How we find love today is strange. People have become baseball cards. Dating is dead. Monogamy is on trial. Today more than ever, love is distorted, distracting, and blurry as f*ck.
We can literally change our faces, present ourselves in a way that’s not honest, and communicate solely using animation and symbols. We have created a digital crowbar that pries us away from each other but more importantly ourselves, leaving room for knee jerk behaviors that don’t promote our self-worth. But instead, keep us locked in old patterns.
At the same time, we complain.
It’s hard to love today.
Or is it?
Because love has not changed.
We have become impatient and convinced more than ever that the grass is greener when it’s actually AstroTurf. Today’s love landscape is keeping us locked in our heads, chasing fantasy instead of practicing how to build an actual real relationship.
Self-betterment has become the cool kid in the quad and everyone’s “working on themselves” but when it comes to love and dating we’re also ghosting, hiding behind our phones, not being honest with ourselves and others, and avoiding commitment. So what exactly are we working on? Besides gaining followers.
Repeating old patterns.
The real work (change) doesn’t happen until you actually choose to love someone and things get difficult. Until all your own sh*t comes up and you begin to process it. And we are not getting there. We are loving from a distance, love looky-loos. One foot in, one foot out. Swiping and strategizing. Riding the shore break instead of swimming past the breakers, dodging what’s hard, and looking for ways to hack love.
We’re turning invisible and healthy love is just becoming an idea.
Simply put, we are in our heads thinking about love.
Not actually in the trenches building love.
Pat Benetar was wrong.
Love is not a battlefield. Your head is.
Our digital age and swipe culture is causing us to run metrics on each other. Love with caution. Stay in the shallow end. But the thing about love is it requires the jump. Or you don’t hit the high notes. Love only grows as it deepens. You have to close your eyes, fold your arms, and fall backward. Yes, you may get hurt. Yes, things may not work out. But what of value doesn’t require risk? Love is not about the promise. It’s about the daily choice. And if you’re afraid to love because you’re afraid it will end or that he or she will leave, you are not loving. You are testing. And it will end.
Being skittish, afraid, and not willing to truly show ourselves creates poor love experiences that lead to more hurt → running and hiding → becoming more afraid → more running and hiding, and of course the same love experiences we’re afraid of → but most importantly not giving ourselves the opportunity to learn, grow, and evolve from the natural friction that love and relationships produce when two people choose to love each other — Jump.
It’s not about putting your phone down.
Use it as a tool.
It’s about staying out of your head and getting into what’s real.
This means to show up and be you. Be honest and vulnerable and real. Toss your types and be open to the human exchange and hearing a new fucking story. Toss you checklist and types. That will keep you narrow and prevent the universe from working. Stop worrying about your date being “the one.” That’s a myth. Stop ghosting and treating people like condiments. Communicate. Be respectful. Have manners. That’s someone’s sister or brother. You’ll need these things if you ever want a healthy relationship. And finally, stop trying to trace something you see on your Instagram feed. Those are billboards. False advertising. Not real life.
Pick a partner using all the wisdom you have today, everything you’ve learned from the past about what works and doesn’t as well as everything you know about yourself, and start building something. Quit browsing and waiting for the perfect love. It doesn’t exist.
The daily action of loving someone will stir things in you. Deep things, subconscious things, fears, attachment styles, your wiring, your story, past hurt and trauma, all of it will start to surface as you love someone. This is normal and actually a gift but it’s also when many run. And if you run, you will not have the opportunity to do any real work.
Many take the other road. Avoid, blame, and not take any ownership. This leads to the pattern mentioned above. Deciding to put your shield down and explore your inner self without judgment but curiosity is what loving someone looks like. This includes loving you. It’s the harder path but the only way to break old patterns and evolve. And that’s the beauty of relationships that so many don’t see. Relationships are meant to bring up shit so you can learn and grow, create new definitions and love experiences. They’re not just about sex and someone to eat with.
As you continue to swim and own your own sh*t, a new you emerges, and hopefully your partner is doing the same, and that changes the dynamic of the relationship –> creating a new love. This new love becomes its own living breathing thing that continues to challenge and change its parts, you and your partner. This is what it’s about. This is why it’s worth it. This is how love changes us.
But it’s NOT what’s happening today. No one is getting here. We are in our heads and not leaning into anything uncomfortable. We drink our juices and practice yoga poses but we are not leaning into the discomfort of loving hard and looking inward. Instead, we swipe.
The fundamentals of building a healthy relationship have not changed. They will never change. As the fundamentals of getting into shape will never change. Daily exercise and a healthy diet.
Building a healthy relationship requires: Communication. Vulnerability. Holding a safe space. Looking inward. Owning your own shit. A constant exploration of self. And building trust. These are tools that were never taught to us. The only way to acquire them is to practice daily love and process the turbulence.
This is love.
And it’s a daily choice. A journey. An exploration. And some days it’s easy. And some days it’s hard. Like life.
But it’s beautiful. And if you don’t start making choices and have the courage to go there, you will always live in the past (your head) and your potential as a loving being will be locked away in a dusty hope chest called yesterday.
This post was originally published here and is republished with permission from the author.
What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
Sign up for our Writing Prompts email to receive writing inspiration in your inbox twice per week.
The post The Problem With Love Today appeared first on The Good Men Project.