Inconsistencies of the Head and Heart

We’ve heard it all before: He’s not good enough for you. You deserve better. What do you even see in him? And as much as we hate dealing with those types of statements when they relate to our love lives, we’re usually just as guilty as using them on our friends when they date someone we have deemed unworthy. We love our friends dearly, but often wonder where logic went when they chose their significant others. Of course, the more I look at relationships as a whole, the more I begin to wonder if logic even has to factor in for a relationship to be successful.

So who better to look at than Taylor Swift, the princess of adorable high school crush soundtracks, for some guidance into this phenomenon? There’s a T. Swift song for everything, and in this case, it’s The Way I Loved You, the story of a girl who has a seemingly perfect boyfriend but still longs for her imperfect ex. Or what about The Notebook, the epic love story that transcends time itself? (Yes, The Notebook is THAT good.) Allie and Noah come from completely separate worlds and haven’t even seen each other in nearly a decade, but she still manages to leave her charming and good-natured fiancee for him, all in the name of love. Of course, if those examples haven’t convinced every teenage girl on the planet that a true “romantic” ending isn’t necessarily the easier or more rational choice, then consider Chuck and Blair on Gossip Girl, and you’ll see just how far “true love” strays from the idea of that Perfect Match.

That’s not to say that we should relate everything we know about relationships to pop culture, but we should recognize that our ideas of the perfect love don’t always correlate with what’s really there. You might tell yourself that you want to date a guy who showers you with lavish gifts and who likes to talk about his feelings, but then when you find him, you realize you want someone who will give you some space. Maybe you’re interested in dating someone you were friends with for some time, but when a relationship finally does begin, you decide that you don’t have any chemistry with that person. The point is, we might think we know what we want in a boyfriend or girlfriend, but when it comes down to it, some traits only look good on paper.

It’s good to have certain standards — for example, I refuse to date anyone who is racist or otherwise intolerant, and I really do think that a sense of humor is a nice characteristic to have — but if you make too many rules, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. In other words, don’t say no to someone that you might like just because they don’t match a particular checklist.

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2 comments

  1. >>>>>>”It’s good to have certain standards — for example, I refuse to date anyone who is racist or otherwise intolerant, and I really do think that a sense of humor is a nice characteristic to have”

    lol, those are — indeed — always a good starting point, I’d say. =)

    >>>>>>”but if you make too many rules, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment. In other words, don’t say no to someone that you might like just because they don’t match a particular checklist.”

    So true! In the past, I have also talked with friends and family about how I felt about the whole “checklist” business (on which people often base their romantic dreams and relationships). Basically, my feelings about it are your feelings about it. =)

    Another side problem with the “checklist” mentality that I wanted to add is that — once people DO get into relationships based on abstract checklists — the lines get blurred between loving the other person… and loving the abstract combination of abstract traits that they “fit the bill” for.

    In other words, are you truly attracted to the unique flesh-and-blood person you stumbled upon… or are you merely attracted to the checklist of items you wrote down in your mind long before you ever met her/him? And in my humble opinion, that is dangerously uncertain ground that I’d personally prefer not to walk on, when dealing with my relationships.

    I mean, of course we all want someone who is nice, funny, passionate, open-minded, willing to make the best of little means and difficult circumstances, etc. But those are just fundamental human virtues. If we make too many rules to the point of “Design-a-Partner” levels, the genuine human connection — where two people find each other and fall in love with this new treasure they found — is lost.

    I like to believe that people are MORE than the sum of their parts. What makes them compatible with you, and what makes them attractive, is something that can’t be accurately broken down into discrete ingredients. And in that way, checklists for romance have little place for good in the world.

    1. I could not agree with you more! What use is it to fall in love with a checklist? You can’t base a relationship on a list of traits, and even if you did find someone who met all those requirements, who’s to say you’d still be attracted to them? Your last paragraph is so true. Thank you for such an eloquent, well-thought-out comment 🙂

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