In 1985 when Spanish author Gabriel Garcia Marquez penned his mid and turn of the century novel Love in the Time of Cholera, he'd never heard of COVID - 19.
When Lorenzo Daza first discovers the blossoming young love of his daughter Fermina and Fiorentino Ariza he separates them by moving in with his deceased wife's family in another city.
He was likely not concerned about microbial dangers posed by their love.
He wanted them separated for more traditional ones.
"Fathers are fathers" that never changes!
The novel takes place during a time when Cholera was rampant. Throughout the years millions died from this devastating bacterial disease. It still exists, but thankfully there is now treatment for Cholera.
Every age has its own medical crises as our difficulty controlling COVID -19 demonstrates. As the world struggles to cope with this pandemic, many are finding themselves forced into temporary isolation providing time for self-exploration. Love, dating and relationships are common topics for reflection.
Navigating the minefield of dating and hopefully finding love has never been easy. Many factors contribute to creating and nurturing healthy, loving relationships. In The Death of Dating, I wrote the following to start readers on the road to building a fulfilling relationship:
Begin with this 4-part question:
- Who defines you?
- Who do you let define you?
- Who do you think should define you?
- Who do you want to define you?
The Answer, "You!"
One cause of dating unhappiness is listening to others. Well-meaning friends and family often project and thrust their values, perceptions and opinions on you. These serve to trap and repress your own thoughts making it hard to reflect and discover the inner-you. Sometimes, you simply have to nicely tell them, "back off."
Their suggestions and approval may momentarily feel good. But for sustainability ONLY self-love and understanding brings long lasting satisfaction and pleasure.
How the Coronavirus is Inadvertently Providing an Opportunity for Self-Reflection!
This may sound a bit off the wall. Allow me to explain.
As recently as twenty-five years ago the social media meet-up experience was basically a blip on the landscape. In fact, the movie You've Got Mail released in 1998 using AOL chat rooms was a real eye opener for many. It was a remake of 1940's The Shop Around the Corner which used newspaper personal ads as a way to meet and fall in love.
The bottom line for both was the hope of finding someone, with the goal of meeting them in person. Perhaps, starting with a cup of coffee and then moving on from there. That's still pretty much the basic goal of meeting someone today.
When I refer to the inadvertent opportunity of the Coronavirus in terms of self-reflection I'm alluding to the above mentioned reality that you'll likely be spending more "alone time" than usual.
Due in large part to social media, we're used to long periods of communication without physically meeting potential partners. However, this is usually through choice, not the need for isolation and minimization of human contact because of a universal crisis.
Dating apps, Instagram, Facebook and many more can all lead to texting or engaging in dialog that helps you really get to know someone before a face-to-face meet. Almost every generation is using some form of social media in their efforts to find a partner.
Twenty-five years ago, the thought of prolonged written communication was not really a part of the dating experience. Now, it's very common and most of us are comfortable with it as a way of meeting a companion. I believe there has been real value-added in getting to know someone long before you meet them.
In terms of the immediate future none of us knows the ramifications of the coronavirus. There's likely to be lots of stress, sadness, heartache and loss. Some will be left with emotional scars. Eventually, as with all tragic events the pain will dissipate even if it doesn't disappear entirely.
In dating we have control over the process but not always the results. With COVID 19 we also can't control the end result. However, just like with dating we can be proactive and engage in behaviors that will ultimately ensure a more positive outcome.
Many of us will be spending lots of time "distancing" from others. Perhaps we will be alone for many more hours than we are used to. This can be very uncomfortable. However, mindfully channeling adversity as positively as possible serves to strengthen us and often adds new levels of self-understanding that serve our needs very well in the long run.
I'm suggesting we take a negative situation and try and wring some positive benefit. One area in which we can do this is dating introspection. Engage in some Mind Acrobatic™ preparation exercises, become more mindful, grateful and personally-aware. Expend optimistic energy as you discover your own rewarding personal truths!
Use this unanticipated "alone time" to explore and learn. Deeper self-acceptance and understanding of our emotions enables us to better recognize, give and receive true love. Without this, dating is often an effort in futility.
Most importantly, we must love and respect ourselves (warts and all.) Without self-love we can never truly share love with another!
Modern medicine will find a way to prevent the coronavirus. It's just a matter of time. We all hope this pandemic ends soon and must work together to help prevent its spread.
Meanwhile, let's all think about how we can help others weather the crisis and "look-inside ourselves" to discover a world of hidden inner-strength.
Below the trailer for The Shop Around the Corner - dating in the 1940's
(Article changed on March 17, 2020 at 05:37)