There are a lot of things on my bucket list, but one of the most important ones has been Meeting The One. The love of my life, the one who will be perfect for me, who will make me happy ever after.
Still, this was pretty low in my list when I was in my 20’s. It was something to think about in the future, that would happen when it happens. No pressure.
Yet at this time I had older friends who already were in that future, and wanted to have kids. Wanting to have kids changes everything, because it has an expiration date.
My friends were still single at 30 something, wanting to meet the love of their life, getting married, having a child or more, preferably in that order. So, they needed it to happen now. So now and so bad that it cluttered their whole judgment.
I knew a woman who met almost a hundred men through Tinder in 6 months. She was basically on the app all the time. Some of these men were obviously not the perfect match for her, and somehow all the other ones ended up running away. When I was hearing her stories it used to make me feel very sad. She seemed so desperate to find someone that when she met a (even remotely) good candidate she was clinging on him so hard that he eventually fled.
She was smart, and she could see that she had a self-destructive behavior. But, she was so afraid of this uncertain future that she was not able to control herself in front of the few suitable bachelors.
Another one of my acquaintances was so eager to be in a relationship that when she met a guy who wanted it as well, she just plunged into it. The guy seemed very nice and very in love with her, and they seemed happy. Rapidly they bought an apartment, and talked about marriage. All was back on track.
Until one day, he breaks up with her by surprise, totally out of the blue, going away with all of the furniture and her credit cards. And it wasn’t the worst part: she had paid everything for the apartment, but still had to reimburse him with half of the amount because she had declared to the bank that they were equal in the payments, in order to protect him.
She is a very smart woman, with a successful career and supportive friends, not the typical victim. But, as she confessed months later, she wanted it to be real so badly that she was in complete denial. As she told us, there had actually been some huge red flag situations in the relationship but she had preferred ignoring it.
These are two extreme examples, but not that rare either. I won’t even write about each woman I met who chose to stay in an unhappy relationship because they thought they wouldn’t have enough time anymore to meet someone else.
As a 20 something bystander of all of that, I was thinking that I could never be like that. Yet, secretly, I hoped from all of my heart that I would find the love of my life soon enough.
Then, suddenly I was 30 something, and still single. And I realized that meeting someone I merely wanted to date had not happen for a long time. As it appears, our priorities are not the same anymore. When you meet someone at this age, deliberately or not you start to wonder if you could spend your life with this person, live together, maybe have a family. Obviously, the answer is usually no, so you don’t even try. You’re not even interested. You don’t have time for random weeks-long relationships anymore.
Time is ticking.
In my 20’s, I was dating guys because they were cute and we had fun together, and when it was not the case anymore I just broke up and move to the next one. Easy, simple. The big question of life-long commitment didn’t even cross my mind. Ten years after, this big question was basically preventing me from dating.
I had been single for years when I met a guy that, I don’t know, had something that was very attractive to me. I couldn’t tell what it was, but I quickly had the feeling that this guy could be the one. I felt it in my guts, it was very powerful. I became a little bit obsessed, and then, finally, it happened.
We had the best first date ever. When he touched my hand I thought that my heart was going to explode, nothing else existed anymore, we were just here, hand in hand, moved like if it was the first time in our lives.
We talked about everything, we laughed, he was already planning for our future. He told me that he had been waiting for me for a long time, that he felt that we could be the real thing. He didn’t want it to be a fling, he knew that we would be together for a long time.
Who said red flags? Well, not me.
I was so happy. I felt that we were exactly on the same page, and that he could be the one.
I was so happy.
And then, he disappeared.
Not “amber alert” disappeared, but just couldn’t find time to see me. he was texting, calling, saying that he had a lot of things on his plate but all of this would eventually be important for our future.
I was miserable, but I believed him. I found a lot of excuse for him, every time. It lasted something like 3 months, and after this first date, I’ve seen him twice.
Both times were not fun at all, but again, it had to be a reason. It couldn’t be him. I was decided to be patient, to wait until the perfect relationship that he talked so much about could finally begin. In the meantime, I cried a lot. But hey, I have seen enough movies and read enough books to know that true love wasn’t always easy. I was up to the challenge.
Then, one day, I was one the phone with him, he was apologizing for not being here, and it happened all of a sudden: I realized that I couldn’t care less. That I didn’t even want it, I didn’t even want him.
And I started to laugh, because I was so stupid. He probably didn’t understand what happened. After months of insisting of us having a real relationship, I broke up with him by saying very honestly that I just realized I don’t even like him, and I had no clue why I thought I did.
That was the exact truth.
After a lot of thinking, I think I know what provoked all of that. He once probably did or said something that resonated in me, and I projected on him all of my celibacy years and all of my wishes to finally meet my true love. At our first date, he said all I needed to hear. Then, with him being never here, I was able to shape him in my mind exactly how I wanted him to be. I have had this relationship with a guy that existed only in my mind, and on this day, well, I realized that it wasn’t actually about him.
This has been kind of a shock to me. First, because it was kind of crazy. But also, I didn’t know that I was that eager to find love, so eager that it would lead to this amount of denial.
Even if I didn’t feel that pressure, it appears that I wasn’t an exception here. Deep down I was feeling this need to meet the one, and ironically this need led to self-defeating behavior as well. I was no different from other 30 something single women.
Now, you have to know that everything ended well for everyone.
The serial-Tinder woman met one guy one day that she found really not suitable for her. So she was able to be normal, friendly with him, and then they fell in love. They celebrated their 4th anniversary, and they had 2 lovely children.
The one who had been conned, after some recovery time, met a simple, sincere guy, and they fell in love. They are not married, but she doesn’t mind. They are now the proud parents of the cutest baby.
My friends who got themselves stuck in an unhappy relationship eventually came to their senses and broke up. Some are still single, some are not, but they are all way more happy.
And me? Well, one summer I decided to travel alone, and along the way I met a man who was travelling alone. So, we travelled together. It was vacation so there was no pressure, no big question, I was able to just have fun. Even if this guy was living in another country, and I felt I would never fall in love with him, we’ve had a nice vacation relationship. So nice that we decided to see each other again after the vacation, and then, surprise, we fell in love. Now we are married and I am more happy that I thought I was even able to be.
The moral of this long story? Well, there are several:
- you don’t have to be in a relationship to be happy, and if it is not the right one for you you will be unhappy for sure.
- be smart with your finances.
- don’t make excuses for anyone. A red flag is a red flag, not a slightly dark orange one.
- don’t put too much pressure on yourself because it usually is counterproductive.
- it is hard, but the more you try to meet the love of your life, the less you’ll be able to open up to new relationships.
- you can’t know for sure which person you will fell in love with. So don’t miss opportunities, the worst that could happen to you is having fun.
- meeting the one tends to happen when we expect it the less.
But mostly, never settle down. You deserve better.
What about you ladies, have you met the one yet? Please share with us your stories, your struggles, your everything.