I, like many of my friends find myself in my late 30’s still single and mildly bemused about it. I’m not unattractive or wildly weird, and it certainly wasn’t quite the situation I had imagined for myself at this age. Sometimes life doesn’t quite work out the way you or society have planned, relationships disintegrate and the parting of ways is often the best solution for all concerned.
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There are immeasurable bonuses that come with the freedom of the situation, but on some days it’s a gruelling and somewhat heartbreaking struggle. In the quiet hours I often find myself thinking deeply about relationships and studying other peoples partnerships or witnessing their romantic drama as they unfold. It’s a minefield of perplexity and I’m forced to be really clear about what I want in a potential future partner.
As I observe the relationships around me, the reality dawns that half of the people in the world don’t end up with the people they want to end up with and there is a good chance I’ll never find the love of my life.
I’m not trying to be cynical here, but there’s also a good chance you won’t spend your planetary existence with the love of your life. There of course always exceptions to the rules here, especially amongst the older generations whose dating habits were far more focussed and commitment wasn’t as diluted as with todays modern technologically orientated and distracted way of interacting with each other.
According to the US Census Bureau, roughly 40 percent of first-time marriages end in divorce. If you’re thinking ‘that’s all right’, because you’ll have better luck next time, they go on to tell us that consecutive marriages only increase the likelihood of ending in divorce!
But we know plenty of couples that have been married for years and are still together, right? Mum and Dad, Aunty so and so and the Robinson’s next door?
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Well, keep in mind that the average length of marriages that end in divorce is eight years. So just because they’re still together after five or six years doesn’t seem to mean much.
Despite that, there are many marriages that do go the length — or at least we’ve heard of them. If 40 percent of first-time marriages end in divorce, then 60 percent don’t. Phew…there is hope.
The problem with this statistic is that not every couple that remains married is happily married. I know couples who are practically strangers leading different lives in the same house and on paper are still married. I cannot even contemplate the misery of that, even in my most desperate hours when I really need a second pair of helping hands to help nurse my poorly infant in the middle of the night or lift heavy things in the house or make big decisions. I’d rather struggle on my own sometimes than be that miserable all of the time.
I think that we can all agree that there are a good amount of individuals who remain married even though they don’t love their partner, and don’t want to be married to them. Regardless of what this number may be, you still have over a 40 percent chance of not ending up happily married. That’s a very high probability when you consider how important just about every single person in the world believes finding a life partner to be.
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The good news is that the glass is half-full. For every person who ends up alone, one ends up happily married or coupled up. So what differentiates those who end up happily coupled from those who end up alone and miserable?
Those who end up alone either are, or at one point were, completely off course.
I don’t think there is any other way to sum it up. Anyone — and I mean, anyone — can find a person to love and be loved by in return, right? Every single person on this planet has that ability. Yet, so many of us end up alone, why is that?
We either don’t appreciate a good thing when we find it — either we don’t understand what we’ve found or we expect to find something better down the road — don’t bother looking hard enough, don’t put in the work to make ourselves appealing enough to the right persons, or we search for something perfect, not understanding that perfect doesn’t exist.
We’re all too good for everyone else. We’re special — we must be because it’s us. We only get to see the world from our own eyes, so we must matter. We must be important. We deserve only the best. We blah, blah, blah.
All the other people in this world believe they are just as special as you are — so they don’t plan on settling either. They’re most likely also looking for perfect. Perfect… such a beautiful and ugly word. It was once something that was strived for. Now it’s something we all want to either buy, or to be given. We feel deserving of perfection when, in reality, no one is.
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Definition of the word ‘perfect’: Ideal, model, flawless, without fault, exemplary…
I don’t want perfect.
What I want is someone who’s striving toward some form of perfection — not complete perfection — but perfection in some sense of the word. I want someone who wakes up every morning and wants to better herself and the entire world, too.
I want someone who understands that perfection is something you must work for every single day; someone who understands that even working toward perfection every single day will never allow them to attain that perfection. After all, after perfection, where else is there to go? I want someone who is doing the work, consciously on themselves to strive for better.
It’s very important to find a life partner who understands that perfection is to be forever strived for and never attained. This is the only type of individual who makes an amazing partner, because this is the only type of individual who will continuously work on your relationship and your life together. This individual will expect only the best from you while forgiving you when you make mistakes or fail. More importantly, they will never give up on you or allow the relationship to slip into stagnant complacency.
I don’t want perfect, and neither do you.
What you really want is someone worth it. And the only type of individual who’s worth spending your life with is the type who’s willing to create perfection with you, knowing that if you both beautifully fail, you’ll fail together, and that’s the only thing that matters in the end and makes it all worthwhile.