How to Pick a Lover

Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?
—Frank Scully

The process of picking a lover is a process of prediction and projection. You think: “If I were to have Robert as a lover, how would he be? Would we fit well together? Would he make me happy? How would being with Robert compare with being with Michael? Who knows?”


Cupid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No one knows. It isn’t that we are left with an inexact science. We have no science at all. Cupid is, by definition, capricious and sometimes mischievously puts together two people who are complete opposites of each other. The most unlikely couples can be blissfully happy, drawn together by a magnetic attraction no one else can understand.

On the other hand, sometimes a marriage which seems made in heaven is, in fact, a private hell for the man and woman involved. Richard Needham, a former Canadian humor columnist for the Globe and Mail, puts it well when he points out, “You never know the truth about anyone else’s marriage; you only know the truth about your own, and you know exactly half of that.” Generalizations based on experience and common sense can suggest that some kinds of men are probably a better bet than others. There are guidelines about the kinds of men who might make better lovers for you than others. Alas, there are no guarantees.

Each man and woman is a complex individual; each relationship unfolds under unique circumstances. Since predictions must be made without the aid of a crystal ball, any advice which can be given is less than crystal clear. You could have selected some men for all the right reasons, men who had all the right attributes. Nevertheless, your choice led to a disastrous affair because something unforeseen happened. He crashed his car or lost his job or succumbed to a numbing midlife depression or encountered some other hazard no one could have predicted.

Or as often happens with young marriages, the man you picked may have been exactly right for you at the time, and then you grew up and changed your mind—or he did.

Sharing the experiences and perspectives of others will not give you absolute answers about what you should do next. It will, however, give you something to ponder as you sit by the phone, waiting for it to ring. Or in a bolder mood, as you scroll through your Blackberry or iphone address book, trying to decide whose number to call.

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