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Guest Editorial:
The Privilege of Looking for Love
by James Houran, Ph.D.

 

(June 2006) Reporters often ask me about the advantages of online versus offline dating. Most of you know these already from personal experience – the convenience and safety of exploring romantic prospects from the privacy of your own home, the ability to expand your dating pool easily by a factor of 100, a greater sense of control over the pace in getting to know someone, and the immense fun in actually getting to know someone from the inside out (I’m talking personality and values as opposed to hair and eye color!). If that’s not enough, new technologies that enhance online and offline introductions and dating are introduced to consumers on a daily basis. Yes, online communication and its boost to the search for love is an unprecedented social phenomenon. This is clearly an amazing time in history to be a single looking for love.

I also want to make this point – it’s also a privilege to be able to look for love in this day and age. Let me explain. I’m a father of three children – 8, 4, and nearly 2 years old. If you have children like me, then I don’t need to tell you that they’re not oblivious to what’s happening around the world and in our own country. The candid questions children ask – just like the news report everywhere – soberly remind us of the wars, natural disasters, severe financial hardships, political instabilities, and the lack of basic needs arguably bombard most of the people on this planet. Multitudes of people don’t have the luxury of going out with friends, going out on dates, or even choosing their spouse. We are lucky, however. Yes, if you’re reading this, then you, in a very real sense, have won life’s lottery. You don’t need to be Bill Gates or the Rockefeller family to have a fortune. We are so spoiled in our Western culture – from the time we get up to the time we go to bed, we’ve the luxury of thinking about how we’ll be entertained next. Think about that. Speaking to the host of singles out there, you’ve the luxury of time to ponder love and the power to do something about it. We’re privileged in that the Western ideology encourages seeking and finding love over establishing relationships for purely financial or aristocratic reasons. Singles here have the rare opportunity to choose like no other. And yet, too often I come across singles who simply don’t recognize their dating opportunities are tremendous privileges.

I encourage everyone who relies on “Online Dating Magazine” for wise guidance to take this advice: Treat everything you do in your dating life as a privilege. Everything. By doing so, you’re likely to enjoy your search for love more, and in return, get more out of your search. By perceiving every online “wink,” email, instant message, and video chat as a privilege; I suspect you’ll think more rationally and thoughtfully in how you choose to respond to such overtures. By acting like every interaction or date you have with someone online or offline is a privilege, I predict you’ll become better at judging compatibility and what qualities you really need in a long-term partner. Please don’t take dating and the wonderful features and benefits of online dating for granted. I get many letters from singles who are anxious because they’ve not yet found a loving relationship. That apprehension and pain are certainly real, but I feel those emotions can be substantially kept in check when we realize that it’s an amazing privilege just to be able to search actively for a casual or long-term relationship. Keep those thoughts in mind if you ever feel down about your lackluster love life.

We all want love… but you have the privilege of going after it. Relish that luxury!


 


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