Every magazine rack, every “best seller” list, and nearly every news source’s home page has at least one headline referring to love or sex in some way. We are relational, sexual beings and we apparently can’t stop thinking about it. However, with all the minutes, money, and mind bending dedicated to the question, why do so few of us seem to find the answer? Some experts would say that the reason we don’t find the fulfillment we’re looking for in relationships is that we’re not meant to. At least, not in the way most people approach them. The majority of us enter into relationships, both platonic and sexual, looking at everything through a lens of self-benefit. Essentially, we begin by asking the question “What do I get out of this?”, and then proceed from there. The problem is that that sets up the entire relationship in terms of cost/benefit and pros/cons. Someone may make you feel on top of the world, so they rank highly on the list. They make you laugh, or are wildly attractive to you, or show you the attention you desire, so they fulfill your criteria and are therefore worthy of you staying in the relationship.
The issues arise when the other person no longer provides the service you were hanging around for. What happens when, instead of making your toes curl, the other person starts making your skin crawl? What happens if, for some reason beyond their control, they cease to bring joy, attraction, or attention? What then? That is when most relationships turn from making you feel fulfilled to making you feel alone and dis-satisfied, and who wants to be stuck in a trap like that, right?So, what, then, is the number one way to find fulfillment in sex and love? Well, as counter-intuitive and illogical as it may seem right off the bat, the answer is to stop looking for fulfillment in sex and love. Wait! Before you click out, allow me to explain.
The bottom line is that relationships of any kind do not work out well when looked at as personal ATM’s for our gain. This goes for everything from workplace relationships and friendships to marriage and sex. As long as you view human interaction in terms of personal gratification, you will always be unfulfilled and disappointed. Always.
Put simply, no other human on this planet exists in order to make sure YOU are happy. If you are waiting for anyone to “complete you”, as Jerry Maguire so mistakenly put it, you will wait until you die. No one else can do that. No one. Ever. Any time you put a fellow human being at the top of a checklist for your fulfillment, the relationship cannot succeed. Such actions will, as a famous religious leader once put it, “cast a permanent shadow over the relationship”. Essentially, you will be searching and waiting for something, sexual or not, that no relationship can give.’ When you do so, you cease viewing the other person as a person and begin seeing them as an object, which does violence to their very nature.
So, again, how do we find the fulfillment we're looking for? Learn to truly give. To clarify, I don’t mean starting to do nice things in order that you will receive something nice in turn. Sorry to say, that is not giving. That is like giving a birthday present in the hopes that the other person will give you an even better one. Thinking of love and sex in this way is, in essence, like giving a certain amount of money for a car you want to buy, or working a certain amount of hours at your job in exchange for an agreed upon dollar amount. It is transactional and does not respect the human person, and therefore, it cannot satisfy.
However, I can say, with a high degree of personal experience and certainty, that when you stop looking at the list of what you can get from someone, and start looking at how you can give to him or her, not for what you’ll get back, but just because of who that person is, you will find yourself coming alive in ways you didn’t know you were dead. When you give to someone with no strings attached, just because they’re worth it, you stop worrying about being fulfilled at all. THEN, and only then, you can finally begin to truly love someone.