Where Is My Perfect Match
Why do I keep dating losers?
Why don't my relationships last?
Aren't there any good men left in the world?
Most single women have made comments like this at some time or another. So why is it so difficult?
I believe the problem is that we are all looking for the wrong thing.
Where's the Spark?
We are all raised on a diet of TV soaps and fiction books. In those books, when a girl meets her Mr Right, they fall in love hard and fast. So we look for the same. We think we will feel some kind of instant attraction when we meet our perfect match. So if we don't feel that chemistry when we first meet someone, we dismiss them as a potential partner. How often have you said, "He was nice but there was no spark"?
That "spark" is caused by pheromones - in other words, it is purely physical, even though the reaction it generates is intensely emotional.
Of course, it's important to be sexually attracted to your partner - but it's rare for it to be the primary factor in keeping a couple together. Especially if you are hoping to stay together in your old age, when desire will wane. In fact it's not uncommon to find couples who fancy the pants off each other, but simply can't live together!
Love is Blind
A much bigger problem is that the feeling of being "madly in love" has a serious effect on judgment. It makes both partners blind to all kinds of differences in lifestyle or annoying habits. Women, in particular, will often make huge sacrifices in lifestyle or career to make the relationship work - and often, the man has no idea just how big those sacrifices are. This "honeymoon" period can last up to two years. So it is surprisingly easy for two completely incompatible people to forge a relationship, even to the point of getting married and having a first child, before the blinkers start to fall from their eyes and they realise just how mismatched they are.
After the Honeymoon
Once that "honeymoon" is over, one or both sides may start missing aspects of their old life that they gave up. Once again, it's often the woman who wakes up to the fact that she's given up a career she enjoys, or friends she loves - and because her man doesn't realise how much these things mattered to her, he will appear to be uncaring. Result - breakup!
Alternatively, one partner will realise that they're stuck with the other person's annoying habits/opinions for the rest of their life. Without a good dose of starry-eyed happiness to compensate, that is simply not bearable.
So, if you are looking for a relationship that will last for the long haul, the first rule is:
COMPATIBILITY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN CHEMISTRY
Of course you want chemistry too, but what our romantic fiction forgets is that just because sparks don't fly the minute you meet someone, you can't assume they never will. It is very possible for love to develop gradually, and when it does, it can often be deeper and more long-lasting.
That has certainly been my experience. My first marriage started from a friendship which blossomed into love. That lasted over 15 years, which is pretty good by today's standards! By contrast, my subsequent relationships based on "POW!", were much rockier and more difficult to sustain. I'm now in another "friend-to-lover" relationship which is both wonderfully exciting and amazingly smooth sailing.
Of course, it's hard for us to shed the expectations that have been drilled into us over the years. And I can hear you saying, does that mean I have to make a lot of friends of the opposite sex, and hope that one of them will turn into my perfect match? Hardly practical. That's why I am a fan of online dating, because that way you can screen large numbers of potential mates for compatibility BEFORE you meet them.
That way, if you walk into the cafe, spot your guy (from the red carnation he's wearing in his lapel), meet his eyes and - POW! - at least you can have confidence that you'll have something in common when the fairy dust wears off.