What kind of love are you looking for?

May 12, 2024

What kind of love are you looking for?

Late-night chats seem to stir up some unexpected gems, don’t they? It was on one of those cozy late-nighters that I found myself grappling with a question as old as time itself: what does one really look for in a romantic partner?

Now, you’d think that after nearly three decades of living, I’d have a meticulously crafted response ready to roll off my tongue. But boy, was I in for a surprise. My answer was so run-of-the-mill that it left me questioning my own literary prowess.

Guess what I said: I rambled on about wanting someone who respects me and cares for me as much as I care for them. And, as you can probably guess, I got the classic eye-roll and “Seriously? That’s it?” It made me wonder whether I had set the bar so low that I was ready to hand out pieces of my heart to anyone who met the basic criteria in a romantic relationship. Where was the depth, the specificity in what I truly desired?

After some soul-searching, I realised that I had fielded this question so many times that I’d somehow lost the knack for being specific. This realisation bugged me no end. So, I decided to channel my inner wordsmith and jot down my thoughts. Because hey, where words fail you, writing them won’t.

Then there was this enlightening chat with a friend that really got me thinking. We were playing matchmakers for another friend, and the inevitable question popped up again: “What exactly are you looking for in a partner?” And let me tell you, her answer was like a breath of fresh air. She dived straight at the deep end, emphasising the importance of appreciating little efforts in a relationship. Every text, every action — it’s all part of this intricate dance, akin to a game of chess. You want your partner to not just see your moves but also understand the reason behind them. Not in a manipulative sort of way, mind you.

Think of it more as decoding each other’s love language in the name of genuine affection.

Now, reciprocity in relationships is a whole different ball game. As the wise words of slam poetry go, “Love doesn’t always come back to you in the same package you sent it out in.” Understanding each other’s love languages is still key. I’ve learned that the hard way. I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I’ve come to realise that the way others express love might not always mirror my own emotional outbursts. That’s fine. It’s about embracing those differences and basking in the warmth of understanding, rather than nitpicking why it’s not exactly how you first envisioned it.

Up next on my checklist is authenticity. Finding someone with whom you can unleash your inner goofball, sans any pretense or filter, is pure gold. It’s that rare dynamic where you can just be... well, yourself. No tiptoeing around, no pretending to be someone you’re not. It’s a vibe that can’t be forced. When it happens organically, though, you just know you’ve hit the relationship jackpot. Sure, it might sting a bit more if things go south, but navigating choppy waters is part of the adventure, isn’t it?

Last but certainly not the least, emotional alignment is non-negotiable. Trust me, it’s not every day that you stumble upon someone who syncs up perfectly with your emotional needs. When you do, though, hold on tight, because there’s nothing worse than having to dim your own feelings to meet someone halfway.

Eventually, it’s about that beautiful fusion of effort, care, intimacy and affection. When the elements align just right, you can’t help but think, “Yep, this feels like home.”

That said, no matter how much we try to script our love stories, the heart wants what it wants, right? Love is a wild beast that refuses to be tamed. So how does one navigate this crazy rollercoaster ride? Well, for starters, knowing your worth and what you truly deserve is half the battle won.

So here’s to hoping we all stumble upon that magical connection that sets our souls on fire. I know I have. It worked out for me, knowing love’s too precious a thing to settle for anything less than extraordinary.

Shaafay Zia is an ex-serviceman and a freelancer. He can be reached at shaafayzia@gmail.com

What kind of love are you looking for?