From Where we Stand: Ya Li Su5ryat El 3ishQ

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We are designed, or maybe even genetically predestined, to create an image of our ideal mate at some point in our lives. As teens and young adults, we might have the privilege of dating around, but it’s only a matter of time until that point comes -  the point where it’s inevitable to go on dating without creating a list of characteristics our partner should have. Let’s call it: “the expectations list.” By now, you have dated enough to have an idea of what you like and don’t like in a partner OR you have watched and/or read too many love stories that you think you know what you want.

Once you’re past this point, the pool of contestants starts to shrink and in a good way of course. Well, she’s too tall for me. She wears too much make up. She’s cheap. She talks too much. She’s too healthy. She’s too short. She’s too quiet. She’s not spiritual. She doesn’t make enough money. She doesn’t like sports. She didn’t go to college. She doesn’t dress properly. She’s fat. She has a PhD. She’s bisexual. She likes sports. She’s “okay” but I’m not sure. Despite it all, you still find ladies that “fit your criteria” and who get you intrigued. Armed with your list, you carry on with your “goal-oriented dating.”

You tell yourself that now, the dates should get better; after all, you “kind of” know what you want. To be dating this person means they’ve already passed the expectation’s checklist, and therefore, you two probably have a bit more in common, or at least, you share similar interests.

“Oh, I love cheeseburgers too.”

“Just like you, I listen to mashrou3 Leila, and I don’t drink coffee either, only green tea.”

“I don’t watch soccer, I like strawberry ice cream, and yeah, I think Angelina Jolie is HOT.”

Dating becomes more exciting; it becomes more intense. Things start to progress, you connect more and feel “a real connection.”  Hell, it’s a strong connection! You have “the talk” and become exclusive.


You are finally a mature person who is capable of having a committed exclusive dating partner. You are mature enough to choose to be monogamous. Little by little, you start getting attached. Are you possibly falling in love?

During a candle light dinner, maybe in a text message (if you’re too shy), on a large screen at a football game (if you’re not), in a parked car overlooking a scenic view, or in the middle of the night, behind her house, by the fence, next to the bushes where her dad parks his car, finally, you express your love. If you’re lucky, SURPRISE, she confesses, “I love you too.” (If not, please repeat steps, starting with paragraph 3, and until you master the levels of dating and get back to this point). “You love me too?? Ahh, habibti, we should probably call it a relationship then.”

To have someone you share so much with turns out to be great. You have someone who you love to bond with, to cuddle with, to hug and cook with, to go snowboarding with, to watch TV with, to kiss on the neck – someone who kisses you back, who misses you too, who enjoys your company and probably (hopefully) likes your jokes. It’s such an amazing feeling: to want someone and be wanted by them.

Of course, it’s all wonderful, until reality finally catches up with you.

At this point in the relationship, life decides to create bumpy unsolved mazes for the two of you. You know, just to keep things exciting. Her mom may hear you two talking on the phone at 2 AM. Your brother may hear from his friend’s cousin’s ex-girlfriend that she once dated your girlfriend. And just like that, you end up getting a scholarship to Europe to get your master’s degree, and you have to leave in 2 weeks. She needs to take care of family members, and of course, since you’ve become this new mature person, you try to understand and to survive without spending enough time with her. You pretend everything is going well, until you realize, or she realizes, that it’s not working.

Life has happened and you cannot go on.

You probably still care about her, maybe even still love her. But logically, all signs point towards the end of the relationship, and in the next few months, you will have to move on. You will have to carry on…

..Until you start all over again, all the way back to paragraph 3 to resume the game. You finish level 1, 2, 3… until it’s game over again. And again and again and again.

What? You think I’m being too pessimistic? Oh, well. Try it! But let’s assume – me and you – for the sake of the positive argument, that you were able to face life’s drama together. You were able to maintain the relationship, year after year. My question is: and then what? Do you get married? Well, let’s get our right to marriage before half marriages can fail. Do you maybe stay in that relationship, assuming that without marriage, you and your partner wouldn’t take the other for granted? Let’s be honest, you probably will, because it’s human nature, and it’s such an easy trap to fall in.

All of these questions make me wonder what’s the point of it all? What’s the point of trying? What’s the point of a relationship? Are we meant to keep trying so that we have a mate who would be with us in our last years of life because we don’t want to end up alone? Is this the reason why we get into it in the first place? But what if your partner dies before you? The purpose would be defeated, wouldn’t it? You’re back to being alone and need to go back to paragraph 3!

For a person who’s very emotional like me, wouldn’t it just make more sense to stay single? To stay away from all the failed relationships-to-come for the next 50 years, to stay away from the heartbreak, and start the dating process only a few years before I am meant to die?

Well, I might have been able to convince you. But I still can’t convince myself. Call me insane, but I’m here and I will be playing this game over and over again for reasons I can’t explain. I’m inviting you to join me. Ladies and lovers, welcome to the world of expectations and disappointments, to the world of togetherness and loneliness, to the world of maturity and insanity, to the world of immense love and excruciating pain.  Welcome to my world of contradictions, welcome to life.

- Contributed by SuQun el Leil.

SuQun el Leil

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