The reason why people no longer have patience for love

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Why don’t we want to commit anymore? Especially in metropolitan cities, there seems to be a genuine fear of long-term relationships. Our author Anne has made up her mind on the reasons why – and comes up with a simple solution.

In a world where we can have everything, it’s getting harder to find ‚perfect’

I wake up every morning to a bathroom cabinet full of ointments, creams, treatments, masks and some oily stuff called serum. A hundred miniature figurines that I can barely tell apart, let alone tell you what they are or what they do. That’s just the start of my day. By the time I make it to the kitchen, I can choose between single origin, free trade coffee beans to ground for filter, French press, Espresso, long or short Aeropress. As the morning proceeds, I pick an outfit from my overcrowded wardrobe, try to find the right pair of shoes and figure out the best way to get to my meeting – by bike, Uber, cab, public transport or one of the many ride share services in my area…

There is hardly any aspect of life that doesn’t offer a wide selection of products or services. We scroll endlessly through product selections. Spend hours reading reviews. We buy magazines just for the samples. Discover new brands and, in the same instant, forget about old ones. Our society is obsessed with comparing and contrasting in a never ending quest to find ‘perfect’ – nothing is sacred. Not even love.

With the rise of dating apps, there is no love at first swipe

Relationships come and go, the people around us performing a choreographed back and forth of getting together and breaking up. But what’s quite new on the menu is the immediate and unfettered access to new people all the time through dating apps. There’s literally a million apps out there – for one night stands, gay sex, sugar daddies, b-grade celebrities, academic or elitist background only. Apps that will match you by your political leanings, your taste in music or your interests. We can ‘shop’ the market for different, better people the second we get bored with our current choice. As a result, our attention span for romance becomes more and more limited – so limited that we don’t even bother going on second dates anymore.

Don’t get me wrong here – I myself am that person. It took me over six months to realize that my boyfriend, whom I love very much and with whom I just moved into a new place, was even boyfriend material. While I was spending my time picking out his flaws, he just remained patient and calm, showering me with his love. Eventually I finally realized that even the things I did not like about him were simply just part of this amazing human being I had fallen in love with. And that is the problem with the way we are now conditioned to approach love: in our endless search for the perfect life with the perfect skin care regimen, coffee blend and partner we simply forget that the latter doesn’t exist. Humans are complex beings and some need time to bloom.

Time to forget about ‘The One’ – In fact, there are many

It doesn’t help that a vast majority of popular culture still suggests that the only area in life where you really only have one right option is love. Finding “the one” is a theme so deeply ingrained in our psyche and our idea of love that for many, the search – the hunt, even – has become a time-wasting, dread-inducing experience: scrolling through profile after profile, swiping right on cargo shorts, left on a witty bio that references your favorite podcast. And even once you’re in a relationship, our patience is still limited because we know the market is still there, and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – so the second we get into fights or boring phases, a voice whispers: is that it?

So with that depressing analysis of modern dating – is there actually any hope? While many would say that it’s important to realize that this idea of “perfect” or “the one” does not exist, I actually think it’s quite the opposite: there is the one. There are many ones. Hundreds and thousands of potential partners that could make us happy in various ways, on numerous places on earth and at different times. Realizing that – and letting it go – is maybe the greatest challenge both new and long-term relationships can face in this world of infinite choice. Essentially, it meansloving your partner not in spite of the fact that they aren’t ‘perfect’, but because of it.


Author: Anne Tetzner

Photo by Henri Pham on Unsplash

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