The False Beliefs on Romance

Popular belief seems to be that you should always be “with” someone, especially if you’re a young woman.  I don’t think that it’s expected, per se, but it’s more the accepted norm that you “have” to be in a relationship.  So many people that I know start looking for the next boy/girlfriend within days after dumping/being dumped by the last one.

Me?  I’ve spent several-year stretches between boyfriends, or even a casual sexual partner.  Granted, much of that was because I was afraid of getting hurt, but I also truly believed that it was better for me to be alone than to deal with all the crappy politics that seems to exist in the dating world.  I never knew how to play those particular games and I had no desire to learn the rules, so I basically began “dating” myself.  Yes, it got very lonely at times, because hugging yourself doesn’t feel quite the same as having someone else wrap their arms around you in comfort, but I always agreed with a line from the movie Some Kind of Wonderful.

In the scene, Amanda (played by Lea Thompson) is out with Keith (played by Eric Stoltz), and says she’d rather be with someone for the wrong reasons, than alone for the right ones.  Keith replies, “I’d rather be right.”

So would I.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve stayed in a relationship longer than was healthy because I was afraid of being alone again.  I got comfortable in the togetherness, and convinced myself that all relationships have their “down” times, and I didn’t want to be someone who bailed just when things got bad.  But eventually I came to realize that I felt lonelier when I was with him than I did when he wasn’t around.

When I was younger, I had certain qualities that I felt were important in a boyfriend: tall, dark hair, non-brown eyes (any other color was fine), swimmer’s build, blah, blah, blah.  I mostly focused on the outer qualities, and only inserted a few that I knew had to be absolutes: non-smoker, non-drug user, non-abuser, etc.  I think most people do a similar cursory list for their “Right” mate, but don’t really focus on the truly important things.  I believe that’s because they jump right into a new relationship shortly after the old one is over.  Whether because of societal pressures, or because they’re too afraid to be alone, they immediately find a replacement to fill the void and don’t take the time to figure out exactly what they want.

After my first long-term relationship ended–badly, I might add–I took the better part of a decade off from men.  I had a couple sexual partners in that time, and even dated a guy (other than Craig) for a few months (all the while knowing that he was simply a rebound relationship), but for the most part, I took a LOT of time to figure out who I was and what I truly wanted in a mate.  I read all sorts of self-help books on love and relationships and had to come to grips with a lot of unhealthy preconceived notions I had about both topics.

About a week before Craig came back into my life (for the “last” time), I sat down and wrote a very detailed list about what I was looking for in a mate.  Gone were all the superficial things I’d once thought were necessary, and they’d been replaced with more important character traits: intelligent, fun, doesn’t take himself too seriously, etc.  I’d also realized that it’s not up to the man to make me happy, nor is it his responsibility to know how I’m feeling at any given moment.  I’d read enough in the self-help books to realize that I’m the only one responsible for my happiness, and that it wasn’t fair to make him “guess” my moods or why I was in those moods.  Communication is key to any good relationship, and that means BOTH sides communicating.

So when Craig came along, I was finally ready to give up my single life.  I’d finally found a partner, in every sense of the word.  Yes, it gets scary sometimes to be so vulnerable to someone, but he’s proven time and time again that he won’t take advantage of my vulnerability.  He’s there to help me become whoever I want to be, and to love me in the process.

Advertisements

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kerry
    May 10, 2013 @ 16:21:48

    (wiping tears of happiness)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Me on Blog Catalog

Philosophy Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
%d bloggers like this: