Love Versus ‘The List’

-By Jontae Grace

At some point in your romantic journey, you will find yourself torn between what attracts you, and what is good for you.  And that is a microcosm of the way life generally works: many of the things you really like, are no good for you. And many things that are good for you, aren’t enjoyable.

    As with life, so with love. We all have a mental list of traits that we use to draw our perfect mates. What we fail to understand is that some of those behaviors clash with one another. You can’t always get strength and sensitivity in one package, or spontaneity and responsibility in one person, for example. Sometimes you find someone who has something you really want, but lacks something you need. At those times, you must choose between love, and the list.

    For romantic lovers, there’s no dilemma. They are driven by love, and seek the most genuine connection they can find. There is nothing more important than the feeling they get from their mate, that otherworldly connection of two souls. They want to be mesmerized, enchanted, totally smitten by the one they share their hearts with. I’ve had that bond with two women in my life, and it was the best feeling ever.

    Romantics believe that if they love each other correctly, their practical needs will also be fulfilled. There is evidence to support this idea, because I always tried to be my best self when I was with a particularly amazing woman. I tightened up my life, made better decisions, and lived less reckless. I naturally wanted to improve because of the respect I had for that woman.

    But romantic love doesn’t always make life better. Sometimes, you can love a person endlessly, and your practical needs can still go unfilled. I’ve been in relationships where love was not the issue- self-preservation, safety, and survival was. Behind these practical needs lay other skill sets, some of them unrelated to emotional love. They may not be the most attractive behaviors, but they help sail toward calmer seas in life. That in itself is worth loving someone over.

    I believe that you must balance your love with intelligence, and not be led by sheer emotion and desire. Some of my biggest regrets have come behind moments of passion, long-term effects from short-term thinking. Romantic love can be volatile, less reliable, and more unstable than practical love, which is more concrete, objective, and universal.

    Practical love is no less legit than fairytale love. Some people have simply decided that their material needs are more important to their happiness than feelings or sexual needs. They value a stable living situation above all else, a slow-burning candle rather than an explosion of fireworks. Who are we to say that their logic is flawed?

    At first glance, practical love may sound shallow. But I’ve learned that these lovers develop attraction from the shared experience of hustling and struggling together, slaying dragons and prevailing as a unit. Once you’ve endured hard challenges, pitfalls and tragedies, your relationship gets cemented under difficult circumstances that fair-weather individuals normally leave under. Commitment breeds respect, respect breeds desire. And what is more desirable than someone who stays down for you when you’re in less than stellar form?

    Often, you will meet people you really like, vibe with, and understand, but they will lack skills that you need to survive. You must decide if the chemistry is so special that you’d overlook the things they lack. Romantic purists will tell you that love is all you need, but that’s a statement full of loopholes. The fact that financial difficulty is the second-leading cause of divorce tells us that we must be aware of a person’s stability when deciding matters of the heart. So before you take the condom off, check their FICO score.



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