One of my dreams is to be in love. Not to just be in love but to be in a healthy, functional, long-term relationship. I've always admired couples who walk confidently in their partnerships and make them last for five, ten, fifteen years. I've wondered what it feels like to have that steady sense of security and support, to know someone so well, to be in sync. My longest relationship lasted two years. I wasn't completely unguarded so I don't feel I got the true relationship "experience" but I’ve tasted it.
My most recent boyfriend, Ian, rescued me from a stagnant "situation-ship". At least that's what I tell myself to make sense of the two or three month whirlwind romance we had. I’d never become someone’s girlfriend so quickly after meeting him. By our third date he asked if I could see myself in a relationship with him. I said I could. Before I knew it we were an item. I felt a surge of emotions. I felt excited about growing with this new person who gave me so much love. I felt safe knowing I had someone I admired in my corner, rooting for me in all ways. I was so elated I thought about getting his name tattooed. My hormones were going crazy. Here was this man who’d just met me but was already willing to accept the bad parts of me along with the good and be with only me.
“One of my dreams is to be in a healthy, functional, long-term relationship.”
Before I met Ian I'd been seeing a different guy, Brent, for months and treating him like my boyfriend. We did everything couples do except we never were under an official agreement of being boyfriend and girlfriend. I think his mind was in the right place but his actions were contradictory. He explained to me that the next time he committed to someone he wanted it to be for good. He wanted marriage and children. But he shouldn’t have asked me to move across the country before he was ready to take on a relationship...and I shouldn’t have agreed. We rushed it. I was so enchanted I would’ve given him anything. We would break up and get back together every other week. It got to be pretty volatile. I started falling out of love and knew I needed to let it go but I kept holding on. Ian appeared and showed me everything I was missing. He gave me the overt commitment I was looking for.
The problem was we barely knew each other. I’ve always been fascinated by the, “We met and we just knew we were perfect for each other!” narrative, so I thought it had finally happened for me. It only took a couple months to realize we weren’t compatible, despite the burning fire between us. I do think our passionate, intense sex had a lot to do with it. Now that I’m out of both relationships I see things clearly. I was overzealous with Ian and complacent with Brent.
Romantic relationships evade me. I'm often lured into temporary mock relationships that implode almost as quickly as they begin. When I see serial monogamists slip from one relationship to the next I'm fascinated. It takes so much courage and trust for me to be vulnerable enough to let someone into my emotional world that I usually take a lot of time in between relationships. Even when I do open up, sometimes the issue is with me accepting the other person's idiosyncrasies. If a person is too candid with me it can make me uncomfortable and turn me off. Then I become distant. Next time I’m ready to be someone’s girlfriend I’ll remember how important it is to take our time getting to know each other and develop a rhythm that we’re both comfortable with.
I’m determined to overcome this hurdle in my life, and not by latching on to the closest prospect I find. The stars have to align. Everything must make sense. I don’t want another 2 or 8 month relationship. I want a long-term companion who will become like family. I want to see my reflection when I look at him. I want to forget there was ever a time when we were strangers. I won’t settle for anything less. Until I find that person (and I don’t think there’s just one) I’ll spend my time evolving into the best version of myself I can. No rush.
Names have been changed.