Sooner or later, we all ask ourselves the same questions. Who am I? Where am I headed, and who I am headed there with? The latter question has to do with our choice of friends, but also relationships.
One problem is that being in a relationship is an important decision that requires a lot of thought. Though perceptions are changing and getting more open, the prevailing idea is that everyone wants to be in a relationship. Society tells you that if someone isn’t in a relationship, it’s because they aren’t capable or desirable enough.
What are you looking for in a significant other?
Social desirability makes you feel inclined to show your best self to the person you love. This causes your brain to produce a substance called phenylethylamine. Phenylethylamine is a neurotransmitter that fulfills important functions in the body. One of those is increasing your motivation to work with others. Another is inhibiting the feeling of hunger.
So, you could say social desirability is the need of a participant in an experiment to please the person running the experiment. They want to do what is expected of them or whatever they can to achieve the desired results for the researchers.
On a practical level, it means that you try to please everyone and only show your good side. You might even wear a mask in front of other people. When it comes to choosing someone who could become your significant other, there are other factors to consider.
It isn’t just psychological factors that come into play. There are also plenty of myths and false beliefs. These beliefs about relationships are said so much that they become reality. They have the potential to make relationships quite difficult.
False beliefs influence what you look for in a partner
Said beliefs have to do with everything from sharing a life together, to sexuality, love, children, etc… There isn’t a single facet of our lives that is free of myths. Unfortunately, our ignorance makes them appear truer than they are.
Here are some examples of these myths: “If the love we have is real, the sex we have will always be wonderful…I will be the best lover that you’ve ever had…Love can do all and forgive all.”
Do these sound familiar? “If there’s no jealousy in the relationship, it’s because we don’t really love each other… Toughness is one of the most important masculine values… We can’t break up, we belong to one another!”
The myth of the soulmate
The myth that claims that soulmates exist is extremely persistent. But it has more negative consequences than positive ones. Searching for a soulmate implies that you are incomplete by yourself. It implies that you need someone else to be happy. The idea of a soulmate would mean that we are fragmented beings. In that context, it is your partner’s responsibility to fulfill all your needs and make up for your defects.
The myth of the soulmate, or the “other half,” makes it seem like the other person’s job is to complete you. Likewise, if your partner is incomplete, it’s your job to make them happy. However, in trying to do so you will probably end up making each other even less complete.
It’s emotionally difficult to live with someone and get along with them on a sexual, psychological, social, economic, and spiritual level. Life is full of choices and often we choose to complain constantly about not having the ideal partner.
Let’s put this to the test. Think about all the things that are a problem for you in a relationship. They probably have to do with not wanting to lose what you have or wanting something that you don’t have. So how do we know that? Well, it’s not a magic trick; that is just how most people respond.
Complaining about not having the partner you want has several facets. Here are some of them:
- Your family and social environment taught you to be dissatisfied with your relationships.
- Emotional deficiencies
- The way that you explain the things that happen in your life. We often blame other people for our choices and don’t take responsibility for our decisions. It can be very scary to take responsibility for yourself. Instead, you try to solve other people’s problems.
- You place the burden of happiness on your significant other. That isn’t fair, because making yourself happy is a purely personal task.
- A lack of self-love. No one who is unsatisfied with themselves is going to be capable of living with someone else. Even in the best of conditions, they will focus their attention on the negative.
- Psychological, social, and cultural patterns of beauty might make you question whether you should be with your partner.
- If you idealize your partner, it will crush you when they don’t live up to your expectations. “The higher you fly, the more it hurts to fall.”
“Perfect” couples are usually just putting on appearances. They try to hide their human weakness and hide behind superficial things. Social desirability also plays an important role. Don’t forget that real partners do exist. They are flesh and blood. They have their own hopes and fears, dreams and history — just like you.