Mark Radcliffe thinks you should skip
the supermodel and go for the one who loves you even on your worst days.
We all have our own romanticized
notions of what it will be like when we find true love. How it’ll go. What
it’ll feel like. What he or she will look like, sound like, act like. Even kiss
And every once in a while, we
actually meet that person. There they are! In the bar standing next to us! Or
down the hall at work! Or in the line at the bookstore!
They’re perfect. Everything we
imagined. And so we engage. And chase. And pursue. And assume our very best
behavior. And fight for a chance at that perfect union we’ve imagined in our
heads for so long.
And sometimes it works! We get their
phone number. And a date! And a second date! And sometimes it even goes a month
But then at some point, it runs
afoul. What once seemed effortless becomes arduous. The perfect conversations
suddenly don’t flow as easily. The shine has worn off the apple. It’s work,
now. And who has time for that?
And here’s where many a relationship
come to an unfortunate end. Because the other person thinks it should only be
constant magic. That anything else is merely a false symbol.
But we still chase them! We want it
back! We think of what we can do to possibly salvage this sinking ship. Should
we change ourselves? Adjust our behavior? Change our whole personality? After
all: this is love. Surely it’s worth sacrificing for, no?
No, I’m here to say. It’s not.Because
there’s a big, horrible idea out there in the world of romance:That if it’s not
hard, it’s not real.
True romance must be earned, we
believe. Struggled for. Barely survived.
If it comes easy, it’s wrong.
Shallow. Too simple.
We must suffer for love. We must cry
with certain regularity. Lose our faith time and time again only to barely
regain it again.
I humbly submit that such a belief is
the romantic equivalent of 100% grade-A bullshit.
Perhaps it comes from our culture’s
puritanical beginnings. The notion that anything great is worth suffering for.
And while I agree that love takes
work, patience and forgiveness, I don’t think it should involve perpetual,
If the relationship you’re in takes
constant, ongoing acrobatic maneuvers to keep it afloat, then it’s not a
relationship; it’s a doomsday project.
Relationships, in general, should be
If they’re taking a ton of work, a
ton of the time, something’s wrong.
Chances are either that:
A) One (or both) of you is not a
stable enough person to even be in a relationship to begin with, and you need
to go off on your own to learn how to keep yourself perfectly happy with
nothing more than yourself to sustain you. (And yes, I’ve been this person many
B) One of you has unrealistic
expectations of what the other is supposed to provide them on a regular basis.
(And yes, I’ve been this person, too.) They think you’re supposed to keep them
constantly entertained. Or wined and dined. Or sexually pleasured. Or
emotionally rescued. Or financially bailed out.
Neither of which is sustainable.
Which is why I say the following:
Don’t chase the person you can barely
hold on to when you’re at the top of your game.
Seek out the person you can be happy
with even when you’re having a bad day. Or week. Or month.
Because those days will happen, many,
many times over the course of a relationship.
And the person who’s only happy with
you when you’re a superhero will not stick around when you finally become a
mortal again and need them to be there for you, instead.
So skip the supermodel. The pursuit
of your own personal Jessica Alba or David Beckham. It might be heaven for a
week or two, but they’d probably dump you as soon as you failed to be the
emblem of perfection for more than 2-3 seconds in a row.
That perfect pairing with the Mister
or Miss Right we’ve all imagined in our hearts isn’t going to survive the
endless ordinary days that real life is fraught with.
The person who’s truly right for you
is probably cleverly disguised as the one you work with every day. Or the one
who you’ve casually known in your circle of friends for five years. Who has
seen you at your best and at your worst. And is still there, a big believer in
your immense potential. And is probably an amazing kisser if you’d just give
them a chance.
That’s the person it’s going to be
genuinely easy with over the long haul.
So the next time you’re looking for
the one, don’t look up on some stage or pedestal for some shining realization
of your fantasies. Turn around and look behind you. At the person you might
have overlooked. The person who is quietly everything you need them to be and