I dated a girl. She was very close to the ideal for me. At the beginning, she even said that if ever I felt it wasn’t working, I must say so, and we could figure it out – split – amicably. Respectfully.
When I told her that it wasn’t working for me, there was month of silence-filled conversations and tears enough to un-drought California.
Her expectation for the relationship and me was, sadly, misplaced. Expectation and imagination overwhelmed reality.
We love to expect, and when expectation is either disappointed or gratified, we want to be again expecting.
The whole concept is preposterous.
Look for someone. Find someone. Click with someone. Connect with someone. Swoon with someone. Decide about someone. Commit to someone. Remain with someone.
Try selling that to a bunch of venture capitalists and they’d laugh you right out of the elevator. Between floors.
And yet this remains our model. Against all the odds, most of us still want to find and stay with one right person. Is this nuts or what?
It’s only nuts if we don’t occasionally reflect on it. For instance, consider the character of the one you fancy. Character is important because the person you couple with today will change. They – like you, by the way – will find new interests, discover talents, take on projects. Time mellows people, or it fires them up, or it makes them philosophical or funny. People do not stop changing. The adorable one you fell for yesterday will be different next year.
But character by definition is solid. If your beloved has good character, they will remain fundamentally good, no matter how their periphery shifts. Relationships built on respect, admiration and delight in someone with a decent core are more likely to last.
No guarantees, but it’s as good as you’ll get. In my opinion.
*Picture of Mr and Mrs White from AMC’s Breaking Bad.
I sit here with an idea for a series of useful public gatherings for singles and the loosely-attached, stuck on a couple of points:
1. How to find the kind of single people interested in relationship ideas.
2. Figuring out if calling them “singles” is itself a turn-off.
This is a case where I cannot apply any of my own standards. Being single – and importantly, wondering what other people think of that – doesn’t occupy my brainspace at all. I care not what others think of my relationships. But something tells me that there is something of a social hesitation surrounding singles: mostly, of course, an attitude from the already attached.
Unfortunately, singles themselves are infected with this feeling of being lesser; as if your value as a person is related to someone else. We can be defensive.
The problem is that I cannot think of a better term than “single”. It is the clearest descriptor of our status. Anything else slips into the realm of euphemism, which makes people wonder why we need to parse the whole being alone deal.
On the other hand, I have a sneaking suspicion that whether you are single or with someone, the other side looks more attractive. The perennially dissatisfied fall into both categories, and I am probably one of them.
So, for the moment, I have a vision of interested people gathering to listen to experts and air out some thoughts on relationships and such. A vision only, though.