The dad says that romantic love will never cure our loneliness because what we need as humans is community.
One man got super honest about how important community is to nourish a person's soul and help battle feelings of loneliness. If there's one thing that the pandemic reminded us, it's that humans are social beings and no matter how much we love our alone time we do need others; not just to survive but also to thrive. Growing up, we're taught how important it is to find romantic love—the perfect partner—and start a family with them. However, according to Nathan Reo—who goes by @nathanreo on TikTok—that isn't enough to cure loneliness.
Just to be clear, Reo isn't suggesting romantic love, children or family aren't important or meaningful. He loves his family, he says, which includes "a beautiful wife," "a couple of dogs" and "four perfect children." However, he's just being super honest when he says that they can't fully fulfill a person. "I'm currently living in a nuclear family. In fact, I'm living the American Dream," he said. He understands that not many people are willing to admit how they truly feel about romantic love because we're all culturally "programmed" to think about it in one specific way.
"We're programmed to believe that this is like the zenith of human existence, to get married and experience romance," he continued. "And yet when you actually arrive here—and I don't think very many people will admit this—but this is not nearly enough and there is a deep longing and loneliness still."
Reo believes capitalism is at the root of this notion. "I believe that it is pushed by capitalism to partition us down into the smallest money-making unit"—which is the nuclear family—"separated in a tiny house... selling their time for money and having most of the value of their labor stripped away from them."
He also talked about how many people are made to feel worthless if they haven't found romantic love by their 30s or 40s, which should never be the case! "I've heard about a term called hitting the wall lately," Reo said. "And the wall is where you're trying to date when you're 35 or 40 or after and you just can't find love, it's like pretty much impossible."
Reo assures people that what we truly need is something else. "People go their whole lives longing to find the perfect [person]... who's going to meet their needs and that's just a myth," he said. "We are not longing for romance, guys. We are longing for intimate community." He explains that we evolved as a social species hundreds of thousands of years ago. Only in the past 5,000 years have we started to partition ourselves away from each other and become isolated in creating profits rather than community. Reo believes it's important to stop focussing on romantic love and focus on community because it's "in our DNA, it's inside of us. The longing is not for romance. The longing is for community," he concludes.
Many viewers agreed with Reo's stance. @chronicandcapable wrote, "Couldn’t agree more! My partner and I have an amazing relationship but I need more. I need community, to do work I love, to create art, to feel alive." @lukemiles95 added, "Also I think the idea of one perfect partner causes so much unhappiness because it’s not true. Deep connections with more than one is essential."