In the words of Victorian poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson: “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”. And so does a woman’s. Some things never change, and this phenomenon is as old as time. Many factors contribute to making spring the season of romance:
Perennially, we humans come out of our winter “hibernation”, in sync with the warmer weather. We are ready to turn off the remote control, put the junk food aside, and drink in the natural beauty that springtime affords us.
There are things that occur within us, physiologically, when winter turns to spring. The change in the sun’s rays, for example, gives our brains a mental and emotional lift. Additionally, according to neuroscientist and Rutgers professor Helen Fischer, dopamine, a brain chemical which makes us desire things, is in abundance this time of year. Dopamine is often triggered by new experiences, and spring provides a panoply of new sounds, sights and smells.
Better weather ushers in scantier clothing – a phenomenon that easily gets the attention of the opposite sex.
These factors - and others - conspire to make us especially susceptible to a bite from the springtime love bug. This would be a good thing if it weren’t for one reality: Most of us put more thought into buying a new car than we do into choosing a new romantic partner. Once that chemistry thing happens, love can truly be blind. And when the romance is in full bloom it’s too late; you can discover that your new amour is a bank robber and you’ll be certain that by loving her enough you can save her from her evil ways. Is any of this sounding familiar?
Now if all you’re seeking is a spring fling - romance that will last for a season rather than a life-time - read no further. If, on the other hand, you’re searching for something more enduring, you came save yourself headaches and heartache by considering the following:
Begin by making an extensive list of the qualities/traits you’re seeking in a love interest. Be sure to list even those characteristics that may seem like givens, such as honesty or empathy. Also include those interests and abilities you’d like them to possess, e.g. athletic prowess, an appreciation for the opera, or a passion for stand-up comedy.
Now share your list with a trusted friend or advisor. Ask their help in determining, based on their knowledge of you, characteristics you may have overlooked. In my experience we inadvertently tend to omit those things that have become issues in previous relationships. For example, Dennis had dated a series of women with spending problems. When he shared his exhaustive list with me, he forgot to include “financial responsibility and solvency”!
Now separate your completed list into two categories: those characteristics that are essential vs those that are preferable. Make copies of the list and keep it on hand.
Shortly after you meet a potential love interest – and before you’ve lost all reason and objectivity - rate them on a scale of 1-10, regarding each quality or trait on your list. Even though you may not have specific information on each item go by what your gut tells you.
Finally, if your potential partner scores lower than a 5 on any of the “essential” items on your list, bow out gracefully and run for the hills. Seek the support of friends and loved ones in maintaining your resolve. With their support you’ll have saved yourself untold months and years of potential heartache. Best of all, if you can remain steadfast when springtime has you under her spell, you can surely do so the other three seasons of the year!
Springtime Romance... Proceed with Caution!
by Maud Purcell