I started seeing a therapist recently and we were talking about all things dating: compatibility, timing, companionship, passion.
In my young adult life, I told her, I've given time to a couple of enthralling people who I instantly connected with, but who didn't check off all of my boxes. I've also given my energy to someone who is wonderful on paper and who looks good standing beside me in photos, but is just not the one—whatever "the one" means.
Most recently, I experienced an example of that instant connection, but it fizzled out as quickly as it began. Our lifestyles and what we want for our immediate futures are different and we both decided it wasn't going to work to merge them together.
Regardless of whether ending things was the right thing to do in either case, it still hurt. I explained all of this to my therapist, who proceeded to tell me something I immediately had to write home about (or write here about, actually).
"You can't tie yourself down to Mr. Almost."
I started bringing a journal to therapy because I arrive with ideas of topics to discuss, but I also use it to write down the insightful ways she'll spit my own words back at me. This was one of those times my pen instantly leaked ink.
Mr. Almost perfect. Almost always responds. Almost is there for me. Almost loves me. So it goes.
In her podcast recently, Estée Lalonde discusses dating with one of her friends and they agree on something that also really struck me: Just because someone checks all of your boxes—kind, humorous, employed, similar aspirations, attractive, etc.—does not mean you should be dating them, because it is possible to have both the enchanting romance and logistical matchup.
For heterosexual women especially, Lalonde goes on to say, we assume that if a guy checks off the boxes and is attractive/attracted to us, we should be dating them. We should just fall into the relationship because...well...what else would we do? We almost act as if that experience will never happen again: someone being compatible with us and liking us back. But it will happen again, and forcing a relationship or just being complacent in a relationship because it "makes sense" isn't love.
OK, sure, maybe it's love, but it's not the kind of love that you believed in when you were little or currently dream about at night. And if we don't believe that kind of love exists out there for us, who will?
In yet another podcast, this time by Katy Bellotte, she says that we owe it to our future partner to keep searching for them. If you don't want to find them and if settling down or monogamy isn't your schtick, that's OK, too. However, if you do believe they are out there and you're just sick and tired of swiping right and you're considering closing yourself off to the dating scene, keep in mind that you're working towards finding that person. And maybe they'll thank you for putting up with all of those uncomfortable coffee dates just to get to them. You'll thank yourself, too.
I scribbled it down: You can't tie yourself down to Mr. Almost.