Monday, October 18, 2010

Trading Up


Over ice cream in a popular dessert place in Makati, James told me an anecdote that touch on a peculiar aspect of dating which all of us who've been playing the dating game for a while can probably relate to. The story revolved around a friend of his named Patrick, a successful and wealthy executive, who was single and looking for the love of his life. At some point, he dated a guy named Franco. It seemed they got along splendidly; their personalities meshed well together, and they enjoyed each other's company. With the relationship itself, at least with how they interacted with each other, it appeared that they had no problems.

The only obstacle they had, really, was that everyone thought that Franco was not within Patrick's league. He was not a looker, or successful, or blessed with a charming personality that could have made up for all these lack. In short, he was woefully average; there was nothing about him that was extraordinary, except for the fact that he seemed perfectly average in every sense. Patrick's friends had no idea why he was dating the guy, and outside of the fact that he really liked Franco, it seemed that Patrick had no idea either. Because he gave his friends' input on the people he should date a great deal of importance, and also because he believed that what they were saying were true, he decided to dump Franco. It wasn't a bitter break-up, but of course Franco had ended up with a broken heart.

Fast forward a few months later, Patrick learned that Franco was dating a guy named Benjamin. Benjamin was a popular banker who was even better looking, wealthier, and more successful than Patrick. Patrick couldn't understand what happened. The reason why he dumped Franco in the first place was because he felt he needed to trade up, so to speak, and irony of ironies, Patrick ends up alone, while Franco traded up from him. He thought the whole thing bewildering.

Now this anecdote is interesting for me because, when I was still dating, I always fell into this trap, where I was never contented with the one I'm with, and always kept a roving eye on a possible trade up with someone "better" than whom I was already dating at the time. Here's what I learned from those experiences: that is the worst possible way to date someone. It's not a matter of being with someone within your league, at least in the superficial sense; it's about being with a person you love. You either like someone or you don't; you either love someone or you don't. If you put too much stock on the unimportant things, thinking that there is only a particular pool of people you could draw from whom you could date or fall in love with, you limit yourself unneccessarily. I've since learned that falling in love (or "like" if you prefer) is always a tricky thing, and better to accept the experience as a gift, than look for problems that weren't even there in the first place.

Photo taken here.

22 comments:

  1. Well said. The trade up thing is extremely common... even if it's a subconscious act.

    I think thats why you see celebrities and athletes with increasingly beautiful people all the time - they are just trading up. And thats also why their relationships don't stand the test of time.

    SD
    http://simpledudecomplexworld.blogspot.com

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  2. what if I'm Franco and I'm feeling insecure about dating an older, more successful guy?

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  3. OMG!That hit me right in the face! I found out that my BF's friends are shocked that he is dating me because he has dated "model types" before...That made me insecure at first, but thank god he doesn't give a crap about what his friends think.

    His friends are in horrible relationships anyway so who are they to clown on what we got going!

    my mom always tells me about the 80/20 rule!
    You date someone who is 80% of everything you want and need...but leave them because they are lacking the 20% you are used to...

    Karma will get you in the ass because when you find someone who has the 20% you need...that 20 will be all they asses are worth.

    *hope that made sense*

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  4. you've learnt a very good lesson Fickle Cattle,
    let the one who is with you for now, have the most of you and it would be more pleasurable.

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  5. My husband is as high as you can go, so I don't need to trade up. I don't generally get mushy, but he let me sleep in this morning while he took the kids to school (even though he has to fly all night tonight), so I'm feeling especially lovey. Trading up in the past usually gave me nice abs and no brain, so it wasn't actually trading up.

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  6. People thought that when I broke up with my boyfriend that I needed to trade up, but I agree with your statement, you're either in like (love), or not. And I wasn't.

    http://theadorkableditzmissteps.blogspot.com/

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  7. Wow, I sort of feel bad for Franco because he had his heart broken. I think that it sucks when people dumb someone for superficial reasons. When you are at home in bed with the lights out (not being dirty here) and you are just talking to your partner,, looks, and how wealthy or successful you are doesn't matter. I hope your friend learned a leasson and hope he finds true love. great post!

    check out my blog @ amberlashell.com

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  8. You are some kind of wise magician.

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  9. You are absolutely correct. I mean, think about it. Love doesn't have to come with a reason that satisfies the masses, it only has to satisfy you. Relationships can be many things but when it's good, it can be beautiful, joyful, peaceful, exciting and anything else you want it to be but it is always, ALWAYS, personal. So, dear friends, be supportive and gracious in your opinions and whether you take the advice or not -- remember to NEVER be snobby, superficial, or classless. And to the one who is in love, friends who make superficial criticisms about someone you care about, may be the people in your life you may want to re-evaluate!

    Thanks for the story. It is a great reminder of a timeless life lesson!

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  10. so true. that translates into life quite often - you know, always looking for something better. If someone is in a good situation in life, they are constantly trying to improve their life, whether it be success, popularity, wealth, etc. It seems that some people are never satisfied and that the grass is always greener.

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  11. i liked this post. well done, again...

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  12. When we are younger, we dated people who we thought our friends would like to date or be with. We dated more for the bragging rights or the acceptance of our peers.

    When we are older and more secure in ourselves, we date and be with people that we actually want to be with sans the expectations from other people.

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  13. Friends play a very imp part.. in "DATE" game.. not sure about you guys, but yea for us.. very very imp!! But they only opine..opine.. al times.. too much but ultimately its upto u.. u gotta follow ur heart.. follow ur mind.. just follow yourself :)

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  14. I agree. I didn't so much as try to "Trade Up", just avoid the duds, so to speak. I met my hubby on-line actually. We were going out with different people, and after those relationships fizzled out, we decided to meet, and the rest is history. We were engaged a couple of months later. Now happily married. We do those spooky made-for-each-other things like finish each others sentences and thoughts. Freaks people out all the time..lol.

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  15. I think you just nailed one of the most important philosophical ideas in the world: You either love someone or you don't.

    The faster we understand this, the better for us. Leading people on while we search for a 'better' partner is pitiful.

    It's hard enough to find someone who will like you for who you are. And when you do find it, hold on to them like there is no tomorrow.

    http://mysocalledfeudallife.blogspot.com/

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  16. This is totally true and you're right. Its better not to put much thought on the unimportant things and enjoy the experience.

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  17. There's no trading up when it comes to these things. If you can't see through the "faults" and look at the person then you don't deserve them.

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  18. Oh Fickle Cattle, the dating game had always been more complicated than the hardest game show in history.

    People do not tend to think alike hence decisions that were probably not the best they had made.

    However it holds true what you said about not thinking about problems that doesn't even exist in the first place.

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  19. Thanks guys!

    @narnian: you are definitely not a franco. :-)

    @falen: hahaha, bully for them.

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