Working out the Kinks

This is a blog post that dates back to last decade. It sums up my three-year look into the world of online dating in its infancy. I think that knowing so much about relationships (by studying them in humanities classes) actually makes having one harder. People sometimes feel I am studying them. (And I guess I am. Aren’t we all?) They’d rather live in ‘ignorant’ bliss than ‘knowing’ bliss. Oh well, throwing it back to many years ago with my take on the fledgling internet dating scene.

Working out the Kinks

Over the last 3 years, I’ve spent too much time on internet networking and dating sites getting to know people. Mostly what I’ve found is a great lack of personal relationship skills. There’s an incredible narcissistic immaturity. The most popular attitude is “Love me or hate me, I am what I am.” Yes, many of the people are young and you might expect that kind of brattiness, but some of the relationships and life paths I’ve peeked in on are amazingly pathetic. It’s immaturity and self-absorption masquerading as mastery of personality. I tried to fit in and failed, thank the gods.

There was one couple who met online and shared their great romance publicly. In the beginning, it was destiny, kismet, meant to be. Six months later they aired a great fight. The woman was over-the-top with intellectual love/guilt arguments while the man was saying he had hurt her because he was a sadist. He couldn’t change his nature so get used to being hurt. Last I knew they had gotten back together. I think they really deserve each other.

Of course this is a very common pattern. The chemicals at work in the first 6 months to 2 years of a relationship literally make two creatures feel like one. They toss aside their differences and want to occupy the same space. This is followed by a differentiation period where they reassert their independence. It has to do with biological imperatives (by that time in nature the female is pregnant and the male needs to be provider). It’s an interesting study in human relating.

There are many people who live this six month pattern over and over again. The other person is perfect at first—THE ONE—then the magic is fleeting, the biochemicals fade, and there’s nothing left. They’ll try all kinds of behaviors to keep the chemical addiction alive…and to avoid a true deepness of knowing each other. I’ve been truly amazed by some people’s complete lack of knowledge of the stages of a relationship and their inability to relate to another beyond the effect of pheromones.

The most disheartening thing I’ve seen—and the one that made me reconsider the whole online relating thing—is the progression of some life paths I’ve witnessed. In my early days on one site I did a flirtatious blog characterizing three women as sirens. Last I knew, the most wild of the three had met a guy and was thinking of settling down with him. She faded from my view and I wish her well. The other two seemed to lose themselves to the six month pattern. Each subsequent liaison became more debasing than the last. One “siren” became a “slave” to a “master” and the light of spirit once evident in her eyes faded. The other, last I knew, was putting the best face possible on her disillusionment. Both of them became rather unattractive to me, not only emotionally, but pictures proved them physically uglier too.

As for myself, what did I get out of this? I met only one person and that was for an innocent afternoon on another continent. I’ve certainly opened my eyes to the many ways of human relating. It’s been great from a storyteller’s perspective to see and become tolerant of different approaches toward sexuality. It made me better realize what I have always sought—and what is probably hardest to find. Someone to grow with, someone who challenges me to be better and who will still be part of me in my maturity…if I ever get there.