STILL SINGLE IN THE DIGITAL AGE?

A few weeks ago I woke up to a trend whereby a woman was either a banana, pineapple, strawberry, cherry, well… pumpkin? Now, that got me thinking…okay, it does not take much to get me thinking. Life for the 21st century human is at its easiest. The digital age has made life so easy it is almost boring, which is why we are all here in Facebook, because we are dying for some action. In the current world, you can work from home, order food to be delivered in your doorstep, have access to 3000 TV channels, chat up a hot prospect, withdraw/deposit money from your bank, and find answers to life’s most difficult mysteries…..and you can do all this without stepping outside.

You see life in the 21st Century has become ridiculously easy EXCEPT WHEN IT COMES TO RELATIONSHIPS. Buying and selling-easy, accessing good health- a walk in the park, travelling across the world- in a flash, but starting and maintaining a healthy relationship- impossible. It does not matter whether you are married or single, relationships are an impossible task for most modern folk. They just can’t..

You should keep in mind that most of the barriers that used to make relationships hard to pursue have mostly been brought down. For example, you can communicate with anyone across the world, you can start relationships with people from any tribe or race, social status is no longer an issue, and higher levels of education mean people are more understanding than ever before. So why are relationships the hardest accomplishments of the digital age? Why is that in such an open field most people are finding themselves alone?

I know everyone has an answer to this question, but in my view, the reason modern relationships are suffering is because even though everything about life has changed…the essence of a relationship between a man and woman remains a mystery. Now class, pay close attention because things get more complex from here. In the history of relationships, the only two factors that kept people together were either because there was no way out (religions and most cultures often made divorce a scandal) or if the two people had an attraction that went beyond the physical realm (we are talking about ‘spiritual’ connections). Now, if you look around you will realize that only one of these factors has survived the digital age. People are no longer compelled to stick to each other for cosmetic reasons such as religion, laws, social expectations etc etc. We are all as free as butterflies and if you are not….you definitely missed the memo.

We should explore a few examples here. A hundred years ago people got into relationships because women wanted to be associated with a man…get his name, and henceforth a sense of belonging. On the other hand, relationships were relatively easy for men in that patriarchal society, so there was no reason you could not get a wife, or two, or ten. Fast forward fifty years later and women got married because they wanted men who could take them to the next level. African men who could read and write, speak English, and had prospects of getting government jobs. Outside the ‘marriage model’ of relationships, being a single mother or a known womanizer would get you judged/gossiped about or earn you a letter of rejection from most churches. Fifty years ago, if you were not getting married, what else were you doing? Then came the 80’s and 90’s and every woman went for the rich man and every man was keen to avoid dying of AIDs. Basically, in the past people kind of did not have a choice but to be in whatever was considered to be the ‘legitimate’ relationships of their time. This means it was wayy riskier to make a choice then, because choices had serious consequences unlike today.

Here we are, in the digital age where men and women are equal, nobody judges a single mother/father, diseases are easier to avoid when living alone, promiscuity is just a cool way of life, and all other traditions have been long buried. Considering all these and other facts, what is the motivation for someone to stay in a committed relationship? Money? Status? Parental pressure? ‘social pressure? The fact is that for a modern relationship to survive, it just needs more than the basics. So it is not anyone’s fault that every single person wants that ‘spiritual’ kind of relationship. You know, the one that can survive the sponsor craze, the DMs, the pokes, the Whatsapps, the yellow yellows, the need for likes, the cheap ones in Luthuli, the Socialites, easy access to porn, and the daily economic struggles of an average family.

What is more, everyone ‘knows’ a good functional relationship that has beat the odds (thanks to social media exposure and lying magazines)….and we all want one like that. Petty we! Yes, We all want our better halves…till death do us part. But here is the twist, most of those ‘spiritual’ relationships that can survive the digital-age shenanigans only exist on the principal of DUALITY. This is nature’s secret to achieving balance. For example, light and darkness, cold and hot, rain and drought, calm waters and sea storms, etc. Duality is the principle that keeps our universe intact. For instance, pour too much rain on this earth and its breaks down…the same result when the sun shines too much on this joint. Just like a universe that survives a myriad of issues aided by duality, a relationship can be largely influenced by the same.

How is duality manifested in a relationship you ask? Duality means that when you have two halves of the same thing, it means that the material in one cannot be in the other. Basically, you want a little bit of anything in this one relationship so that it can become whole. A talkative person is completed by a quiet one, a lazy person is completed by a busy bee, a poor planner is put together with a meticulous one, a people lover gets the opposite etc etc. It also means that at one time in your life you might be attracted to someone whom you have close to zero in common with. That person will drive you crazy but you will find it hard to accommodate them or walk away from them. However, if you are just irresponsible and thoughtless enough to pursue this relationship, you might end up with a fairly-tale relationship. The problem is that no single person ever wishes to fall in love with someone who is totally different from him/her. Everyone wants ‘someone who gets me’ or ‘someone who is easy to get along with’. Okay, does the heat get the cold, do the high tides get the low ones, and do the mountains get the ocean? The answer is yes and no…they have to because none can exist without the other but none can fully understand the other. 
 
Back to the digital era folk, they have a tendency to want things easy. That is why they are likely to miss out on the benefits of these enduring types of relationships. If you look around, you will notice that your grandmother does not have anything major in common with your grandpa…yet they have been together for 60+ years. The thing is that back in the 1940s, all it took to marry a person was that you liked him/her and there was a genuine attraction between two people (and it had to be really natural and strong enough to be risk-worthy). Today, it is even hard for an Arsenal supporter and a Man U fan to get together, despite their attraction. Yes, modern people are really good at ignoring what is natural and embracing things that are fake just because they look good or are appealing to the masses. Even though the digital age has left the field wide open, the folks themselves have put up a thousand and one barriers, purely based on their egos and expectations. Duality means you will fall in love with a dumb person, like a person who has different beliefs, have an irresistible urge to move in with a jackass, contemplate starting a family with a drama queen etc etc. That is the reality of a higher form of life…one that goes beyond this social-media/digital-age nonsense. So you should bail on the fantasies before it is too late, bring down those barriers one by one. Nevertheless, it is important to point out that most great relationships often start by accident!!!