Did you know that there is a "love map" that exists inside our brain, which basically determines which kind of person we are going to swipe right or fall for? You probably didn't.
According to John Money, Professor emeritus at Johns Hopkins University, these are basically encoded messages inside our brain, which start developing the idea of an ideal partner from an early age.
Intriguing, isn't it? But as evolutionary scientists always say, it's not only nature but also nurture and surroundings that certainly influence us. With so many habit-forming tech products like social media and dating apps in our lives, many of us are habituated to spending hours on these platforms - a virtual surrounding that makes us laugh, cry, angry or disapprove of any and every trend. Besides, how we choose to eat, wear or buy - such habits also dictate who we date or get into a commitment with.
This is why we discussed with four influencers how to find the right person or how to nurture a relationship that stands the test of time.
'Social media is a bane to love and commitment'
YouTuber & Content Creator
Iftekhar Rafsan's Instagram claims he is currently entertaining more than 6 million people, and we have reasons to believe this. With more than a million subscribers on YouTube, his epoch-making success as a content creator have encouraged thousands of youth to follow his path of making vlogs about food and travel.
Immensely popular for his adorable looks and super spontaneous presence in the vlogs, Rafsan is eyeing a couple of important global collaborations this year. As we meet in the makeup room, he was wearing a nice checkered shirt with a pair of pale white pjs. After shaking hands and a brief hug, we started the interview.
"So tell me bro, are you seeing someone?" With a cute, mischievous smirk, Rafsan answers, "maybe… I am!" One could certainly read into his beaming eyes when he said that. I read between the lines and moved to the next question.
"What is love"? "Nissartho bhalobasha", we both laughed out loud at that. "Love for me is a deep feeling of affection. Sometimes it could be as simple as a song, which keeps on playing inside your brain when you see someone," he explains.
As we keep on talking about love, and relationships, Rafsan explains to me his idea of "sticking together". "Gone are the days when couples had no qualms in working on their relationship to make it work. Now, you see everyone sharing everything on social media, which leads people to take things for granted. They don't want to work on it. With prospective dates in the pipeline, people don't have time for that kind of dedication. That is the core reason for all sorts of dissatisfaction," he elaborates.
As he poses in front of the camera in a baby-pink tee from Ecstasy and black trousers, he looks rather coy. "We want to see some energy, a little bit of attitude here," I screamed at him. He was like, "Bhai, photoshoots are my Achilles heel, trust me."
As photographer Piyan kept shooting from different angles, our conversation on love and life continued. According to this old soul, social media is a bane to love and commitment. "There are plenty of fishes in the pond and one must not forget that," he adds. When asked how to find the right fish, the popular food blogger says, "efforts are always beautiful. Look out for the one who is making all the effort to be a part of your life. You will eventually know he/she is the right one."
On the issue of cheating, Rafsan's answer is straightforward, "I would instantly bid adieu to her".
As we reach the end of the photo shoot, his parting advice to the lovers and daters was to be patient. "Don't try to speed up things for some easily available thrills; don't rush. Let it bloom at its own pace and if it doesn't work out, don't push it. You can always hit the gym to overcome the breakup blues," he concludes, with his signature smile overloaded with sweetness.
'One must not make any rash decision'
Saba Chowdhury is indeed the human version of sunshine. She shows up at the shoot wearing a beige dress and black high heels. She was in a rush to attend one of her close friend's wedding.
She already did her own makeup and needed our help with the hair. As Shamim, our makeup artist for the shoot, was running the straightener through her silky locks, we started our discussion with where Rafsan left us. "How to handle a break up"?
While touching up her eyes with mascara, she answers, "I cry a lot and go on some trips. Being a sea person, I would always end up confronting the massiveness of the sea. Instead of looking for answers in my tears, I throw them at the waves."
In her 20s, Saba is independent and boasts about juggling multiple careers at the same time. For her, love is an amalgamation of complicated feelings. Modern romance, according to her, is a non-linear string. It wraps around it so many variables, and probably that's why the longevity of relationships is nothing much to brag about.
She thinks many people cheat because they are not happy in their relationship in the first place. When people cheat, they just don't break one heart. Cheating in a committed relationship can particularly destroy an entire family. This is why it is important to find the right person and take time.
In a parrot green dress which exudes a beautiful spring vibe, Saba poses like a pro in front of the camera. A few quick clicks and we got the kind of shot we were looking for. We kept chit-chatting as the photography team was adjusting lights for some more shots.
"Social media compels many of us to expose our love lives. It's like a rat race. This is why one must not make any rash decision," she elaborates.
Saba is a staunch believer in destiny, which she thinks will decide when one finds the one that matches their "love map". When one meets that person, one must keep in mind that accommodating the highs and lows of your beloved one is imperative for a relationship to work out and sustain.
