The perfect guy and other thoughts on love in your 20s
Psychology-free lessons on romance
Posted December 27, 2010
I noticed I don't write about good relationships. Why not?
Perhaps the main reason I don't is because I think they are boring. What's interesting about perfect and easy? What would I complain about and make fun of?
Recently, I talked to a good friend, who happens to be an ex-boyfriend, about a trip we took to Italy years ago. We waxed quixotic about gondola rides in Venice, overpriced gelato and leather in Florence and illicitly scalping Vivaldi concerts tickets, because Rick Steves insisted. During that trip, there was a lot of laughing, idyllic romance and even... a fight or two.
However, half a dozen years later, I had forgotten all about our tiffs... My memory seemed to have deleted our problems, because they just didn't "go" with my happy nostalgia.
The problem with idealizing certain romantic situations is that I can never actually learn anything from them, which is significant, because learning from the past is the key to moving to a better future.
Many people have a tendency to constantly attract the same type of people, which is why they end up in creepily similar relationships time after time. If you happen to pick great mates, lucky for you! But I suspect, that if you're seeking guidance on how to fix your love life, then you're probably not one of them.
I am no exception. I have always been attracted to the same kind of person, but through the years, I have slowly evolved in my dating acumen. I think the more I honestly evaluated my relationships and analyzed what worked or didn't work, the likelier I was to stop blaming myself or the other person for love gone awry.
Sometimes, the answers varied. If you've ever read my blog, you'll know I like to accuse many men of being "unavailable," and while that may certainly be true, it is never the reason for a relationship's demise. Last time I checked, it takes two people to participate in a couple, which
means if one person is "unavailable," then there was never really a couple in the first place.
With the right person, something fits, regardless of the extenuating circumstances. As Antoine Dodson might say, "Well, Obviously." But I retort, "Not necessarily, Antoine."
I think the desire to be in a relationship can often overpower the benefits of actually being in one. Since Disney, we have been inculcated to find a partner we can make part of our world. And while most people can or don't mind being alone, I've met very few people who actually want to be by themselves. Maybe Shrek, in his pre-Fiona days?
But even with the ogre, the right person changed everything, which is why "unavailable" is a cop out and a scapegoat.
People always say that you should date frequently in your 20s:
"Meet as many different types of people as you can!"
"Go out with everyone!"
"You're only young once!"
"Always talk in exclamation points!"
I don't think this advice is applicable to everybody. Some people are just naturally monogamous, and to be encouraged to date all different types of people, can actually mistakenly expedite a premature relationship that never should have been.
It's always depressing to start dating someone and end up really liking him, only to find that he doesn't reciprocate those intense feelings. Welcome to the "he's just not that into you" phenomenon, of which many women seem all too familiar with.
As a professional actor (I starred in one Best Buy commercial, so you know, I'm a very big deal), I am no stranger to melodrama. I can cry myself out of nearly any situation (real ugly bloodshot eye tears or pretty Jessica Alba tears-- your choice), which means I don't take break-ups well.
I begin writing a romantic epilogue, of sorts, in my head. It usually starts something like this:
"Well, that was fun. Seeing as I will never experience joy again, I should probably just sell all my belongings and move to Alaska. Don't worry about me though, it'll be cold, but my heart has shattered into a billion or so pieces, so ya know, it's all good. Cold, broken hearts require no warmth."
(Clearly, these could only be my own embarrassingly accurate ramblings.)
Depending on who you are, the grieving process can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few years, but just to let you know, I have not yet sold my MacBook nor my Prius to move into a new igloo studio.
Perhaps, it's because I have found joy again-- a happiness greater than anything I have experienced previously. Dare I say, it's near perfect?
And with this new relationship comes the important realization that this romance could only be made possible by experiencing all my past romances, both good and bad.
Sometimes, we hurt so something better can come along. I know, I know. This is a nearly incomprehensible concept to my fellow instant gratification seekers. But even Buddha took 49 days to reach enlightenment.
The right guy:
I googled signs of a perfect guy, and found this gem on Twitter:
It's funny, because women like assholes, right? Not necessarily. Women like whom they like. Sometimes, he may be an asshole. Sometimes, he may be a thousand-year-old playboy. Sometimes, he may be Mr. Exactly Right. (I apologize for using that loathsome phrase-- I just really needed a noun that would be parallel.)
While bravery, intelligence, gentleness, devotion, etc. are all wonderful, I'm not sure that anyone who epitomized all of these qualities would necessarily be my perfect match. But then again, I don't look for specific qualities in a person (except for smelling nice).
I look for how this person makes me feel. Do I feel safe, ecstatically happy, beautiful, smart, funny, lucky? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes...
These are true signs of the perfect guy-- the one that makes you feel perfect.
In an insecure relationship, we look for validations from everyone else-- astrologists, our hairstylists, our friends. Don't ask Susan Miller. Ask yourself, because you know the truth, and the quicker you get to it, the sooner you will be blissfully happy.
Joseph Campbell said, "To follow your own way is to follow your bliss."
To a blissfully happy 2011 everyone!
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