Valentine’s Day greetings
Did you wake up to a Champagne breakfast in bed served up by your loved one sporting a single red rose and purr with smug satisfaction at finding your one true love, or did you grumble your way through your usual cup of tea and wonder silently where Brad Pitt was when they were dishing out life partners?
Interflora seems to have been caught up in traffic, so in the meantime I’ll just share some Valentine’s Day news from the American Association for the Advancement of Science as reported in today’s Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/feb/13/self-discovery-marriage-psychologist-suffocation-model.
The gist of the research, carried out by the wonderfully named Eli Finkel, director of social psychology at Northwestern University in Illinois, seems to be that our heads haven’t kept up –evolutionarily speaking – with our hearts. Back in the 19th century, when pickings were slimmer and opportunities for finding Mr or Ms Right were limited by how far you could travel on your one Sunday afternoon a week, you settled for the boy or girl next door and just hoped they were able to help you keep snow off the roof and food on the table.
Fast forward a couple of hundred years and not only is the world our lobster – search engine-wise – but our expectations have grown out of all proportion to what is readily available. We no longer feel satisfied by a partner who will keep a roof over our head and help put food on the table. We want a soulmate – someone who will join us in our “voyage of self-discovery”. Unsurprisingly, according to Dr Finkel, that takes far more time and effort than most of us are able to commit to. Result? Disappointment and fewer successful marriages.
If our heads and hearts had kept pace all would be fine – we’d either still be perfectly happy making do with the romantic version of fish and chips with the boy or girl next door. The trouble is that thanks to films, books, technology and time, our hearts are developing an appetite for M&S style dinners for two that our Lidl heads can’t deliver.
Is he right? Are we, in our search for a soulmate setting ourselves up for an inevitable fall? Could a long-term soulmate actually exist for everyone? Are we fooling ourselves with the search for something that doesn’t exist or committing ourselves to niggling unhappiness with unreasonable expectations of hearts and flowers with our long-term partner? I for one think it’s time to find happiness with someone who can keep the wolf from the door and the floods where they belong, outside.
Which reminds me, I must chase that roofer, the gutter’s leaking again.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn