What We Really Want From a Relationship

Relationships are one of the greatest expressions of anarchy we experience every day. We have relationships with our parents, our friends, and our significant other, should we have one, and all of them have one thing in common; they are voluntarily chosen. As a child, you cannot choose your family, but when you become an adult, you are free to choose if you want to associate with your family of origin. You do get to choose your friends from day one, and you do get to choose your significant other. You also get to choose if you want to have children and start your own family. You must keep in mind, however, that the children you have did not choose you as parents, so you have to be as awesome to them as you can be so it is as if they would have chosen you. That is a story for another time, however, so before I get too off topic, I should get to the purpose of this post.

I spend a fair amount of time on online dating sites, and despite the fact that they are all set up like Amazon selling you the best version of possible partners you can purchase, I have not been successful in finding someone. I have, however, made some good observations. Most profiles of women read something like this. “Hi! I am an exciting and interesting person who does exciting and interesting things. I like a fun night out, but I also like to spend a fun night in. I like to go on adventures, but I also like to be low key. I’m looking for someone to share my life with!” Pardon my generalities, but that is how most of the profiles read. The reason for this is twofold. One, the person wants to appear as normal as possible, and two, the person wants to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. While this strategy increases the likelihood of receiving potential mates, it does not increase the likelihood of meeting the right mate. This leads me to my point.

What we want out of relationships is not to have some to share our lives with, or to adventure with. What we really want is someone that sees us for who we are, the good and the bad, and accepts us for all of it. This is true for friendships as well as for romantic relationships. We may advertise how awesome we can be for another person, but in truth, we do this because we want to find someone who sees how awesome we really are. We are not all awesome in the same way either. If that were the case, we would all be homogenous interchangeable sex robots with no particular regard who we spend time with, sleep with, or have kids with. Thankfully that dream of the authoritarian left is not a reality and life is far more exciting!

It is because we are all so unique that we spend so much time worrying about finding a special partner, and we put so much emphasis on the necessity to be seen for who we really are. Most people are not consciously aware of this necessity, but they pursue it anyway. Often their attempts at achieving it are misguided and backwards, but sometimes it does work out. When someone starts out trying to be as appealing to as many people as possible, the weeding out process gets extreme. However, if a person were to be as specific as possible with their description of themselves and what they are looking for, then perhaps we would all be better at finding that special someone. Of course, you cannot find what you do not know you are seeking.

If we are to find true happiness and a loving relationship with the right partner, we must be honest with ourselves about who we are and what we are seeking. Instead of being as general as possible in your dating search, be specific. If you like analogies, then try this one; dating is like traveling. You know you are going on a trip, and there is a specific destination intended, however, the vaguer you are, the more likely you are to get lost. If, on the other hand, you know the exact GPS coordinates of your destination, you will be sure to find it. Unfortunately, people are not points on a map, so finding who suits you best is not going to be that easy. This is why self-knowledge is so important. If you know what you like and do not like, what makes you happy and what does not, then you are more likely to find the person that suits you best.

You should never compromise who you are or what you believe for the sake of a relationship that you think will make you happy. This is a recipe for disaster. If you are not true to yourself, you will never be happy. This is as true in relationships with people as it is in relationships with institutions. This is why anarchy is so important in all aspects of life. It is also why it is so challenging. It is easy to believe you have no influence over large, distant, and seemingly powerful institutions like governments, and it is hard to believe how much power you have over the personal relationships in your life. When you realize that the governments have power only because of your tacit compliance with them, you start to see them for the house of cards they are. When you realize the people in your life are only there because you have chosen to let them be there, you start to see how powerful you really are. Embrace that power, and define your life and your relationships in the ways that make you the happiest. You owe yourself that much.

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