Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Star-Crossed: Is True Love Really Rare?

I know it's post-Valentine's day, but, due to a recent avalanche of engagement announcements, including that of my younger sister, I've been pushed into a direction of contemplating the truths about real love. Additionally, when people ask me about my love life (of which I have little to divulge), after I tell them I think that some people just aren't meant to have true love, they scoff at the notion.

Yet, these are the people who will tell you that finding that one someone who treasures you and will valiantly do anything to be by your side, with whom you share a common mind and mutual attraction, is a rare and special gem. Still, these same people seem to think that, for the single folk, love is "just around the next corner!"

Well, which is it? Either love is rare and special, or it's a dime a dozen. My money is going to be on the former, or else it's not worth having at all. If every day I can hop out of bed, walk the dog and find the man of my dreams, well, then, bah, it's a joke.

Mathematician Peter Backus at Warwick University cleverly used the Drake Formula (an astronomy formula that calculated the number of possible highly evolved civilizations within our galaxy), to calculate his chances at finding true love in London. His estimated calculation was 1 in 285,000, and that was not counting the number of women who would actually like him back. I guess that math is one way to look at it, but still, I think, too many wildcards there for it to have any true accuracy.

Still, a person has to actually meet these other potential mates somewhere. Let's face it, how often do post 30-somethings mingle outside of their own social circles? Plus, in big cities where everyone pretty much keeps to themselves, there's not much of a shot of chatting up some random in public. So, we join "singles" sites and activities, searching in narrow channels for that one special goldfish to escape from the proverbial sea of regular fish and swim our way.

Plus, let's be honest, some of us have better chances of attracting and keeping a person than others, whether it's our care in physical appearance, our emotional wholeness and well-being, or our ability to commit ourselves to another person. If we are not ready to receive someone amazing, then it doesn't matter if that person throws him or herself at us. Some people ruin it with their own emotional weaknesses, and other times people are too self-involved to recognize it.

However, even if we know we are whole, and well, and we put on our best sparkling smiles and do everything right,  love can still pass us by, or maybe we meet the right person and they aren't emotionally whole yet. It seems as though everything has to be in perfect alignment for the cogs of love to start churning.  And, even if they do seem to work perfectly at first, life can wear on them, knock them out of alignment, and eventually cause a breakdown.

What I've observed about people who seem to truly be in love and who seem to be lasting is that they don't carry an idealized image of love and the other person in their back pocket. Sometimes the other person may do things that drive them fruit-batty, but, what they have decided, somewhere deep down within them, is that they absolutely, without question, love that person. That person is THEIR PERSON, the one that they can depend on, the one who knows them the best, the one who can wordlessly make everything okay again after an argument, the one with whom they share the most precious of memories, secrets and inside jokes. In spite of tough times, there's a mutual appreciation and an understanding that this couple is in it together. Lasting love requires a lot of emotional strength.

(Sure, there are some people who get together and stay together unhappily because they don't have the emotional strength to bail out. I'm not even discussing these folks. I'm talking about true love.)

At any rate, when I look up at a vast expanse of stars, shining in the vacuous night sky, I think, maybe, to me, a teeny speck on a teeny planet, 1 in 285,000 seems like impossible odds, but, in the universe of infinite possibilities, those odds probably seem pretty lucky.

I guess it all depends on you (and the size of your universe, of course).

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