Can't Buy Me Love Continued-The "Checklist Syndrome"

Read some research on a no-brainer this morning - that money can't buy happiness in a relationship.

From an article by Karen Salmansohn, best selling author with titles like "How to Be Happy Dammit" and "Gut: How to Think from the Middle to Get to the Top":

"Consistently studies show that individuals who prioritize wealth over close human connection tend to be less happy--and this is consistent in every culture. Sociological researcher H. W. Perkins surveyed 800 college alumni, and discovered that those who reported "yuppie values" (preferring high income, job success, and status over enjoying truly close friendships and highly-connected love relationships) were twice as likely to describe themselves as 'fairly' or 'very' unhappy.
"Interestingly, a similar correlation appeared among 7,167 college students surveyed in 41 countries. Those who prioritized love over money reported higher life satisfaction than their money-obsessed pals."

Yeah, okay, it's a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised, nonetheless, at the way so many people enter into relationships or go about looking for a partner. I call it the "checklist syndrome," and it's not just about money. The checklist syndrome is particularly endemic in "rigid character structure" types and those with narcissistic personalities. You know who I mean, right? It's the guy who insists on finding a woman of a specific age and weight with a particular distribution of body parts and hair color. Or the woman determined to have a child with... somebody who might make a good father. It's the person who wants to be the "special person of a special person" in order to make their life complete.

In other words, we're talking about anybody who places superficial characteristics above Eros, that energetic attraction otherwise known as "falling in love."

"Well," someone's mother might say, "it's just as easy to love a rich man as it is to love a poor man." Right? Yes, mom, but what you're really suggesting is that you can determine who you are going to fall in love with from a calculated, mental place, which only tells me, mom, that you've either never been in love, or forgotten what it feels like to be in love, or you do remember but you've given up on it. Three rather sad scenarios. Better that you don't advise your daughters at all than pass on that lie.

One of the main characteristics of falling in love is the element of surprise, and one of the main characteristics of people who sustain Eros in a relationship is that they do the challenging work of exposure and revelation. Yes, I do talk and write about this a lot. Why? Because I've never met anyone who is truly happy who doesn't have Eros in their life. Just as we create our reality from the inside out, we become healthy, wealthy and wise by operating from Eros outward. The "pursuit of happiness," in other words, is the pursuit of Eros.

Am I extolling the virtue of poverty here, or saying that material wealth isn't a desirable thing? Am I saying that wanting to have kids isn't a valid yearning? No way. Absolutely not. What I am saying is that pursuing wealth or parenthood for their own sakes rather than attracting those things from a place of fulfillment in love, as an outgrowth or "overflow" of Eros, is doomed to failure if one's main desire is happiness. And if one's main desire in life isn't happiness, well, then the no-brainer is to think one could still be happy.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, folks. Not just the foundation of a good country, but of a good life. And it starts with good love, Eros and sex.

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