How Much Does Chance Decide Your Relationships?
Every human relationship begins with a coincidence. Even the most fundamental relationship – that of parent and child – begins entirely with a coincidence. The child is produced by whatever serendipity brought its parents together, and the fact that the child was born to its particular parents instead of to another couple is pure happenstance. Thus, absurdly enough, children have no choice over the relationship that is most important to their existence.
By contrast, friends and lovers choose each other, but even these choices are reactions to whatever random coincidence made the resulting relationship possible. And despite the undeniable fact that all human relations are partly or wholly created by chance, the initial meeting of two lovers always seems more magically coincidental than all other relationships. This feeling may be nothing more than the relief that two lovers share at the fact that they acted wisely when they could have just easily failed to transform luck into love.
Indeed, think of your last romantic connection and how easily it could have not happened. Countless coincidences brought you and someone else together, and then you both acted on that randomness (or some might call it “fate”) in a way that produced enough chemical magic for that romantic spark to go off.
My recently released novel, “Sex in the Title,” is mostly a romantic comedy, but it does have its philosophical moments — like when it discusses the role of chance in human relationships (a rumination on which this post is based). As you reflect on the various relationships in your life — whether romantic or not — consider how much they were produced by your deliberate choices, versus by circumstances over which you had little or no control. And then ask yourself how much those relationships define you, and how much you define them…