Her advice for those who want to delve into dating or relationships is not to lose hope if it doesn't work out right away. "You are not the same person in your 20s and 30s. Your career choices, financial independence and maturity to handle situations varies. So one should wait to decide to tie the knot. Till then, fall in love, get your heart broken, cry if needed and see the world," Saba suggests, as we finish off the shooting.
'You don't find the right person, the right person finds you'
Comedian, Content Creator & Actor
Rakin Absar's quirky content has a special fan following among comedy lovers. His famous purple wig, coupled with his sassy humour has made people laugh, think and hit the follow button.
He is one of the busiest influencers who is running from one photo to another. When he came to the studio with his luggage, one could tell he was already having a busy morning. Without wasting a moment, we decided to start the interview with the cardinal question: the definition of love.
With a slight pause, Rakin answers, "It's the feeling of having someone who would be beside you, even when you hit rock bottom." Does that come from a personal experience, when asked, Rakin admits: "I was in my most vulnerable state when I met the love of my life."
For him, the whole idea of having a partner is to feel comfortable and be your true self.
"You should not have to be ashamed of your activities before him or her. You know that person wouldn't judge you. He or she would be there for you, no matter what," he adds.
And to find that partner, one must not keep scratching the surface. "You don't find the right person, the right person finds you," he quips.
Having happiness, and feeling content, which comes from within, is important for one's personal mental well-being, Rakin believes. According to him, gratitude and humility help us attain those, and eventually help us make it work with our partners.
On cheating Rankin's belief might seem radical to many when he says humans have been polygamous since the dawn of civilization. "It's (embedded) in our DNA. While society and movies always glorify the idea of monogamy, we simply cannot ignore the fact that polygamy exists. But when things click between two persons, when they are compassionate to each other, they know how to settle down".
Rakin, who has also modelled for several youth-centric brands, stands in front of the camera wearing a chequered shirt from Gorur Ghash and a lousy slacker from H&M. As we kept trying to fix his hair, which was a bit unruly, I kept asking him questions on the topic of cheating and the hustle culture.
If his partner ever cheats, Rakin believes, he would not instantly call off the relationship. He believes in healthy conversations to identify the loopholes, which may have led to that kind of situation.
Even though Rakin has won hearts through his regular social media skits, he believes showing off kills the good vibe of a relationship. "One must acknowledge the importance of waiting. The right time will bring the right things into your life. And once you have it, appreciate it, be grateful and do everything to keep it intact. Young people should try to understand that becoming the person they want to become comes first. Everything else will happen according to the success of that endeavour. Mingle, date, and try to get to know others," Rakin concludes as we were done with the shoot.
'Love is a very painful thing'
Ishrat Zaheen Ahmed
Influencer & Founder of Majesty Ethnics
A former Lux Superstar finalist from 2018, Ishrat Zaheen Ahmed rose to fame not only for the beauty and oomph she exudes, but her go-getter attitude. We were floored to see the finesse of her makeup, which she did herself.
With winged eyes and gleaming rosy cheeks, Ishrat was emanating diva vibes. The radiance of her personality and the charm of her wit were palpable from the beginning of the interview.
With a dash of pun, she described love as " a very painful thing" as we start. "Trust me, it can destroy your life and strip you of your mental well-being," she says with a smirk. She nonchalantly admitted that she just had a break-up and the answers were in tune with her true feelings.
So, for a person with multifaceted talents, how does she deal with the situation? When asked, Ishrat replies, "I drown myself in work. I hustle 24/7 and let time heal my wounds. I have been here before and I know this too shall pass."
As her lovely locks were being curled and set for the shoot, we asked her take on people's craving for love, even though we see so many heartaches being caused by this. "We as humans are prone to crave intimacy and affection. Love is like a drug; once you have it, you eventually fall into an addiction."
Ishrat believes everyone possesses a gut feeling to identify when something clicks with someone. While she thinks there is no right age to get married, she does feel that there is a right time.
"It's like you know the pros and cons of being with that person and you are okay with it. Marriage is a big commitment and so carefully consider issues like compatibility, understanding and above all, trust, before you make the big move," she elaborates.
Ishrat thinks she is not above any reactive expression if she finds her partner cheating. "I would try to catch him red-handed and expose him," she laughs with a hint of vindictiveness on her face. In the age of social media and this entire culture of being upfront about one's everyday life, Ishrat believes the current generation has zero tolerance for any kind of bull-shit behaviour.
Ishrat's attitude was also reflected when she was posing. Wearing a ZarZain dress, she looked radiant. As our interview continued, she kept on adding, "Gen Z is way busier than the millennials and when we see things are not working out, we move on and look for love in different places."
However, being an old soul, she firmly believes in the beauty of a committed relationship. One should always remember that partnership is a precious thing. Ironing out the wrinkles in a relationship may require multiple attempts and therefore, hurrying and huffing will bring us no luck.
"If needed take a break; let him enjoy his guy trip, you have your girl trips, look for peace in solitude and come back afresh to discuss and find out answers. Even if that fails to fill up the cracks, part ways amicably," Ishrat concludes like a pro.