Us millennials tip our snap-backs to those who say they have found that allusive thing called love. I honestly believe that we search for it every time we wake up in the morning, for we are the forsaken ones– the ones who lose all self control in our pursuit of happiness, only to become completely blinded from what that happiness is. We are obsessed with fantasies about our own ideal forms of love, and project the scars of our loneliness when we do not have it.
These fantasies about love entail turning into something that we are not. For, we want to be loved for what we deem is the best version of ourselves. And we want an ideal partner who deserves that quality of person. It excites us not to settle. We are privileged to worry about achieving perfection. We write things like #relationshipgoals on twitter. And gawk at the relationships of seemingly not human celebrities because of the objectivity under which we view people in this society. We go to bars and dance clubs where people bond solely over aesthetic attraction—the music is far too loud to talk.
We are glued to reality TV shows where relationships are built upon drama. We are privileged to act bored a lot. So, we complicate things. We feed off of the drama of finding love. But like in every drama, we find ourselves chewed up and spit out from the emotional roller coaster of growing alongside another heart when divulging our deepest sensitivities and secrets. It teaches us we have to change to find love. This wakes us up in the morning. It brings us out at night. We envision turning into these dream version of ourselves in relationships because of our deep insecurities about ourselves. Because deep down we know we are living a lie. We know we are try-hards.
That life is full of suffering and tragedy and we should take every glimpse of happiness we can muster out of it, rather than self indulgently writing love notes and poems to try and find a fairy tale connection. It’s like what David Foster Wallace says in his essay “E Unibus Pluram” about television’s impact on contemporary life and literature– that it is a way to mask our loneliness and place ourselves in a reality far from our own in which we can empathize with the characters who are inept from real world problems. Similar to Wallace’s theory, we stubbornly visualize a fictional perception about love and happiness that becomes unattainable when people and relationships change.
Our personal insecurities cause us to enter or stay in relationships under the false pretenses of trying to be someone we are not and envision a stylized relationship far from reality. These insecurities are surely a result of not feeling loved by someone when we were being ourselves or a reflection of the countless times we’ve seen it happen in our lives. When we are with someone we find to be perfect, we abandon our inner characteristics that we think wouldn’t be amenable to the relationship. We put on a show, like the characters on a television show. We dress up like them too as we live in a world that objectifies everyone as a date often buds from a swipe on a picture on a smartphone.
We get a false sense of self worth when people swipe our profiles on Tinder and use it as another excuse to avoid identifying our inner self as it provide us with more skin deep fulfillment through materialistic lenses with which to hide it. Yes, we also date purely based on aesthetic attraction when we swipe. We are acting. We test the waters, desperately trying to fit the other into this ideal TV show we created in our heads. We accentuate flaws. We relish in similarities. We remember old relationships. We remember getting hurt. So, we remember to remain acting in an attempt to avoid being that version of ourselves. It’s all so fast, because these relationships are basically on demand.
We have seen all seen old people in a squabble and are obsessed with that happening to us if we can prevent it. It gave us trust issues. So, trying out what and who you love and experimenting with different viewpoints and perspectives seem like the best way of assuring that. But, we force love and expect it like a Seamless delivery pizza when we press that button on the phone. We don’t take the small steps needed to build the foundations of a healthy relationship, which are based on improving upon past faults or working out crucial ideological differences. I learned this when I once wrote a girl love notes after our first date and painted a picture of her after the second. She told me I needed to take baby-steps to falling in love. But, she fit into my vision of an ideal partner so well I couldn’t help myself. I was stupidly head over heels.. But it couldn’t have been love. Viewing a relationship on a pedestal as I did caused me to romanticize her in an artificial way. She said I didn’t even know her. I felt like an idiot.
Maybe she was used to going on too many Tinder dates where she was objectified because of her appearance. Perhaps she thought me shallow also. But, it was when I found out we had the same favorite director that I knew she had to be mine. The painting was probably a little much. My epic faux pas may was the result of living in a generation that is both burdened and blessed with its relationship with instant gratification. We know we have a dating button on our phone, so we try and gel with someone fast, or leave quickly. We don’t allow them to blossom. Because, we are blinded by our ideal pictures about love, and we know how scary love can be if we had it, and we know people change, we self destruct due to the overwhelming fear that we will no longer be loved for the person we were proud of becoming– that we are bound to get hurt, and soon we are going to be alone.
Sometimes, we remain in a toxic relationship because we fear that when we are alone we can no longer be that character we dreamed of being for the other, and we have to deal with the insecurities that the ideal form of love we tried so hard to create was not enough. These are the relationships where we are compatible with someone enough to ignore some of the red flags and disagreements we may have but eventually become resentful because we cannot help ourselves from dreaming about an even more perfect love after all of that Netflix binging. Those never last. And we keep swiping and searching for the one.