This one’s not really a problem. It’s more of a philosophical question. Can you help me answer it for him?
Q: Hi Meredith --
I enjoy your columns & chats. I would like to know why singles in their 20s and 30s cling to this outdated romanticized notion of "finding your perfect match and spending the rest of your life with them" when the reality is, that idea fails 50% of the time. I understand this idea is constantly promoted throughout popular culture & the media, but in any other field, a process with a 50% failure rate would be discarded in favor of something better. Would anyone ever seriously consider making other important decisions in their life by flipping a coin? Of course not. So why don't people wake up to the truth? Or is it, as Jack Nicholson said, they "can't handle the truth"?
-- Just Wondering
A: Hi Just Wondering. So, you’re not so hot on love these days. Anything you want to tell us? Recent break-up, perhaps?
I don't have the most recent divorce statistics in front of me, but let’s say you’re right. Let’s say 50 percent of marriages fail. Doesn’t that mean that 50 percent succeed?
It’s true -- most romantic relationships end. That doesn’t mean those experiences aren’t worth having. Would you suggest that people don’t have long-term relationships? That they begin every relationship with an exit plan? You say "a process with a 50% failure rate would be discarded in favor of something better." Um, what other process would you recommend?
I’m with you – I think most people have over-romanticized the soul-mate concept, and that movies with perfect, happy endings have warped our expectations. That said – it’s human nature to want a partner. To want security. To want commitment.
I don’t think you can compare participating in an adult relationship to flipping a coin.
Lighten up, Just Wondering. It’s Valentine’s Eve.