In this age of endless choice and overconsumption, it’s easy to treat romantic partners like more stuff. When we hit a rough patch in our relationships, it’s tantalizing to think that a better match may only be a swipe away. But is finding The One a numbers game, or a decision we make?
I have multiple fantasy lives running parallel to this one. They’re just comic book sketches- colorful, bright, and exciting. In each of these lives there is a different man at my side, and we are madly in love. Whenever my real life goes into a slump, I imagine how my fantasy lives and loves might be getting along. Each path lights up a different part of me, and each Mr Right answers a different set of desires.
So many men, so little time
Obviously there isn’t time for me to have all of these lives and all of these loves. Choices have to me made, and no life is perfect. So which man is the best partner for the life I have? I already had one “true” love, but the burdens of real life proved to be more truth than our love could bear. So next time, how do I keep love strong? Finding love, though miraculous, is really the easy part. Maintaining love in the face of struggle and change has nothing to do with miracles. That’s work.
I met him a year and a half ago, and the timing could not have been worse. I had just split up with my husband when my friend invited me out on a double date. Maybe my friend thought I could simply dispense with the post-breakup sad phase and skip joyfully ahead to new relationship energy. But this guy, let’s call him Jay, was definitely not rebound material. He was handsome, smart, successful, and kind, and I could do absolutely nothing with him. So I filed him in the back of my mind and slinked off to mend my broken heart. It was more than a year before I emerged from my convalescence and I had forgotten all about him. I got out there in internet land and started swiping. The results were as fun as they were fruitless. Kind of like swinging: a ticklish excitement in my stomach moving forward, followed by the inevitable backslide. And then I remembered Jay.
It’s always something
Fast forward five months and we are smitten. This guy is amazing. I feel overcome with joy, lust, and gratitude to be with him. I find myself imagining a life together. But all is not perfect in Loveland. We’ve both been around enough to have accumulated some baggage. And I’m not talking about small personal items. I’m talking checked luggage. While I’m pretty sure I can handle his baggage, he doesn’t know if he can handle mine. We’re still together, hoping that time will bring clarity. Meanwhile our stuff isn’t going anywhere. It’s how we think about it that has to change if we’re going to make it.
We’ve both been married before and are determined not to repeat the mistakes of our pasts. But is it always going to be something? At some point you’ve just got to throw down your chips and say, “I choose joy and sorrow in this life with this person”, because you know some sorrow will find you no matter what. In that case, is The One someone you find by luck, or someone you find by choice?