We are socially conditioned to search for our “perfect match.”
In the 90s and early 2000s, the glossy, one-dimensional promise of a soulmate dominated the genre of romantic comedies. The same tired storylines and the same typecasted characters fed us the lie.
The female protagonist’s life would be shown as incomplete until someone came along and validated her existence by falling in love with her.
The plot usually centered on the initial stages of the romance. The movie would conclude right before any true character development or story arc proved necessary. The audience didn’t get to witness the meat of a relationship. It was neglected, even though the is the extended space where successful long-term relationships reside.
Because there aren’t happy endings. There are happy, fulfilling, and meaningful middles.
Though it is clearly a half-baked notion, this idea still permeates pop culture.
You are here for your own human experience. If you want love and relationships to be a part of that, those goals are attainable.
We have been lied to.
“the perfect person”
“the soul mate”
“the one you were destined to be with”
This is fluffy branding so that producers of related material can profit off of your idealism. You aren’t an incomplete puzzle piece, and you certainly won’t find the answers to your life in someone else. But, tell someone anything enough times in enough different voices, and it becomes easy to believe even the most obvious drivel.
The truth is less magical but, interestingly, more empowering. You are here for your own human experience. If you want love and relationships to be a part of that, those goals are attainable. That said, no one is going to make you whole. Be wary if someone needs you to make them whole.
In some moments of your life, you’re going to feel fulfilled and complete. In other moments, different kinds of emptiness will find you. That’s the nature of this ride. No one can save you from feeling the hard stuff.
When you decide to build a relationship with someone, you begin the process of experiencing life together.
There is no sure thing.
It’s so tantalizing to believe that all we have to do is find the right person. The rest will happy naturally, with magical ease.
This is not how real relationships work. There are no guarantees.
Two people can have the best relationship in the world and still lack the certainty of it lasting. We can have our assurances. We can try to choose wisely. That’s it.
None of this is a reason to give up. Instead, we can use this knowledge to accept just how much agency we have in looking for a potential partner, in figuring out if the glue of compatibility is plentiful, and in building a strong, powerful relationship.
How often do people stay embroiled in an emotional minefield of a relationship because of some initial “magical” connection?
It’s quite common.
How great would it be if we could push the old framework for love out into the ocean, whisper our goodbyes, and replace it with something sustainable?
Then, we would find that love is a lot more than a chemical high. It doesn’t hinge on finding the perfect person. Instead, love is about forging a bond by consistently showing up. Love is premised on work. Most of the time, it isn’t glamorous. At times the work will be frustrating. Even infuriating.
Doing the work together is what makes two people ideal for each other.
When you decide to build a relationship with someone, you begin the process of experiencing life together. You must learn how to effectively communicate. You must receive the bad stuff along with the amazing stuff.
Negotiations and compromises aren’t limited to professional boardrooms. They are the bread and butter of a healthy relationship. They help two people stay in conversation.
Many (if not most) of us enter a new relationship with some heavy baggage. It has got to be unpacked, sifted through, understood, and let go of. Two people must learn how to help each other move throw various forms of pain and the clumsy stages of healing.
Loving someone is a serious responsibility. Building a life together requires constant teamwork.
It isn’t easy, but, when we get it right, it is beautiful.