We all say that we want to find love. We want the Real Thing, the reason to delete the apps, the go-to for any and everything. But I think a lot of us, or at least me, don’t really believe that such a thing actually exists. Maybe I have been burned one too many times and now I’m jaded, but I find that I don’t hold a lot of hope whenever I meet someone new, especially if I find myself interested in them. It’s like I have to have an exit in my line of vision rather than just appreciate whoever is in front of me. I have to map out the worst-case scenario and then use that as my guide for how to navigate whatever relationship is at hand. I’m pretty sure in the back of my mind, I am always wondering when they are going to call my bluff and realize that I’m not actually as cool, smart, funny, level-headed or whatever as they thought I was.
But, I look around at the people who have stayed. The ones who know that I can be a little selfish sometimes and pretty emotional all the time. The ones who know how I might ask the same question five times just to make sure that their answer is an honest one. The ones who know what I look like during any time of the day or year. The ones who know I laugh too much at some things and not enough at others. The ones whom I’ve hurt and been hurt by. I think about how different they were to me when we first met. Sometimes time has a way of changing people, and sometimes it’s purely circumstance. I think about how one dimensional my view of them was the moment we met, versus now when we can do away with the formalities and I can see a little more clearly who they really are. I have noticed that none of these people are perfect but I love them anyway. I have noticed that none of these people believe me to be perfect, and yet, they are still here.
Maybe I don’t need to have an exit plan in the back of my mind every time I meet someone new. Maybe the next one won’t hurt me as bad as the last one, or maybe they will hurt me worse. I can’t really imagine anything hurting more than ever hoping that things could turn out one day.
I don’t want a new philosophy on love or some game plan to attract my forever person. I don’t want to think of the things I “need to change” or how to put myself out there more or any of that. I just want to believe that love exists again. I want to believe that it could happen. I want to believe that there is someone out there who could love me the way that I love them — imperfectly but deeply.
Maybe I am not ready for the relationship of a lifetime. But I am ready to at least believe that such a thing could exist for me.