A couple years ago, I experienced one of the most traumatizing relationship moments in my life. I was out and about with a group of friends enjoying some adult beverages. A friend of mine admitted that while she loved her boyfriend, she wasn’t romantically attracted to him. At all. But that she wouldn’t break up with him because she didn’t want to be alone. As I was fresh out of a breakup, she implored me not to fall in love with someone without having that sexual spark there too.
She is now married to that same man.
I misspoke above. It wasn’t traumatizing. I found it downright tragic.
Now this was a couple years ago. And there are lots of kinds of love and lots of kinds of happiness that people can find in relationships and marriages. But knowing the same girl who told me that she wanted to break up with someone from lack of romance (but was too scared to be solo) then walked down the aisle with the man she said she had no physical attraction to simply breaks my heart.
Relationships are personal. It could have just been the alcohol talking or when they were going through a rough patch. I don’t know what’s between them, I don’t know how their romantic relationship grew and it’s not my place to judge. They seem to be happy. But I can’t help thinking, from the information she herself gave me, that she settled. Whatever that confession’s truth or origin or background, the tragedy of it all stuck with me.
What happens when you settle is you actually cheat four people out of the chance of having a good, strong, equal love. You cheat yourself, your significant other, and the potential partners for both of you out of finding each other.
It was my friend’s fundamental fear of being alone and single that struck me most of all as an incomprehensible sentiment. I know being alone can be crappy. It can be lonely and seem hopeless. It can be wearing and draining and can affect your self-esteem. Dating isn’t always fun. Being single isn’t all content pj and Netflix binge nights or glamorous nights on the town.
I know being solo can downright suck, particularly coming off of wedding season. But there are worse things.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again… I would rather be alone (a crazy old cat lady, even) than be in a relationship that I am ambivalent about. Call me a dreamer. Call me idealistic. Or call me demanding, high maintenance or unrealistic. I don’t believe I am. I will wait for incredible instead of living with acceptable. I’m not okay with just okay.
And I’ve seen so many good strong loves. I’ve seen relationships pop out of nowhere or bloom slowly over time. I’ve seen bright fresh new love and time-worn and tested lasting love. I’ve been with those whose love for each other is frankly contagious, filling any room they are in with such warmth and positive-feels that it will make you light-headed. I believe that I’ve seen true love, in many forms and stages.
So why wouldn’t you wait for that? Why wouldn’t you give life a chance to send that your way?
Seriously boys and girls, what’s the rush? (Yes, I know there’s some biology involved. But still.)
Maybe that’s a benefit of doing life somewhat out of traditional order (not intentionally) or something… I’m coming to accept that everything happens in its own time, no matter my own desires or schedules. It doesn’t mean you don’t work for things or put yourself out there or hope or try. It just means that some parts of life are out of your jurisdiction and trying to force fate (or whatever belief you have) to conform to you is rather uncomfortable for all involved.
Sometimes you have to let go and build the life you want with the controls that are within your grasp. And let everything else work itself out in good time.
Do yourself a favor and please don’t settle. If not for you, then out of caring for the one you would be settling with. Preventing someone you love from greater happiness is the most tragic love-story I can image. (Not to mention rather cruel.)
That’s so much worse than a life alone.
Plus cats are cool. And once I’m 80 and crotchety I can wear whatever the heck I want without anyone allowed to say anything and I can just get my kooky on and be that nutty old cat lady who yells random stuff and sings and dances in public non-stop. It’s a valid role in society to fill, and quite frankly, sounds rather fun.
< Cue future mischievous old lady M. >