True love is like a pair of socks: you gotta have two and they’ve gotta match. – Erich Fromm
What does that mean?
Well, as a nerd an the antithesis of a snappy dresser, I might argue with having to have two that match, but two does seem to be a good number. Seriously, though, having a matching pair of socks does seem to be a good thing, even for a nerd.
We’ll leave plural and line family arrangements for someone else to discuss. I would rather just go with a standard pair, and the concept of matching. With socks, it’s fairly easy to match a pair. In love, it takes a little looking to find the other half of your pair. Sometimes, you have to try a few on before you find the proper match.
Why is searching for the other half important?
Just try to imagine Paul without John, Abbott without Costello, Laurel without Hardy, Lucy without Ricky, Scooby without Shaggy, Ginger without Fred, or Betty without Barney. Have I dated myself yet? How about imagining Steve without Steve, Dexter without DeeDee, or Phineas without Ferb?
What would your life be like if you had such a partner? Do you think that would be worth expending a little time and energy in a search for them? If you already have a partner, consider how close a match you two are, and what you can do to help get the match a little closer together. Wouldn’t that be worthy of some effort?
Where can I apply this in my life?
The quote is specific to romantic love, but I believe it works in pretty much any environment where a good chemistry between two people are necessary (or a person and a dog, in the case of Shaggy & Scooby). Most of the examples I gave were not romantic couples, however, romance is where I will put most of my effort.
It starts with dating, I guess. You start trying out or auditioning, however you want to word it. You start finding out what is available, and what you like. As you gain experience with other people, your tastes begin to mature, and solidify. Eventually, you have a pretty good clue about what you want and what you won’t accept.
I’ll handle the people who already have a partner in a moment. Meanwhile, if you’re in the market (or back in the market), I’d grab some paper and write down the 10 things your other half must have. I’d stay away from possessions (ie lots of money, a mansion, …) and stick to personality traits. Fortunes come and go, but character will go far. Also list 10 things they absolutely cannot have (deal breakers).
Now, read the list and compare it to some of your past romances. Do you see why some of them didn’t work out? Do you notice a pattern in what seems to attract you, even if it brings along a couple of deal breakers with it? An example might be an attraction to the “bad boy” type, but hating cheating and shabby treatment. That might be something to think about.
Now that you have a profile of your prey… ahem, your potential partner, where would that person likely hide? If you’re looking for an honest upright guy, would you have better luck at a shady bar or a church? Once you have an idea as to where you might find that kind of person, start looking, keep comparing them with your list, and repeat until your find the other half of your pair. Sounds easy, doesn’t it. But it worked for me, and others I know.
For those who already have a partner, first consider how serious and how entangled you are. If it’s just dating, and they aren’t a good match, it might be time to start making a list, as detailed above. If you are serious and want to stay together, you still want to make the list, as detailed above (but for a different reason).
For those who are sticking with their partner, your list isn’t a hunting list, but a set of projects. Get your partner to do the same. This has to be done in a spirit of cooperation, or it will end badly. Compare notes. What can each of you do to help fill in the other’s “top 10” list? My wife would love for me to learn Ballroom Dancing. Eventually, it will happen.
The “deal breakers” are going to require a little more care when discussing. If you each have a couple that annoy the other, you might be able to work a trade. Perhaps, in the interest of your relationship, you’ll ask them to tone it down a little. Instead of Friday and Saturday night out with the guys, you can talk him into just one, and spend the other out with you.
I’m not a relationship specialist, so you’re on your own. Relax, take a deep breath, feel the love, speak truthfully, but also be kind, be gentle and remember that you do annoying things too. Plan on revisiting this exercise every few months until you achieve bliss. 8)