Dating is already difficult, and now we’ve added the fact that people need to romantically manage their way around a worldwide pandemic. Many people think of simply finding a good match. But others see a much steeper hill to climb.
Around 20% of people experience addictions. Some have life-shortening diseases that promise any future partner early status as a widow or widower. Some have less dangerous, but more highly judged conditions, like skin diseases or deformities.
Some have unpopular jobs, or are poor. Many people have uncomfortable histories when compared to who they are today. Some have complex sexual histories that impact how they feel. Some have troublesome exes.
Some are socially inexperienced and awkward, some had difficult parents that left them struggling in some way. Some have Asperger-like personalities, some struggle to manage their moods, and still others have mental illnesses or habits that require some degree of acceptance.
All of that can make dating far more complex. But there are ways to see things that help make things clearer. When I work with someone, we are looking to enhance their individual understanding of the principles common to every way of life.
As an example, when it comes to love, the truth is that everyone loves everyone. It is only our conditional thoughts that lead us to believe that we can’t or don’t love them. The great religious leaders we all know are the people who managed to lower their thinking about everyone.
But as Richard Bach wrote about in his wonderful book, Illusions: Adventures of the Reluctant Messiah, being a spiritual avatar does not mean the person escapes the normal hassles of living, including suffering and death.
That being the case, it’s entirely okay that most of us want a non-messiah lifestyle. But to do that, we need to experience more limiting, conditional thinking than a messiah would. To create a unique life we will make unique judgments in unique contexts.
That leads us to spend our lives wandering around trying to push things in the direction that we feel is best –even though that will inevitably mean we will be pushing against whoever took on the opposite perspective to the one we assumed.
They didn’t choose that other direction to be against us any more than we chose our direction to oppose some other person. We’re just being ourselves and it worked out that way.
When two people meet in a romantic context, it is really those differing perspectives that are doing the dating. Underneath all that the souls already love each other. So rather than searching for perfection, we are better to simply find a flawed person who is enjoyable and inspiring to live with.
People were never meant to be perfect so we can stop torturing first ourselves, and then our partners –or potential partners– next. The game is not perfection, it is the enjoyment of playing.
Bent pots need bent lids. And since all of us are bent, it’s less a matter of finding someone perfectly well-rounded, and more the fact that a mature relationship is when two people can tolerate each other’s behaviour.
Of course, the only reason we can do this is that, despite our better judgment, we find ourselves entirely unable to apply conditions to our love for certain people. We can see their flaws, but we just keep forgiving them.
For that one person, or for our family, we can be messiah-like in our love. Even in the face of ‘sin,’ it’s still there. That’s the purest kind of love. Accepting love. That makes it safe for the other person to be themselves.
Of course someone should leave if that other person is abusive to us. Then we’re co-dependent, not interdependent. But if they simply have a common human fault just as we all do, then our tolerance is really the place where our love needs to be felt the strongest.
We don’t need to be perfect and neither do others. Every relationship will include major challenges. But what we really need to be able to do is see the best in each other despite all else.
When we have vision like that, we can achieve the kind of wisdom that can keep a relationship healthy for a very long time.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.