Its one growing epidemic and everyone is abuzz about it, scared of how contagious it is, how they can protect themselves and keep everyone calm in a state of sheer panic:

COMMITMENT PHOBIA. It’s like the “Staphylococci” in the emotional form. When you’re in a relationship, smugly, you’re sure you’re immune. Until *BAM* some leper breathes into your partners’ general direction, and the next thing you know you’re seeking medical attention.

A large part of me believes this is a neat little steel tag we explain away a deceased relationship with, like a clinical diagnosis in a closed-ended conversation. I think there’s more to this than meets the eye.

It clearly sees no gender boundaries, we have all ‘caught the bug’ at one or other stage, or had it thrust upon us. I do think however that when a woman emotionally matures to a certain point, the dating scene and having to shave every second day tires, and we’d like monogamy instead of margaritas, and that at that same age, men are still juggling their options with glee.

It’s the charming but conniving paradox of choice- give us enough, but not too much. Too much choice, my pets, makes you suffer.

When my chef friend had 28 different types of cake on offer at her new coffee shop, all glistening, eager and ready, she saw 12% of her product being sold. Stunned week after week, she eventually ran out of motivation and money, narrowing them down to 6 cakes, all of which were in the original line up. Every day since then, the cakes have sold out.

Now more than ever, we are better connected, better travelled, better educated, better looking, better paid and more desirable than ever. I can say with confidence that in 1890 there were no sites promising you your soulmate or your money back. There were unwritten rules to social conduct and behaviour, and you were expected to follow in the footsteps of your mother and her mother.

We just keep kissing our partners with one eye open to continue checking out the scenery.

It’s preposterous, but we keep finding ways of living longer, and looking 30 when we’re 45, so is it that we feel like we have that much longer to play the field?

When Kelly Recruitment ran a test on unknowing ‘lab rats’ (ie: job-seekers), they watched as they had an assistant, well, um, assist job-seekers with the multiple of options, listing all potential jobs’ positive points, versus having the job-seekers seek without any help from anyone else. The seekers with assistance reported feeling “anxious, stressed, confused, depressed and despondent” about having too much choice, whereas the un-assisted found jobs quicker, and felt accomplished and motivated. One would deduce from this that a drop of choice is well-informed; one drop too much is drowning.

So. This is my theory, like it or lump it. Girl meets boy, boy meets unrelenting criteria, girl is hot, down to earth and not a bunny boiler, mutual moral codes and value systems are supported and the “gut” gives authorisation.

What, exactly, are we waiting for?

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