Present day

screenshot of James Cagney and Joan Blondell f...
So..can I add you as a friend on Facebook?

Cagney wrote:

Sean,

Why are relationships so hard today?  It seems like so many of my friends (and me too) work so hard to make them work and for some reason, they always fail.  Is the world we’re living in today just gearing up toward a “MR/Mrs Right-now” mentality and avoiding long term commitment?

Cagney

 

Cagney,

Good question, and you may be on to something..to an extent.  Today, more than ever, we have an increasing number of choices in finding our life partners.  Whether it’s online dating, being connected by friends, social networking like Facebook, or the tried and true method of finding people at a bar, we’ve got access to people in a variety of places.

As a result of the ever expanding network of people we have access to (thanks to Facebook), we have developed a short term view on the connections we make.  Just as it is easy to “unfriend” someone online, it’s easy to write someone out of your life in reality as well.  Our access to people has also given us a possibility of entering into more “dead end” relationships.  We find people who may fit our needs for the short term, but don’t think about long term when we meet them.  Soon after, we find ourselves in a relationship that won’t be productive in the long run…then we realize it..then we move on..or (ugh) become friends with benefits.  Our parents typically thought in a much more existential manner about relationships.  Things like upbringing, education, career, and personal goals and future desires were talked about much earlier than they are discussed in today’s relationships and people typically didn’t just “tell you what you wanted to hear” either because reputation was on the line since social circles were much smaller.

With the increased social circles of today, also comes increased social pressures.  Men and women are often subconsciously pressured into entering into relationships and having sexual intimacy earlier than ever, and as a result, we’re not thinking about the repercussions of getting into a relationship for which we are unprepared.  Many people move from person to person, falling “in love” over and over again without giving themselves time to be introspective and analyze what it is that is causing their relationships to fail.  I know men and women alike that for the past decade have moved from person to person (or worse yet..overlapped people) with the initial hope that they were falling in love with the new person, but in reality it was just excitement that they’d found something different.  Without some time off from dating in between relationships, every new relationship will fail..guaranteed.

We DO have a responsibility to change things before our society gets too “removed from the root”.  We can take things back to what they should be by making sure we know ourselves and love ourselves before we get to know and love someone else.  We can think long term and not enter into relationships with people that have the “Mr/Mrs Right Now” mentality or people that aren’t looking for relationships.  We can say “no” to being a “friend with benefits”.  We can analyze our needs and speak honestly about them, but also ask the same in return from the people we get to know.  Finally, we can take time to ourselves and be free from dating and relationships before entering into something new.  It’s our future we’re wasting here, and things won’t get better until we change them.

Sean

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