Today’s ubiquitous billion-dollar dating and relationship industry (books, ebooks, seminars, webinars, coaching, courses, matchmaking, dating sites, and more), flashily casts doubt on the old saying “money can’t buy love.”
Emails appear daily in my inbox with subject lines like “50% off everything you need to find love now” and “Without the secret information in my best-selling program you will never find the love you want and deserve.”
Facebook and Twitter feed me links to outrageously-priced products with the promise of revealing the real reason I don’t have a relationship and how I can fix that.
Objections to the cost are addressed even before they’re spoken, with sneaky statements like “You may be thinking it’s a lot of money, but aren’t you worth it?”
Dating sites let you sign up for free, but prevent you from actually communicating with anyone unless you pay a high monthly fee.
I get it, I really do. These entrepreneurs need to make a living. Their business, their bread and butter, is love.
And most of the time, I’m okay with not having hundreds of extra dollars in my budget to buy me love—trusting instead that maybe some glorious day it will arrive the old-fashioned way.
But this week when I read the majority opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy in the landmark marriage equality US Supreme Court ruling, I almost started to cry.
“Marriage responds to the universal fear,” wrote Kennedy, “ that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there. It offers the hope of companionship and understanding and assurance that while both still live there will be someone to care for the other.”
Sniff sniff. (Not kidding.)
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
I want to become something greater too.
“Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions.”
I don’t want to live in loneliness either.
I admit it, I’m jealous of the gays in love whose cause Kennedy champions. (Not just the gays, of course; that’s merely the context of his glorious marriage-magnifying words.)
After reading the entire opinion replete with a myriad of both practical and romantic reasons to covet marriage , I pensively posted on Facebook:
“Now if only the inalienable right of everyone to marry for love meant that everyone who wanted to could actually find a loving spouse, to save them from the horrible Hell of the Unmarried that Justice Kennedy so eloquently and passionately described. #marriage #majorityopinion #love”
Some of my friends, naturally, responded with “Lol,” and yes, I did write it with my humor intact, but I also meant it quite sincerely.
I have done, and continue to do, all in my power to find “the one.” I found him once, or rather thought I had, birthed beautiful children and believed we were happily ever after; but alas, the dragon destroyed that fairy tale and I find myself alone again.
Dating and relationship books take up a reasonable amount of space on my well-stocked bookshelves, and I’ve bought a few programs, attended some webinars and read voraciously online. A caring Facebook support group shares personal stories and advice, and I follow many of the top gurus. My therapist/coach helps me work through my issues and even she thinks I’m “relationship ready.”
I’ve tried online dating sites, but not the expensive ones…which brings me back to my proposal (not a marriage proposal, obviously):
How about a law against monetizing love?
How about no one can charge us for dating sites, matchmaking, relationship advice and proprietary secrets of everlasting love?
I know, I know, it’s a dream ahead of its time. And it will probably never fly in a capitalistic society.
So for now, I wait. Perhaps my prince will come.
But in the meantime, I’m happy for the couples in love who can finally marry when they couldn’t before. My envy does not trump empathy.
(Feel free to drop dating, relationship and love tips in my busking bucket, aka the comments section, below.)
Author: Melanie Murphy Myer
Editor: Evan Yerburgh
Photos: Author’s Own