Central to being a part of the hook-up culture, is a much-evolved ability to adapt to new and strange situations. What is required is a mind that is open to the idea that progress is necessitated by drastic change in mindset.
A person can live a whole life building up an idea of what their perfect mate will be like. Dating with a view to marriage in the hookup culture requires an ability to let go of the idea of ‘Mr. Right’ in order to allow oneself to believe in the prospect of eventually being able to turn ‘Mr. Right-Now’ into something more significant. With the aid of months of real-world research, I have found that the only way to be part of the hook-up culture or to understand it is to grasp the concept of ‘compromise’.
At the heart of any compromise is an analytical mind. In an effort to reconcile ‘what is’ with ‘what is expected,’ the brain attempts to reach a point where change occurs but does not irreparably colour ‘what is’ with ‘what is expected’ for a situation to be resolved. When a belief that has always existed is allowed to be altered once, it opens the mind to the possibility of changes to all embedded core beliefs. One compromise leads to another and another and another, ad infinitum.
Conscious and Unconscious Compromising
It’s as simple as always having had a declared resolution to never date a person that drinks. Then you meet a person who drinks but not excessive, and they don’t become a different person once they’re intoxicated. Your mind then comes to believe that drinking is not the deal breaker you once believed it to be. Once you accept this trait in one person, that emotional barrier is broken and that becomes a trait that is acceptable to you in a mate. Your mental list of the things a mate should be is forever altered. Your standards have been successfully lowered, consciously or not.
You can believe, all your life that all relationships lead to marriage. As with all ideals, there often comes a time when they must be compromised as, in this case, you end up settling for Mr. or Ms ‘Sufficient’. Say you meet a person who is obviously not a prospect in a permanent way, but you date them anyway. Say that relationship ends and you meet another person who doesn’t fit your list but again, has a trait that you have managed to normalise as being a new part of your list. Before you quite know what you’re about, you find you have been in six relationships in six months. One compromise of who you are; with one person; opens the floodgates to a hundred more until all you are is someone who is giving up the things they need for a relationship that is essentially not even a relationship. A mature mind understands that compromise is advisable in small doses but how much compromise is too much?
You can believe that a person that abuses you or others, verbally or physically or even emotionally, is someone who would never share the same air as you. Sadly, this is not the side of a person that is always presented at first sight. You meet the charming person who listens to you and makes you laugh; you exist in a sort of bubble where you don’t see the small signs that your partner is not, at their core, a good person. The con is so long and structured in such a way that when that person abuses you, you find a way of rationalising it to yourself and eventually to others. This is the horrid part of too much compromise – you lose parts of who you are in a bid to be found worthy in the other person’s eyes.
When you start diluting your core relationship-belief-system, it starts to alter you as a part of a myriad of interpersonal relationship dynamics. You find that you are okay to be with an unemployed person who doesn’t even want a job and is content to be another mouth you have to feed because somewhere along the line they persuaded you to compromise your list ‘this one time ‘. Then you find you are ok with shouting matches with your partner where, before, you always wanted a partner that communicates their feelings in a clear and non confrontational manner; you have compromised your core definition of happiness and that colours what true love looks like in your eyes. This is the history of statements like ‘ he only beats me because he loves me.’ This is the change that often leads to grief.
Similarly, grief doesn’t fit into any of the boxes that the mind uses to process information, events and watershed emotional moments. It manifests much in the same way that compromise does. One is not a declaration of an intention to remain in mourning forever and the other should not be used to excuse bad behaviour in individuals that you are linked with romantically in an effort to appear more agreeable.
If this sounds like you, the solution is simple.
Fundamental belief systems are by their very nature, unchangeable. Your belief system is what keeps you focused on your life goals. The only way to reconcile who you are with who you need to be with is through a clear and internalised process of soul-searching. Your list is not an impossible one,that only a fictional Prince Charming can fulfil- you are entitled to want the things you want without having to justify them to anyone who is not a value adding contributor to your life. You can believe that a person that does not hold the same spiritual beliefs as you can love you and that your relationship will work in the long term but this is only the case when one of you is willing to give up a lifetime of dedicated devotion to a certain way of being. This is the long con at play that needs to be resisted.
As women, we need to insist on our right to remember the things we know we need to be actualised and to swiftly disregard anything or anyone that makes us feel (even a little bit) like we are difficult to love.
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