it feels so many have their bar way too high! No one is saying put it low, or settle, but if we all have it too high then no one hardly will ever reach it. And the same can be said about us ever reaching someone else’s bar.
Everyday we should strive to be a better person, and grow as we get older. We should be able to see and appreciate someone for who they are now, and also the potential of who they can become. Because if we don’t continue improving ourselves, you see that in relationships when at least one partner grows distant. And suddenly that bar that was once high falls much lower. Low to the point where money, looks, etc. may not be the focal point; all they want could be affection and someone who has the ability to listen to them. How did it all start? If we move past the gender movements, perhaps it’s the combination of two things. Granted, I do not know what society is like in other countries, but here in the U.S. we are definitely focused more on careers than family. Majority it seems, both my age and younger, want to establish the best paying/rewarding career they can get before saying “okay, I guess now I can find someone and maybe start a family”. Also that we should have fun now, because we won’t do that when we get older. That’s okay, except what we know about life is that it often doesn’t go the way we intended.
Although there’s plenty of people available at any age, the one’s most suitable for you are often gone by the time the career chasing ends, and by then your romance game probably needs some catching up. But sometimes timing can go in your favor, and you run into someone who was unavailable years ago now available at this moment. Timing also applies to having children. One of the sad truths no one likes to discuss is that there are way too many people on this planet. Yet we still reproduce, and some want to have kids of their own. Meanwhile others don’t ever want kids. Not necessarily because they hate kids, but maybe they know they won’t be a good fit for them. And sadly, some are unable to have children. Others often wait till they are in there 40’s to have kids; including freezing their eggs or sperm. Coming from experience of having parents who birthed you in their 40’s, I got to admit I would’ve preferred having younger parents. Everyone is different though, and some may have super active parents well into their 80’s. However, mine were not like that.
When you have older parents, they are going through their own midlife ordeals. They are busy working, while trying to resolve their future retirement and life plans. And if they’re like my folks, sometimes they are not so active and aren’t up to do things you enjoy. They certainly were not “hip” with today’s times, which also played part in my ability to appreciate older generation things like movies and music. But it’s not everyone, of course, but from experience I think it would be nice to have younger parents who can keep up. But I went on a tangent, now where was I? Ah, yes! So those who want to have kids and a family means committing to someone to get that started. Unfortunately, the second problem this day is technology and media helping change how we view relationships, marriage, and singlehood.
There was a time where friends used to poke fun at the one friend who’s still single, but now it feels like it’s the other way around. If you watch TV or movies, a lot of them are about relationships and dating. You have comedies about friends with benefits, dating someone who’s older and richer, and sleeping with people either to get over someone, get it out of your system, or to find your self. You have dramas about affairs, and regretting being with someone. All these, and more, are so common that we are used to it. It’s not to say it’s good or bad to do it, but that the shock-value is lost. It’s become normalized, and some of it accepted. Toss in the reports of divorce rates on the rise, and the younger generation leaving religion, and the photo looks clearer.
Earlier I asked what the alternative world would look like if we all simply stopped committing. Well the first thing to go is marriage; both in churches and in the state. I’ve had a few friends talk to me about why their boyfriends won’t commit to it, while guys will say “why do I need a piece of paper to prove I love them?”. Of course, it can go the other way too, but it is more common with men as perhaps some of them don’t want to pay for the ring or are afraid of divorcing and losing everything. If that’s the case, there is always a prenuptial agreement to protect assets. Now prenups usually are met with a look of shock; as if it’s a sign of distrust that it won’t work. I never saw it that way, rather an acknowledgment that people change over time. And should it end (on good terms) there should be no hard feelings that lead to wanting to take everything. But we are humans, and some simply want to make the other’s life a living hell. While prenups may be looked at more negatively, it seems like the idea of marriage is starting to get the same look as well.
And so, if marriage no longer becomes a thing in the future, we simply cohabitate with another. Gone are the titles of “husband” and “wife”, and hello to “boyfriend” and “girlfriend”. It’s the new norm, but it won’t last long because remember the trending thoughts and movements these days are that being single simply is better. Why live with someone if we’re going to be forced to change some? We can do what we want, we won’t get fatter, and can travel wherever if we’re single! And again, I’m like. . . “Really?”. I’ve said this numerous times in other posts, but it’s really all about finding yourself before finding someone else. Many people often settle for someone thinking they can tweak a few things about them to be more suitable. But if you want someone who’s an outdoorsy person, yet picks an indoor book person, chances are it won’t be easy to alter that habit. Same as someone who wants to travel, but finds someone who’s afraid of flying. Find someone who truly shares similar goals as you, and it’s astonishing how many of these arguments disappear.
