To You, Who Taught Me That I Don’t Need To Settle In Love

When I was a teenager, I remember making a list of qualities I ardently desired in my future partner.

How thorough could a list be, anyway, when you make it when you’re 13 years old?

However, over time, I found that the salient qualities remained consistent within the list, with a few embellishments here and there.

The list went as follows:

– Caring

– Loving

– Older (believe me, this was the cultural conditioning talking)

– Good listener

– Extremely handsome (because, well, a girl can dream)

– Feels like home

– Appreciative

– Kind

As I got to know the men I would eventually like, love, or even marry, I realized that perhaps the course of your life doesn’t necessarily align with childish lists.

For instance, what if kindness was swapped out with blinding loyalty? Or stability took precedence over being a good listener?

Eventually, I stopped maintaining this list, because it didn’t make sense to watch people who entered my life try to fit into that mold briefly, only for them to break it in more ways than I could count.

When you settle in love, you do yourself a great disservice.

Believing that what you seek doesn’t exist is the first step to admitting defeat, throwing in the towel, and asking Fate itself to take charge in whatever way it deems fit.

Is this an idealistic train of thought? Absolutely. The very idea of setting out on this exploratory journey, where you eventually find what you seek, is a privilege—one that many may not possess or recognize.

But I did. Because I met you.

When I met you—you who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere—I felt an energy shift, as if the quaint cafe in which we were all seated was about to witness a pivotal moment in my life.

I was drawn to you.

The way you talked—and God, you talked so damn well that it made me lean in intently with each word.

The way you positioned yourself on the table, intentionally or unintentionally, making sure that each time you talked, you made everyone feel included.

The way you smiled, radiating warmth in a world that otherwise felt too cold, too bleak, and too unsettling.

I knew in that moment that I had to get to know you. That this wasn’t just a chance meeting or a fleeting “hello” that would soon turn into a “goodbye.”

Getting to know you itself has been a privilege.

You move me. You enable me to access emotions I didn’t even care to acknowledge. You inspire, influence, intimidate.

You see me in a way that perhaps no one has before, through a lens that I didn’t even know existed.

You listen intently in a way that perhaps you have begun to unravel parts of myself that I hoped would remain confined within the vault of my mind.

You are more than everything I have ever wanted—compassionate, driven, level-headed, and wild at the same time. Understanding and patient. Enthusiastic, yet calm.

Within a span of perhaps the shortest period of time it has ever taken me to begin to love someone, you have become a safe haven in countless ways.

You have become a home away from home.

As I sit here, recounting all the ways in which I have begun to reevaluate my idea of love and all that it entails, I can’t help but smile in this present moment, knowing that if I have begun to feel the joy love can bring alongside, it is through gratitude. And if I have begun to express that gratitude, it is because you have taught me to do so.

You may not be my final destination. Why worry about that anyway, when this journey is perhaps far more beautiful and enchanting? This fantastical ride to wherever it is that we are going is an adventure filled with magic, passion, and wonder. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I never thought I could feel this way. I didn’t understand that this blissful storm of love existed. And even if I acknowledged its existence, I didn’t think it was mine to experience.

Yet here I am, falling for you each day, my heart soaring through the sky, finding wings each time we connect.

Connecting with you is a different experience altogether. I want to get to know you—every version of you—and each time I listen to another story, I keep wanting more.

Your mind is a rabbit hole I can’t wait to fall into, losing myself in the depths of the wonderland I stumble into.

Had I known when I was a teenager that at 24 I would meet you, I would have perhaps saved myself the trouble of writing out a list.

Instead, I would have simply penned down your name, waiting for all higher powers to conspire for us to meet unexpectedly in a quaint cafe, forever changing the course of our lives.

About the author

Learning to channel my thoughts on paper.

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