ON SPIRITUALITY AND ETHICS
“A relationship is not a possession,
it is a process.”
Barbara DeAngelis, Ph.D.
Are you seeking a “soul mate”? If so, you have plenty of company.
The internet offers many possibilities for dating. For the uninitiated, two of the most popular websites are match.com and eharmony.com. The former prompts subscribers to write a profile depicting their appearance, interests, lifestyle and values. Photos can be posted as well as a description of a person’s ideal date.
The most interesting aspect is the extended narrative describing each person and the type of person they would like to date. Some people use laundry lists for what they offer or seek: compassion, humor, intelligence and romance are often mentioned. The most common request is for honesty. It’s amazing how many people do not like to play games!
Some reveal more about themselves than they may think. I still occasionally find profiles in which women confess their addiction to romance novels or their requirement that someone “sweep me off my feet.” The power of fairy tales is evident. So in my profile I summarize, “my deal breakers are smoking hedonists with a Cinderella complex!”
While some are needy, others are greedy. One woman posts a stunning photo and says she is looking for a man who wants to “share his abundant finances with me.” She specifies that she will only date men who make at least $100,000 a year. She also claims she is quite spiritual.
Others are articulate and witty. One woman describes herself as a “creative, non-linear thinker with restless intelligence.” Another attractive woman confesses she would not mind finding a man with grown children because she wants to be a loving and nurturing grandmother.
For those with a more scientific bent, eharmony.com offers four opportunities to learn more about a person before conversing—though a “fast track” email option is also available. The goal is to discover those who are compatible on many levels. This approach has merit. The downside is that it requires patience to select and complete the various questions.
So you sift through the profiles, write, talk and decide to meet someone. You have a wonderful date. Where do you go from here?
I have a suggestion. Pick up a good book on relationships. I appreciate Barbara DeAngelis’ paperback, Are You the One for Me? Her opening chapter, “Love is not enough,” debunks the myths that the perfect partner meets all your needs and that love-at-first-sight determines your destiny. She advises alertness for subtle warning signs of trouble rather than dismissing them for the sake of harmony.
Other helpful chapters discuss the types of relationships that won’t work and the “fatal flaws” of some potential partners. Among the latter are people who are controlling, often angry or struggling with addiction.
DeAngelis also suggests steering clear of people who habitually blame others for their problems. She wisely contrasts the responses of those with “victim consciousness” with others who claim their power. The victim laments, “Why is this happening to me?” while the powerful person asks, “Why is this happening, and how can I change it?”
I also like DeAngelis’ ideas for deepening commitment. Rather than making the leap from exclusive dating to engagement, she suggests an interim agreement to work together toward partnership. She reassures those who struggle with fear of commitment based on their past experiences. It’s not commitment that brings pain; it’s commitment to the wrong person. Find the right person, she states, and you will experience liberation rather than imprisonment.
Finally, DeAngelis concludes that seeking a life partner is a sacred process with tremendous potential for spiritual growth. She suggests we not “fall in love” but seek a journey in which we “ascend in love.” Her conclusion is noteworthy: “Love is a doorway into the divine. So choose your traveling companion with great care, since it is into his or her eyes that you will be gazing to catch a glimpse of God.”
©2004 Harry Rix. All rights reserved.
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