Afraid to get fatter in a relationship? It wouldn’t be a fear if both live healthy lifestyles, or even go to the gym together. It’s no different than taking a friend when you’re single. Can travel anywhere when you’re single? Same thing, finding someone who loves travel, and you have a companion much like if you took a friend. So many of the arguments men and women make about why being single is better can easily have a counterpoint. I’m not advocating that everyone should be with someone or married, but I’m stating that we should stop trying to bring it down and kill it. Because the reality that’s trying to be painted by some TV shows, movies, media and people around us is that: no one should ever get married since it’s a trap, being single allows us to be strong and independent (Western thinking), there’s no worries about jealousy or affairs, kids can really hold you down, and you won’t waste money (we already waste it on other things).
The fear that is being showed to us is complacency and the possibility of having it all come crashing down. And that maybe the best way to live is to do our own thing, sleep with as many people as we want, and move on with no attachments; or if we stayed with someone it must be no more than a few months before any such attachments are made cause we’ll end up hurt. Can we possibly live in a world like this? I don’t think so, because that lifestyle in itself is complacency. We’ve seen so many stories of how people grow tired of the casual, that it’s much better having a connection with someone. So why are so many people still hitting their head on a rock? I’ve said this before, but we need companionship in some way. I look back on an old psychological study with baby monkeys. It was given two fake mothers: one made of wire and a bottle, and the other with no bottle but a warm furry coat. That baby monkey always choose the warm, furry mom because nurture was much more important to it.
In the end, we need companionship. Animals are great, but they can’t talk back to us when we’re going through tough times. Talking electronically is awesome, but they can’t give you a hug or support when needed. And having casual relationships may meet physical needs, but that’s it and even it’s not as powerful if it lacks that connection. They say we need daily interaction, and physical contact, several times a day but at the rate we’re going people will be so clammed up to want to be open to others even once. And we lose that love for others, where all we do now is just. . . exist. Believe it or not, no matter how often people want to talk bad about it, love exists. Sure, it may have not worked out that one, two, three, maybe more times. Yet people often blame the object (marriage, relationship, love) when maybe it was you or the other person. But more so, the environment you or that person grew up in and whether positive changes were made to make one a better partner.
Take me for example. A few years ago, I stopped talking to one woman I dated because she had an icy personality (remember that one?), and my friends did not enjoy her company. Some time after that, I had a date with another woman, only to be stood up at the restaurant that day. She called twice, but never left a voicemail or texted explaining why she didn’t go. And then some time after that, I dated another woman who really loved psychology. Like that’s all she would ever talk about. At first, she said she wanted to go slow and was not interested in a serious relationship, yet before the second date she already imagined taking trips out of town and staying the night together. I took her on a triple date with two of my other friends. When I returned from the restroom, she made one of my friends take a personality test on her phone. Afterwards, she didn’t join us for a movie so my friends and I were discussing what they thought of her as we walked to the theater. I felt something was behind me, and when I turned she was slowly driving her car with her windows down a bit. My friends thought I was overreacting, but I was sure she was creeping. They also told me when I went to the restroom, she asked them “what’s the dirt on him?”; like she wanted to see if they knew my secrets or how to get under my skin. A few other things, and I knew I had move on from her.
Now I can be like everyone and proclaim “I’ll be single forever!”, and say that there’s no one good out there for me. I can say a lot of things, and put the blame on something else, but I don’t because I know it’s not the concept of relationships and dating that’s the problem; it was the people I was dating. I’m not perfect either, and given my past and the environment I grew up in, I should hate the idea of being in a relationship. Yet for every date I’ve been on, I go in with hope that it could work and if it doesn’t at least I tried and there’s someone else out there to get to know. But not many people think this way; not many are taught this. We go to school, but we are not taught how to file taxes or deal with insurances. The same goes for dating and relationships, as I have seen many people not know what to do with someone they are interested in.
Perhaps that’s another reason why many hate love, dating, and relationships: because they don’t know how to go about it. Whether from seeing people next to me in public, or watching videos on Youtube, I can’t help but notice this. It can be a guy practically begging a girl to spend time with him, or getting a bit upset she’s not. Maybe a woman saying she hates dating, when in reality she doesn’t contribute much to the conversation while on a date. People being very quick to making it a serious relationship, or very slow to make a romantic move. That and more makes me wonder where did they learn this? I believe in a post a long, long time ago I mentioned how I thought about making my nickname into a real job. That nickname would be “Hitch”, and it is exactly from the movie of the same name with Will Smith.
