Swipe left, swipe right! In the age of social media and online dating, do we keep looking for the better deal? Too fast and easy to go on to the next one, in the hope that it will be better than the last one. Not to mention the fact that we have been trained to expect immediate feedback. In the old days, if you wanted to contact someone, you had to be home to use the phone, and then, if busy or no answer, you didn’t think they were avoiding you and you tried again. Now, if a text or email is not responded to right away, it creates doubt or at a minimum, interpretations. The Washington Post magazine has a section called Date Lab. I read it out of curiosity and am amazed at how many dates lead nowhere. The couple seems well-matched, had a great time, but then … nothing. This is what prompted me to write about expectations last time (Baltimoreoutloud.com/wp/are-you-expecting-too-much).
Granted there are personality types such as the Enneagram’s Type 7, the Enthusiast, the person who seeks what is new, exciting, and interesting in a quest for improvement and sometimes to avoid boredom. It is not that there are zillions of Type 7 people on dating sites. I do believe that culturally, social media has affected us all in what it offers, and it promotes, whether you spend 15 minutes a day or check your feed 87 times a day. The glut of information available, the ease with which we can access it and answer questions that pop into our heads surely has made an impact on how we seek relationships.
So, what is the way out? How do you indeed choose a partner? I get the question of how one knows he/she is “the one.” Well, first of all, that is a fallacy. If it were true, it would be like a needle in a haystack in all the peoples of the world and there would be very few relationships. We choose a person, most of the time on the basis of chemistry, or because they fit what we think will make us happy, and then expect it to lead to happiness ever after. Good connections take work. For that work, we need to look at ourselves first, assess who we are, what our strong and weak points are, and then consider what we want to compliment those. What do you offer to the other? What do you want from the other? Then you have to focus on the communication, the trust, the honesty and finally, the complementarity of your traits. Accepting one’s self comes first, to be strengthened and reciprocated by tolerance for the partner’s strong and weak points.
Think of how many hours you put in at work, so you can perform well and excel. How much effort do you devote to the relationship? How accepting are you of your beloved, and equally important, how accepting is he/she of you? I am not suggesting settling for what is compromising of yourself and your beliefs. I am, however, saying that it takes two to tango (yes, corny!) and at the heart of the relationship is knowing that your grass is green and searching for the greener is wasting time.
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.
Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577