When my friends and I discuss bad dating experiences, or when we reminisce over old relationships that didn’t work out, it’s easy for us to become despondent and think “what the hell’s point?”
A lot of the time, when it comes to relationships and dating, I feel like the protagonist in some kind of rom-com, only one where we’re still 90 minutes into the feature and my love interest still hasn’t arrived yet.
When you’re attracted to someone and really want to be with them, it’s easy to render your interactions in a cinematic way, to imagine that life will take the same, familiar narrative course that movies have conditioned us to expect. Stage one is the awkward-but-cute meeting, stage two the flirtatious wooing, stage three the triumph of the date, and so on and on until the inevitable wedding reception, house in the country, and half a dozen kids.
It’s ridiculous and unrealistic. For all our pining, angst and sexual frustration, relationships simply don’t work that way. Yet why do I feel as though we’re all brought up to buy into this obsessional pursuit, this relentless fixation of being fulfilled by other people? If you want to insult someone nowadays, the laziest way of doing so is to attack the fact that they don’t have a partner. Rather than a personal choice, being single is often treated like suffering from some kind of unspecified and mortifying ailment, one that has to be remedied as soon as possible.
A lot of people claim that human beings are actually born polyamorous, and expostulate that the idea that having one partner for life is the natural order of things is a lie – a societal construct that’s holding us all back. But maybe we should take that idea one step further. Maybe the truth is actually that the whole notion of love and romance is a complete hoax, and that people are really nonamorous from the beginning.