Dating at any age comes with its challenges, which only becomes more convoluted the older you get. With a wider access to seeking singles, but on a narrower playing field, it is clear to see why there are so many inherit challenges for individuals to find the right one. The previous locations for natural courtship are now replaced with the internet. Most of our social gatherings can be found online, this includes school, work, concerts, and parties. True conversations unfolding over time are now optimized by pre-screenings, compatibility testing, and googling the potential candidate’s cyber footprint. If the potential candidate makes it through the layers of filter, what is often referred to as ‘passing the bar’, then things move ahead quickly. The individuals define their terms and decide to be “the object of choice”, even if it is for the moment.
Couples choose each other based on compatibility, energy, principles, attraction, spiritual background, accessibility, career/money, personality, life goals, time commitment, supportive characteristics, physical appeal, how they treat their friends and family, if they know what they want with healthy boundaries, and so-on. However, what is most heavily weighted are often how they treat the other person, and how they make the other person feel when they are around them. Several of the above ideals can be bargained away if they are treated well and are made to feel special. Being chosen however, is not the same as being kept.
The term “kept” is mostly associated with money. According to the Urban dictionary, a kept man or woman is someone “who obtains a higher means of living through other people”. This is not what this writing is referring too here. To be kept is the step after being chosen. When you are kept, you are inside of a committed relationship, attached, reserved, set apart, taken, spoken for, covered, and wrapped in love. Your partner sees in you, their forever. They seek in you their satisfaction and pleasure. Since they no longer want to live independent from you, they make this known by marriage or by entering a form of coveted relationship.
The cascading of love over you is an amazing feeling and it is without a doubt a feeling to be cherished. Dejectedly, this is not the case for most. Somehow this experience become short-change. They meet interesting people, grow in attraction, make it pass the filter, enter a relationship of sorts, but for some reason or another they are never elevated into the position of kept. After months or years of this, it wears into questioning: Why do I not have a partner of my own? Why am I not married? Why am I aways chosen but never kept? Feelings of emotional desertion can creep in the forms of rejection and heartbreak. These feelings may result in low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and withdrawal from friends, family, and usual activities. Individuals find themselves mourning the loss of connection and ideas of future companionship.
This pain experienced over a prolonged period, contributes to feelings of abandonment, insecurity, defensiveness, and an unhealthy sense of self-sufficiency. To prevent debilitating pain, the individual comes up with their own rules to protect themselves from heartache and perceived ostracism. The development of erroneous thoughts as coping mechanisms is used to combat the hopelessness, emptiness, and worthlessness symptoms felt. Adaptation in brain activities as well as hormonal changes can take a toll on the individual’s mental and physical health. The anguish of heartache can show up in individual’s sleeping, eating, and self-care patterns. Change is also evident in their sex drive, either as a loss or an increase of desire. If your sense of belonging and self-esteem have been thwarted, psychotherapy can help with the coping and eradication of the feelings and symptoms of heartache. Getting through this may feel like a roll coaster but you don’t have to go through this alone.
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