Has anyone else noticed how often we use the term "partner" to describe romantic relationships? I'm not sure whether this is some new trend or I've just been living under a rock, but I must say that at first, it seemed like the greatest thing since Trader Joe's Cookie Butter.
The way such a simple term could describe so much is awe-inspiring; loyalty, equality, stability, respect. “Partner” is the perfect package.
However, after that initial awe wore off and some critical thinking set in, my reaction turned to a scoff and an eye roll. I mean, partner? Really? Don't get me wrong; the idea behind the totally lame terminology is perfectly desirable.
It's just that right now, it also happens to be completely unrealistic. Like, hello, the dating game is difficult enough without the adding the pressure to find our “forever” love.
Finding a partner and everything that comes along with him or her is an endgame. It's what’s left after you've gone through the steps to figure out if you're even compatible with someone else.
This is why I'm proposing something new. Instead of looking for a partner, Millennials should be looking for a match.
Partner, match, whatever — they're all the same, right?
A partner is more stable and more constant; someone for whom you’re willing to compromise even your most core values. Match, on the other hand, ranges in definitions, all of which are relevant.
In sports, a match calls tennis and boxing to mind. Sure, on the surface, they seem very different, but ultimately, they're fundamentally the same. They consist of two people challenging each other. They push each person to be the best version of his or herself just by being who he or she is.
They force each other to address his or her own weaknesses. In order to keep up, these people must improve. They’re equals -- similar, but not the same -- and there’s a complete, shared respect present.
While dating is not exactly a sport, it is most definitely a game. It doesn’t matter if you believe you’re playing or if you even want to play. We are all playing.
It’s important to realize that this game isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s how we weed out the undesirables and find the right one: the match. We all have different expectations and standards, deal breakers and quirks.
When we pair up with people, we compare and contrast, find the pros and cons, feel the chemistry or the flat line.
We push and we pull, just to see how much someone else will accept. It’s all a game and we’re just looking to find someone different, someone special, someone who fits, someone who matches.
While that's all well and good, the fact is that the expectation of "forever" is always looming. That is the point, after all: finding someone with whom to spend the duration of life. I know that's not the endgame for every person, but for many of us, it is.
Many of us want to find someone we actually want to keep around until death do us part. So, how exactly are we supposed to juggle these contradictory desires?
As a single gal in my mid-twenties living in a huge city, intelligent, attractive and desirable young professionals surround me. Unfortunately, just because there are tons of options doesn’t mean they’re all good options.
Like me, they’re playing a game and I’ve been finding that far too many of them aren’t particularly genuine. Then, there are those trust issues, caused by dating too many of those guys, that manifest and maim an otherwise good beginning.
Ultimately, it comes down to one simple thing: Find someone who's playing the same game you are. Find someone whose weird issues are compatible with your weird issues; someone whose goals and expectations, skills and desires and everything in between, match your own. As it turns out, this is no easy task.
So, let’s go back to the most basic part of a relationship — something that too many people overlook. Your match must ignite a fire inside of you.
Yes, I'm talking about finding a match like that flimsy little stick of wood. That little stick that uses friction and chemistry to create small flames that can turn into roaring bonfires.
Fire, friction and chemistry? Sounds like a recipe for passion if I ever heard one. Of course, passion alone is not enough to sustain a relationship, but it is important and it’s one hell of a way to start.
Eventually, that initial flame will die down and you'll be left with the cozy, warm, glowing coals of a partnership. But, you can't get those coals without a fire (and match) first.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It