May 8, 2007

98%

Posted in The Happy, The How, The Who at 9:02 am by Dagny Taggart

I don’t believe in soulmates, at least not in the way that many people seem to.  I think that for every person on this planet, there is more than one person to live with, happily, long-term.  I think that it’s also true that for every person on this planet, most people could not fill that position.  So we’ve got more than one, but a heck of a lot less than every member of the opposite (in my case) gender.

I think this makes it harder.  For those who do believe in the notion of a soulmate, they’re disappointed when they realize that nobody fits 100% from the beginning, that you are going to have to do a fair amount work no matter what.  Maybe they cling to the notion that someone will be 100%, and they’ll spend too much time focusing on what’s wrong, instead of what’s right.  And that’s no fun for anyone.

For those who have the other view, that one looks for someone who’s close enough to 100% to make the work worthwhile, and mostly fun, someone who’s worth risking an “all-in” bet, the danger lies in the other direction – not settling, exactly, but in taking too much of a risk – in thinking that the person will become more of what he or she wants, or that they’ll want what the other doesn’t have, less.  The awareness that it’s not going to be perfect can have the unfortunate effect of lowering expectations a little too far.

If anything, the latter has probably been my biggest problem.  I’ve been in a couple of serious, long-term relationships where we were both convinced that the little differences wouldn’t really matter so much.  I’ve been the one wanting to try just a little harder, for just a little longer, to meet halfway, and I’ve been the one smacked in the face with the realization that I can’t spend the rest of my life with someone who will always want me to be a little bit different – and the one who had to convey that realization to someone I still cared about very much.

The great thing about the 98%, whether it works in the long run or not, is that it helps you learn more about yourself and what you really want, than anything else can – putting you both in a much better place to get that much closer to 100 next time.

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9 Comments »

  1. shadowsofourselves said,

    Dagny – Right on.

    I believe in soulmates.. But I don’t. How can people be 100% compatible? Not possible. And who WANTS that. I would say go for someone with similar interests, but who also is their own person. What’s the fun of being with somene JUST like yourself? Be with someone that CHALLENGES you, you know?

    I knew it was over with the “ex” when I said to him –
    You don’t know who I am.

    No, I guess not.. Just tell me who you are.. Then we can just move on. This is a stupid conversation.

    Umm, WHAT? After 6 years, if he didn’t know me, I knew he never would. You can’t EXPLAIN that. They “get” you, or they don’t. And it was that simple. (simple except for the tangled web of paperwork that went along with that. Ugh)

  2. Shadowsofourselves, you aren’t going to start singing that “Simply Red” song are you?

    Dagny, you seem to think (and write) about the problems with relationships an awful lot. I wouldn’t necessarily say “too much”, but you always seem like you’re dancing around some huge dark secret of some relationship that ended really badly.

    and since I’m mentioning cheesey songs, I thought your halfway reference link was going to be the movie “Over the Top”, that arm wrestling movie with the song by Kenny Loggins. Instead you got all fancy.

  3. Shadows: I’d say that 6 years is a generous statute of limitations for that sort of thing, indeed. But frankly, “This is a stupid conversation” would have made it easy for me, even if the rest hadn’t been said. I’m sorry you had to go through that.

    HYSL: Oh, no. The more spectacularly awful the breakup, the better the story. I’m not one for the big dark secrets. I just think that particular genre of human interaction is one of the more interesting.

    And it took a minute or two, but I remembered the movie you mentioned. Without IMDB. (hanging head in shame).

  4. shadowsofourselves said,

    HaveYouSeenLucky – GOD that song is cheesy! 🙂

    Dagny – Oh yes! That was it for me. I’m half tempted to become a nun or something. Not sure I’m capable of figuring this whole aspect of life out!

  5. gn said,

    Good post — a very positive way to look at things. I also am skeptical of “soulmates,” but agree that some people fit together better than others. As far as the give-and-take in relationships, how do you know when you’re giving too much (or vice versa)? How long did it take you to realize that you were being asked to sacrifice too much of yourself — so much that it was making you unhappy? I’m the same way — when it comes to relationships and other aspects of life: I’ll want something to work out so badly that I’ll make allowances for certain things, but at what point is it just too much?

  6. gn said,

    (Those questions are rhetorical. Sort of.)

  7. carrie m said,

    wow. Great post. I thought I might have something to add, but you’ve said it all. At least the way I look at it.

  8. shadows: I’m just trying to find joy in perpetual confusion. 😀

    gn: I know you’re not exactly asking, but I think it’s if you stop and take stock, and realize that you’re spending more time being less happy than you need to. If that makes any sense.

    carrie m: Thanks so much! 😀

  9. vvk said,

    1) I agree…

    2) this reminds me of something a friend once said: “Congratulations! You’re one in a million! That means there are only 6,000 of you out there!”


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