Being 26--which is apparently the age the average American woman marries for the first time--I have a lot of virtual friends getting anxious about their love lives. The links they share are amusing.
One web article, "How to Ditch Happily-Ever-After and Build Your Own Romantic Narrative," attempts to explain why emancipated feminists still find themselves craving conventional romantic experiences. Here's the conclusion:
I’ve had enough experience with the traditional romantic narrative to know that the husband, kids, and picket fence scenario is not for me. But I still carry around this confusing emotional investment in these big romantic stories that have seemingly little application to how I actually want to live my life. Then, I read a study about what happens to your brain when you get drunk, and everything started to make a lot more sense. The study found that the higher a person’s blood alcohol level, the more conservative their thinking became—it didn't matter whether the drinker identified as liberal or conservative while sober. When drunk, their thought processes became streamlined—they reached for the simpler narrative, not the nuanced one. Related research has found that liberals start to think more like conservatives at times when they're particularly distracted or overwhelmed. The same can be said for our romantic thinking. These big universal tropes catch hold of us when we get stressed, tired, sick, older.
Ah, yes. The desire to be loved in a secure and stable way is just a nasty vestigial instinct that creeps up on us when we let our guard down. Like being conservative--it's for the drunk and confused.