READER REPORT:

A resolution to find love

ROLAND ASKEW
Last updated 05:00 04/03/2014

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I recently made a new years resolution to find that "special one," and settle down into a committed long term relationship, preferably for the rest of my life.

This probably sounds like the start of a really bad joke. It isn't, at least that's my hope.

As a middle-aged man, I haven't spent that much time in my life looking for someone to love. I've had my stage of "chasing tail" when I was younger (often pointlessly or with a complete lack of intelligence to the point of comedy).

I've had some friendships with women which could have developed into something more but never did (usually they had to go back overseas).

I tried bars and nightclubs, but my inability to dance and unwillingness to play the pickup game meant I spent my night alone (many thanks to the bartender at Taupo's Holy Cow for her pouring skills, though).

Some say nature works her magic when you are being yourself - the most when it comes to love. I wonder if it's more like the bus system - you wait and wait then several show up at once.

When I gave up on dating games, I found myself happier, more confident, if sometimes lonely. I focused on friends and enjoyable experiences.

After moving back to Auckland and beginning a new career and education, it was only then I had my first girlfriend.

Casual, messy, and ultimately it fell apart under immaturity and drama on both our parts.

I had situations that blurred the lines between dating and friendship meetings and one or two women practically offering themselves to me on a first or second date (always a bad idea).  

They say there's a man drought in New Zealand. I saw old statistics saying there's more women than men. I imagine for rural people or those living in small tight-knit towns, numbers, availability and opportunities to meet are genuine issues. But oddly here in Auckland, by my own experience, I'd say it's equally hard for men.

There are lots of men, I've noticed, on dating sites, singles meets, and other places. Some of those I've talked to say they have encountered either apathy or petty standards. That said, some women I've asked say men come on too strong online in their opening messages, or look unpresentable, or show bad habits or other putoffs.

It seems dating remains a first-impressions theatre, unfortunately, and modern demands and pace of life may make it even harder. Yet people still try. We are social beings, dreamers, lovers, givers and needers.

Our paradox is only ourselves (and possibly God) can make us feel loved and whole, yet we are incomplete without another more special than anyone else.

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Where on earth was my story going? I think it shows there is more luck and chance in finding someone special than we like to think.

Perhaps we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Situations in which others see us as we really are and bring out our better qualities, are where we are more likely to find a good partner.

It gets harder to find love with age (I may yet be proven wrong). It also depends as much on the effort and thoughtfulness we put in, and above all how ready we, them and the moment is.

A psychologist once told me: "Relationships are roughly half nurturing yourself and half nurturing another."

A possibly unstable stranger said: "Love is a grown-up freudian reliving of the first connections with family."

A musician once said: "Be thankful for what you've got."

A prophet once said: "Love your neighbour as you love yourself."

Yoda said: "There is no try." 

A zen master said: "The bird of joy does not alight on the hand that grasps."

I've got no idea how that helps, but they seem the best lines to close with. Or Frank Sinatra's: "That's amore."


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