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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Date & Relate > Approach to Love

Date & Relate
by Sara Hodon

Passionate vs. Practical Approach to Love

I consider myself to be a romantic at heart.    Like most girls, I’ve always nurtured secret fantasies of how I would meet The One.   For instance:   I gravitate toward the artistic types, and for years I thought I’d meet a poet or singer at a poetry reading or an open mic night.  We would start a conversation, hit it off, and immediately fall madly in love.   I would inspire him, and he would regularly serenade me.    I can see it now—we would hang out in the park on sunny days.   He would bring his guitar.   I’d bring my book and spend a blissful afternoon reading, or I’d bring my laptop so I could write my own brilliant works inspired by him, and we’d live a happily creative, intense life together. 

Another favorite scenario is meeting a guy in a bookstore.   I love reading just as much as I love writing, so I spend a lot of time in bookstores.   It just always seemed natural to me that this is where I’d meet my future husband.  In my mind, it would go something like this:  I’m browsing intently through the fiction or history sections.   I spot a guy whom I find attractive.  We either reach for the same book, or one of us sees what the other has already decided on.  We start talking about our mutual book obsessions, and as they say, the rest is history.

 

Ah, love.  I’m sure there are any number of couples who have met just as I’ve described. And really, neither one seems too far-fetched.  But does our real life ever quite measure up to our fantasies?  Not usually.   But we still keep holding on to these ideals for love, sometimes right from our first meeting.  We think that “Next time it’ll be different”.  No matter how wonderful a person is, and how strong your connection is with them, all relationships have certain things in common—namely, that they need to be nurtured, cared for, and maintained in order to last.  Period.   I think that most of us know this, but it falls to the wayside when everyday life gets in the way.  We think that our problems will work themselves out, or go away if we keep ignoring them.  Wrong! 

Many of my married friends met in college.  I have a few friends who met their spouses online.  The rest met in the usual ways—at parties, through friends, etc.  Not all were especially romantic or passionate, but this doesn’t stop us single gals from dreaming.    I’m a firm believer in love and passion and all of the great things we hope to find in a significant other.  But the reality is that even when you meet your prince or princess, love is far from a fairy tale. 

I’m guilty of holding on to these fantasies, too, but the truth is that I think I’m too practical to let myself get swept away.   It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and infatuation of a new relationship, but when the “new” wears off, are you still going to feel the same way?  Sadly, I think this is why so many marriages fail—one partner says that the other is “not the man/woman I married”.  Well, actually, they are.  People grow and change, some more than others, but I think the trick is to grow and change together.  If you are content to sit at home and watch TV and your partner is more of a go-getter, then yes, expect problems.

Getting back to Ideal Situation #1, the reality would be:   I meet the artist guy and he’s totally cool and talented.  He tells me he wants to pursue his craft full-time (even though I have my own plans to write full-time someday, but that’s neither here nor there).   Though I fully believe in his talent, what are the odds that he’ll actually be a rock star?  It’s important to have dreams, sure, but if one of you is going to have their head in the clouds, the other has to have their feet on the ground (corny, I know).  So, knowing myself as well as I do, I’d encourage him to either keep the day job he may already have, or to get a day job and leave the artsy pursuits as a side career.   This doesn’t mean I would love him any less or think he’s not talented—I’m just being practical.  Would that make me a dream crusher, or just realistic?  And where do you draw the line?          

Sometimes couples do grow apart, but if both partners are always working on the relationship and doing things together, their chances of keeping the attraction and romance alive are much better.   It would be nice to think that love will always have a fairy tale “happily ever after” kind of ending, but the truth is, few things rarely do. 


           

Date & Relate is published every Thursday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Sara Hodon.


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