A Diminishing Success Rate

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The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

Thomas Merton

With divorce a 50% statistic it seems incredible that romance can still find a place in modern society. Romance is not just a noun to describe the excitement and mystery associated with love. It’s indicative of an unfathomable desire, a propensity to act in a uncharacteristic manner that would not be automatically recognised by one’s contemporaries. It maybe a friend, someone we have comfortably known for a respectable length of time, someone who’s traits and idiosyncrasies we have become sanguine with. Or maybe a chance meeting of a complete stranger and all the mystery that embodies them. But it can still come as a resounding shock when we find Cupids keen eye and taut bow has sent forth feather, shaft and steel and accurately impaled our heart. Often taken as a negative and treated with disdain by those who feel equipped with sufficient experience to judge us, we find ourselves incapably steamrolled by an assortment of illogical thoughts and feelings. Couple this aforementioned disparaging advice, our own entirely contrary perceptions of how we are feeling and incorporate similar hormonal imbalances going on a euphoria binge around the synapses ordinarily used for rational thought within our chosen partner and it’s understandable to see how a kind of mental molasses forms within the cranial recesses.

This is, however, the opening stages of this most irrational of life’s adventures. Assuming we make it past these hurdles with our sanity in place we will start to regain some of our original perspective. Eventually, still smitten with the focus of our affections, reason gently prods at the instinct which we all have. A place to call our own. Even the most sycophantic of suitors will realise that, should they want to move their relationship to the next level and find somewhere to share with the newfound object of their affections, sufficient time will have to be spent apart for the purposes of earning the money to pay for it. Well most of us anyway. This seems to be an acceptable period of separation where pragmatism is granted a brief audience. All will bump along blissfully for a while however minor peccadilloes and idiosyncrasies will start to show, but will, with the softening effect of romance, be considerately overlooked.

As the relationship develops further and we develop a greater knowledge and insight into what makes our partner tick, we understandably get to the point where we either accept that the relationship has the longevity for a life together or acknowledge that the foibles we have discovered will eventually germinate into rifts. The latter will potentially infect the future cohabitation to the point of destruction. These areas are indeed grey and the lines are fine which takes us back to the 50% statistic.

Do half of married couples make bad judgements or are people just getting worse at hiding their feelings? Or is that in our throw away society it is easier to throw away our relationships like our electronic gadgets rather than spending time and effort fixing the faults? Or even more simply than that, as with most modern consumer habits, do we now just get bored and want to change, happy to dump emotional investment, place ourselves on the dating smorgasbord and begin the whole process again? These are all questions better explored prior to a potential assignation rather forestalling and letting an unfulfilled relationship consume our money and emotions at a later date.

Not in any other aspect of life are we as unreasonable with our expectations as when we seek romantic entanglements. Despite our inability to manage these esoteric skills, we gate crash the object of our desire’s emotions armed with nothing more efficient than yearning and hope. But these ‘chuck it and chance it’ methods will seem like a scientific formula compared with the discombobulated abyss one will spiral into if the attachment eventually fails. In stark contrast to our pre relationship sagacity, we seem to remain in an abject state of confusion, caught in the allegorical emotional headlights, adamantly determined to rationalise that which we originally considered to be beyond rational.

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