Is there any ‘right person’ for you?
Let’s reformulate the question: What makes a person ‘the right person’?
Movies, TV shows, novels entertain us with great love stories where two people are meant to be together. They are right to each other from the beginning, even if first they have to overcome a thousand obstacles.
Now, between you and I, that’s not reality.
This concept has been elaborated by Andy Stanley, author of The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating.
The right person myth is not about saying that there isn’t a right person for you out there. Probably, there is. Or there are.
The Right Person Myth is about thinking that with the right person, everything will be alright.
I’m not going to surprise anybody by sharing some statistics: About 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second marriages, and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce. [Psychology Today, 2012]
So what does it require to be ‘the right person’? Is sexual compatibility? Is commitment? Has technology anything to do with it?
You are sexually compatible with far more people than you are rationally compatible with
Don’t tell someone in bed: You’re one in a million!
But the truth is, as the author of The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating says, “you are sexually compatible with far more people than you are rationally compatible with.”
Yes, sexual compatibility is important.
But sexual compatibility doesn’t make someone right.
At the end, sex is easy (sometimes). Relationships are not.
Is technology changing love?
According to Helen Fisher, author of Why him Why her we‘ve evolved three distinctly different brain systems for mating and reproduction:
- Sex drive,
- Feelings of intense romantic love; and
- Feelings of deep cosmic attachment to a long-term partner.
And together, these three brain systems — with many other parts of the brain — orchestrate our sexual, our romantic and our family lives.
But they lie way below the cortex, way below the limbic system where we feel our emotions, generate our emotions. They lie in the most primitive parts of the brain, linked with energy, focus, craving, motivation, wanting and drive. In this case, the drive to win life’s greatest prize: a mating partner. They evolved over 4.4 million years ago among our first ancestors, and they’re not going to change if you swipe left or right on Tinder.
So has technology changed the rules of mating?
Technology, she explains, is not going to change who you choose to love, but it’s related to the paradox of choice. For millions of years, we lived in little hunting and gathering groups. You didn’t have the opportunity to choose between 1,000 people on a dating site. Now we do.
Being capable vs being accountable
Andy Stanley comes up with a great point.
“Saying ‘I do’ doesn’t make a person capable, only accountable.”
In other words, “If you marry or commit yourself to someone who is not prepared to reciprocrate, you’re going to hold the person accountable. Which means you are going to make his or her life miserable. And his or her lack of commitment will become the primary source of your own misery.”
So how do we know if ‘your right person’ is prepared?
The author of How To Love, Dr. Gordon Livingston—a physician of the human heart, a philosopher of human psychology— explains us that to be in the presence of another person who accept us as we are, gives us the benefit of the doubt, cares about what we think, and assumes we will act generously is an immensely gratifying experience.
But of all of the questions we ask ourselves in the course of discovering what another human being is really lile, perhaps the most important is this:
How do I feel about myself when I am with this person?
Your honesty will answer.