People often seem to get themselves all wrenched up trying to find “the one” who will miraculously complete them and make their life worth living. There is so much emphasis placed on finding a life partner that some people who don’t have one feel depressed, angry, worthless, and mistreated. (Remember that one guy who killed people because he wasn’t getting laid?). Family reunions are often full of uncomfortable questions like “Hey, are you married yet?”, or “Do you have a significant other?”, or “You should marry soon, or else you’ll be too old and no one will want to marry you anymore”. Pretty archaic questions, don’t you think?
There are two parts to the issue of “THE LIFE PARTNER”. The first is this: having a life partner is not necessary to a fulfilling life. And the second is: when looking for a partner, do not settle for someone you do not really want to work together with.
Part 1: Do You Really Need A “Significant Other”?
We’re always taught that there is one person out there who holds the key to our happiness, as if it’s a state that can’t be reached without them:
- “I’ve found someone who makes me happy.”
- “You should be with someone who makes you happy.”
- “I’ve found happiness with her.”
- “I can’t live without him.”
- “He completes me.”
We’re taught that without this person, we’re incomplete and that our lives are less meaningful. This is so untrue. We are whole, with autonomy over our thoughts and feelings. It is no one’s duty to make us feel a certain way, and it is no one’s fault for the decisions we make or things we feel. How cruel it is to place the burden of our emotional state on a single person!
I’m not sure why so many people feel so sad when they don’t have a significant other. I think it has something to do with intimacy. We all long to feel close to other people, and share all of ourselves with someone. To be really and truly open. As for me, I wish to feel irreplaceable and important in my husband’s life.
When we enter a relationship, we expect to be that person’s one and only. Maybe it feels safer than a platonic friendship. After all, aren’t romantic relationships supposed to be forever? Sometimes we expect friends to come and go. But in all the fairy tales, marriages are forever, with “happily ever after” written in bright twinkling lights.
The problem is that intimacy can be found in so many different places. When you spend time with a family member or go out with one of your closest friends, you can still experience intimacy. You can still share so much of yourself, and the love in your life can grow. Spending time on oneself is also a good way to be happy. Find out what hobbies you enjoy, and start spending time doing them. It’s possible to enjoy life without having a “special partner” by your side.
But I digress. Maybe some people feel safer when they have someone who’s promised to be next to them forever. I know that Erik makes me feel safe. Maybe, after all, man’s greatest fear is that of being alone. But I still believe that happiness is something that exists despite the absence of a “significant other”. There’s so much joy to be found in life: that’s something I’ve always believed.
Part 2: What Should I Look For?
It’s easy to just say, “hey, let’s get married” or “I’m in love with you!”. But too often, people don’t realize what marriage truly entails. And it’s easy nowadays to shrug and mumble, “If it doesn’t work out, we can just get divorced”. Sometimes I’ll see this quote floating around on the Internet that says something along the lines of, “Nowadays, everything is easily replaced, even marriage. In the old days, when we married, we married for life. We didn’t buy new things, we fixed them.” I probably botched that but I hope you guys know what I’m talking about. I think about that quote sometimes and I realize that it’s true to some degree. We live in an era where everything is very easily replaced. I even have clashes with Erik about this: I view things as easily replaceable and so don’t take very good care of what I have. And this sometimes bothers him, because he was raised differently.
Anyways, my point is that when you’re picking a life partner, you should be picking with the thought that you’re going to be stuck with this person for the rest of your life. And mutual feelings of passion aren’t enough. They are not going to keep that fire alive for decades. You need to have a pinch of practicality about this. And mind you, this isn’t a be-all-end-all list. This is just what I looked for.
>> Someone who listens to you.
They let you talk about your shitty day at work, or a new game you’ve been playing. Even if they’re not that interested, they’ll at least make a go of it. Don’t be with someone who doesn’t want to hear you talk about things you find important.
>> Someone you can fart around.
Oh my god, are you going to live the rest of your life without farting? Or burping? Or picking your nose?
>> Someone you legitimately enjoy spending time with.
You can’t just kiss this person 24/7. You’re probably going to raise children with this person, or take on other major responsibilities. You’re not just going to dress up and have dates. So it’s important that you enjoy spending time with them
>> Someone whose long-term plans work well with yours.
A lot of people don’t seem to realize that marriage means you’ll be building an entire life together. And building something isn’t going to work unless you have the same blueprints. If you want a fancy Victorian house with a large patio and your supposed spouse-to-be wants a simplistic Zen abode, well…
>> Someone you can have dialogue with.
I think this is the most important part of relationships. C O M M U N I C A T I O N. There are few problems that are insurmountable with a willingness to communicate and, subsequently, compromise. If you’re always pointing out each other’s flaws or trying to have everything your way all the time, you’re going to have issues.
>> Someone you can accept unconditionally.
Let’s face it. We all have certain things that we may dislike about our partners. Often, we wish they should change, and believe that they should change if they really loved us. But that’s a really terrible mindset. Some of my friends come asking for advice, saying, “I hate it when he _______.” And so I ask—if they continued doing that behavior, would you still be able to accept them? Would your heart be big enough to accept that? Marriage is intended to be for better or for worse, so before you sign your life away make sure you’re ready to accept everything that your partner is and will be and could be.
>> Someone you trust and respect, and who trusts and respects you.
What’s the point of being with them if you can’t trust them?
>> Someone you share at least one hobby with.
Whether it be drawing or making music or hiking or something, I feel like a shared hobby is important for the success of a relationship.
Okay, this blog post has been sitting for a few days now, so I’m going to go ahead and publish it. That list isn’t really conclusive. I think my next blog post will be about BBW, which is coming up soon! I couldn’t be more excited.