In a time full of social media, online interaction, cheap flights, tinder and prolonged mortality; the question of having a one-and-only lifetime love seems more improbable than ever.
When I was a kid, I felt a bit sorry for my mum because she was the “alleinstehende Mutter” a.k.a. single mum. “Alleinstehende” means in literally German translation: a person standing alone, and that’s how I usually saw her. I saw my mum standing alone on my first day of school, alone at my first theater recital, alone on my prom night. And I felt like her whole life time was passing her by and she had nobody to share it with. When I was a kid 50-year-olds seemed close to death to me. My mum is now 56 and very much alive, talking about her most recent dates and enjoying her life to the fullest. Dating in your late 50s is super different than what it used to be and probably very different from what it will be for our generation.
If my mum decides that her new catch and she are a really good match, they might stay together for another 30 or 40 years. Comparing that amount of time to my childhood, when I felt sorry for my mom being along, I realize my childhood was only a fraction of her lifetime. It sounds almost silly that I pitied her during those years. Meanwhile, so many “stable” relationships from my childhood have vanished, people got divorced and started new lives apart.
A few days ago I went to breakfast with a good friend of mine. I asked him how he feels about his age and if he feels any pressure when it comes to age and fulfilling his dreams. According to this sweet IT unicorn guy, we are all going to live for at least 120 to 150 years. With this time frame in mind, the idea of being with somebody for ever and ever seems very naïve. And using the opposite rationale, our grandparents were happy to spend their lives with one person, when the average life span was 60 years old. If our lifespan was still hovering around 60 years old, my mum would be literally in the last four years of her life. With our average lifespan expected to exceed 100 years, it seems almost impossible to stay just with one person for your entire life, isn’t it?
All this speculation brings me to a new concept – love for now.
"Love for now" is about finding the best possible partner that will fulfill all the needs you have, for now. It’s continuing the casual dating pattern that you practiced in adolescents but as a mature adult. Love, for now, doesn’t have to be represented by a guy who enjoys traveling as much as you do when you are in your early 20s. Love for now can be somebody who gives you enough space, that you might need for your career in your 30s. It could also be a person you can imagine raising kids with. Love for now can last two months or maybe 20 years. Yes, it might be totally ridiculous and selfish concept, I admit it, but also more true and sustainable than finding/choosing love forever. Love for now shouldn’t be about using a different person. It should be about spending your life with somebody who is the best choice, for now, and not feeling sad or guilty when that time is over. We are constantly changing, so dramatically at times that keeping in-step with somebody else might be very challenging or unattainable.
Being present in your love life actually gives you the chance to appreciate the perfect person you are with right now, cherish him or her and not taking him or her for granted, because you might know in the back of your head that this person won’t be here forever and there is so much for both of you to learn from each other.