A week ago I was at dinner with one of my friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. We were updating each other on the usual topics – work, life, dating, etc – when we both realized we had been almost entirely single for the entire year of 2014. ‘Almost entirely single’ meaning we had gone on some dates, made dating profiles for short periods of time, exchanged flirty texts with cute boys, maybe even had a month here or there of casual dating with someone – but nothing really stood out. Nothing worthy of pursuing a connection deeper than surface level.
Even though I contemplated the idea of pursuing relationships I ultimately chose to make other things a priority this year (work, travel). It was the first year in my 20s I didn’t have a boyfriend and honestly, I’m glad I dedicated the year to myself. I always knew how to be a good girlfriend but for once since I was in my late teens I wanted to learn how to be successfully single and on my own. My friend’s story was a little bit different. At dinner she told me why she’s single – she believes her standards are too high. She wants someone that holds a certain type of job with a high paying income and is able to offer her certain things. She feels like she’s a great catch – intelligent, beautiful, great career, funny, etc – and she wants someone who can match what she brings to the table no questions asked.
Later on after dinner I started thinking about my own standards in dating. I used to think about relationships in absolutes – it was only worth investing in someone if they fit into a particular standard or idea about the kind of person I could fall in love with. I wasn’t like my friend necessarily – I don’t really care too much about what kind of job or income my potential significant other holds but I had specific ideas on how things “should be.”
Then, recently, I went on a date of sorts with someone that stood out to me more so than anyone else has in quite a long time. He was smart, witty, creative, attractive, and most importantly he knew how to make me laugh. Realistically, neither of us are in a position to date each other right now and that’s totally okay. At least he reminded me of what that feeling is like – that moment when you’re looking at someone next to you and you’re not doing anything particularly special but you’re looking at them and you’re thinking, “we could be magnificent together.” You can visualize just how great things could really be between you. I think that’s such a special feeling and it was something I hadn’t experienced it in quite some time.
After that night I started thinking more and more about my dinner with my friend, our conversation about standards in dating, and then I sort of realized that it’s all sort of bullshit. I think with the right person anything is possible. You can have all sorts of ideas about how your ideal partner should be – the types of things they’re into, the job they’d have – but the truth is when you find your person, the person that compliments your life and fulfills you in ways no one else can, you ease up on those strict standards you thought you once had about love and dating.
You realize it’s okay if they don’t have the exact same views on every topic or if they don’t have the same hobbies or interests. Having things in common with someone and knowing what you want out of a partner is important, for sure, but I don’t think it ever has to be this black and white area. When you fall in love with someone the two of you decide your destiny together. You dream and plan and see what works and what doesn’t and together you create your own world to seek comfort in.
Maybe someone admittedly still has issues from their past or they’re still working on this whole adult thing but if they make you laugh and leave you feeling fulfilled, does it really matter? People have flaws and those flaws can make life and relationships messy because we’re all human and that’s just how it goes. We can choose to find the beauty in the imperfections of the people we give ourselves to if we try. But that’s the thing – we have to try.