When you’ve been as happily married, for as long as I have, people inevitably turn to you for advice on their love life. I am, of course, the worst possible person to ask for advice. I have no idea what it’s like out there in dateland. Although, I do know loads of single guys and gals all looking for their own Mrs or Mr Right. Maybe I should set up my own dating agency and introduce them all to one another? No, it’s been awhile since I tried my hand at matchmaking and I’ve learned my lesson. Generally, the only thing these people have in common is me. Besides do you really want to hear all the grubby details from both sides? Exactly, leave well alone is my motto.
Instead, I strive to be supportive, inject some humour into the situation but mostly I listen. Sometimes it just helps to offload. Afterwards, you can get them to put things in perspective and look at the issues from the other person’s point of view. But, sometimes, none of that works and you just need to lend a shoulder to cry on. Inevitably, people want to know what they did wrong. In truth, they didn’t do anything wrong, the other person just didn’t care enough.
None of us are perfect, we just need to find someone who can put up with our imperfections. I often say I married my beloved because I’d found someone who could put up with me 24/7 and I’d sensibly reasoned there couldn’t be too many like him. There’s an element of truth in this. I would be the first person to acknowledge I’m not easy to live with, he’s far more easy going than me. You also need compatibility. You can have your own interests but you do need to have some in common. For example, it would be unthinkable that I’d hook up with someone who didn’t like sport. You also need to be willing to compromise: yes, the C-word. A bit of give and take goes a long way. Finally, and most importantly, you both need to care deeply about one another. Without that, none of the rest really matters.
Postscript: My beloved and I discussed this over breakfast, he feels that part of the problem is unrealistic expectations.