In that movie, he plays a man who helps other men (and women in the end) learn how to act towards someone they like, and be able to have great dates with. Besides helping my friends in their dating lives, I indeed was also given that nickname because, in the movie, Hitch had some bad fortune when it came to his own dating life. But anyway, I really thought about doing that; hence the “Gentleman’s Guide” file you see on my blog. I studied therapy because I loved and wanted to help people with their issues, and likewise I also want to help people do well when it comes to romance and finding a great person to spend time with. It’s not easy, but it’s also not hard to where you should give up on the first try. I have a friend who’s like that, where even if talking to a girl (not dating, just talking) doesn’t go well, he essentially proclaims he gives up. There are many people out there in similar situations, or avoid trying altogether for different reasons.
But finding someone is kinda like soccer/football; I’m using this sport since most of my readers are from outside the U.S.. Not many people will kick a goal on their first try (high school sweethearts, 1st college relationship, etc.). It takes a few tries and practice in knowing what you have to do, and what you have to look for. You have to make the effort and keep trying, instead of waiting for Prince Charming or the Girl Next Door to show up and do it all for you. Otherwise, we give up and fall exactly into what this generation (and perhaps the future generations) are described as: Don’t bother if there’s no quick results, take the easy way out, no hurt feelings for anyone. Maybe we head towards a society of no attachments, or maybe one of business arrangements and what’s best for you instead of best for us. Truth is, the way a lot of people think out there about dating, relationships, and marriage. . . Society has lost that lovin’ feelin’.
People still care for one another in general, but probably not as much. I still see students here where I work not doing the little things like holding the door open for the person behind them. Or if they do, that person just walks by as if it was nothing or says “thank you” like they were forced to. I still remember the time I was in the elevator with two older women. I stood by the buttons, and when the door opened I let them exit first. A few seconds later, one of them approached me and said thank you. I asked “For what?”, and she said “Not many men these days wait to let the ladies go out first”. It’s little moments like that we have to remember. So many dates, relationships and marriages can fall apart due to not remembering the little things. Turning off your phone when you’re on a date, noticing your boyfriend’s new glasses, or even buying your father-in-law a birthday gift. Because when you remember the little things, you’re making an effort; and effort and communication goes a long way. I say that many times, but it’s true in our text-tech-who’s next world we live in.
Again, not everyone is cut out to live with another person just like not everyone is suited to raise a child. But to those who want to quit after the first few tries: slow down and be patient. Go back to the basics and look up at the night sky instead of your phone’s light. Look to the stars, for hope burns bright. All may seem lost – love, marriage, long term relationships -but it can be found again. It’s not going to disappear ever; jewelry companies, romantic movies and the flower/candy industries will never allow that! If it’s fear of losing money over some guy/girl in a relationship or marriage, then not only do you need to be smarter with how you spend money but also changing your view of money at the forefront. If it’s constant heartbreak, and fear/anger to open up, work on yourself first and acknowledge it may take a few tries in finding the right one. When a marriage ends, don’t let your belief end too. People change over time, and some work through issues while others run from it. Above all, know how to talk to that person you’re interested in and know how to have fun in life and be loving/romantic. It goes a long way when you know who you are and what you’re looking for.
Focus on you always, but don’t over-focus on yourself either. Climbing that mountain can get very lonely, so if you’re chasing something like career just be prepared for a different world when you climb back down. In this age of swiping right, casual flings, and divorces, rather than lose hope just maintain the course. Because there are a lot of women hoping “chivalry isn’t dead” and a lot of men hoping “love can happen”; you just have to find them, even if you have to look a little farther. Rather than feeling scared or angry from past experiences, move on, and learn from it; even enjoy the good memories you had back then. Life is too short to waste on trying to avoid feelings and not taking chances. We supposedly only live once so truly make the most of it with the people you enjoy being with. If it doesn’t work out, that is fine! Just don’t stay with someone because you need companionship or enjoy the lifestyle they give you. There’s someone else out there who will understand you, and if not then look in the mirror and acknowledge what you see. For in the end, we want to pass our wisdom on to the next generation; whether our family or someone else. We want to pass along the good things, including love being possible. Society may feel like it’s losing that loving feeling, but it’s not when you consider what the alternative might look like. It’s up to you to not give up. Like Aaliyah once sang, “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again”. . .