Whether it is a job, house, friend, significant other — at one point you will wish things were how they appear in your head rather than how they are right in front of you. You may not be satisfied with your job because you picture yourself getting paid more. You may hate your small apartment because you have a shitty view with no dishwasher. You may wish that your best friend was Jennifer Lawrence, because your current BFF only knows how to have a conversation if it regards her boyfriend. And especially, you might begin to resent your own boyfriend because he doesn’t possess a piece of every guy who has ever been the leading role in a rom-com movie.
I hate to admit that I’m right there with everyone: I find myself extremely unsatisfied with certain aspects of my life just because they are not the way I picture them in my head. Is that really fair to do to ourselves, no less to the people around us? Just recently, I realized how horribly I have been doing this with my boyfriend of four years. We have broken up a few times in the past, and I was always the one who initiated it. I never felt satisfied. I always wanted something more. I wanted him to be different. I wanted him to treat me differently. I thought my relationship sucked just because it wasn’t the picture-perfect relationship I always dreamed of having.
We always got back together, because I couldn’t bear to not be with him. I was in love with him. But there I would be again, back in this relationship that wasn’t filling me up with what I really thought I wanted. I had set standards so high, it would have been impossible for anyone to ever fulfill them in the exact way I wanted. I wanted him to gaze at me with those eyes the way I’ve seen guys on the big screen gaze at women a million times before. I wanted him to buy me flowers for no reason, whisk me away to fancy dinners, surprise me with anything and everything. I wanted him to remind me (often) how much he loved me and why. I wanted him to always want me in his presence.
Just because he wasn’t consistently completing the checklist I created in my mind, I began to resent him. I never felt fully satisfied. I even began to feel sorry for myself. I had this image of a flawless relationship in my head, and it wasn’t playing out in front of me. He wasn’t the guy that I had perfectly constructed in my head. Just because I wasn’t bursting with love and happiness every second I was with him, I felt frustrated and annoyed. I would pity myself due to the fact that my boyfriend wanted to cuddle up and watch a show with me rather than gaze into my eyes and have long, deep conversations… about… what really?
He has addressed it before in the past too. “You’re never satisfied,” he would tell me. “You’re never fully happy with me. No matter what I do.” And I’d give him a look that would prove that both of us knew this was true. And I would continue to feel sorry for myself that I was stuck in this relationship that wasn’t good enough for me.
But that was never the case at all. It finally hit me how fucked up this all was, because the truth of the matter is, this kid is in love with me. Head over heels in love with me, and I have always felt the same way in return. He always puts my well-being and happiness and safety ahead of his own. He would rush to be by my side no matter the circumstances. He wants to spend the rest of his life with me, and I know this, but I always ignored such a monumental fact. I ignored the overwhelming feeling of how much he loved me, and how much I loved him, just because he wasn’t showing it in extremely specific ways. He has told me time and time again that marriage and children were never desirable in his eyes unless it all happened with me. He can’t see himself with anyone else. He has felt this way for four straight years, and I know that he will continue to feel this way, no matter what.
The fucked up part: I took all of that for granted. Just because he wasn’t this unrealistically impeccable perception of a relationship that I had in my head. He didn’t look at me the way that I wish he did at certain moments, so I wouldn’t even appreciate when he did look me deep in my eyes and tell me he loved me. When he would stop to pick up some of my favorite treats on his way to my house, I’d sigh and roll my eyes because he didn’t do it more often. When I felt his love radiating off of him while we lay in bed, watching a show, I felt like I was somehow missing out on something better. I wasn’t able to appreciate what was right in front of me, all because of my made-up fantasy.
Those fantasies are never going to happen, so people need to let go of those notions they create. Stop setting such high standards on your life and on the people around you. You will never be fully satisfied. Trust me. You will always be thinking of what might be out there that is better, rather than seeing what is right there, waiting for you to notice. Don’t let your unrealistic expectations get in the way of your reality.
Start opening your eyes. See what is in front of you for what it really is. I can guarantee most of the time, it’s probably damn close to perfect.