June 10, 2010

Repost

Posted in The Just a Little Sad at 11:34 am by Dagny Taggart

98%

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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4 Comments »

  1. I agree, no one will be 100%, but you need to know that you’re still not settling. Karl is everything I want and was looking for in a man and in a relationship, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t parts of him (like his snoring, ugh) that I wish were different, but those must be things you also know you CAN live with. Not for now, but in the long run, in forever.

  2. Alias Faux said,

    To rephrase what I said in private: we are not the sum of our parts.

    The Mona Lisa is not merely a bunch of brush strokes. There is a completeness to a person that must be taken or left in its entirety. One can no more accept 80, or 98 of a person’s personality, than you can of their body (“yeah, you’re going to have to get rid of your left arm below the elbow if this is going to work”)

    One either accepts (loves?) a person entirely, or doesn’t really accept (love?) them at all. On a personal level, the moment I realized that I could accept (love!) a person entirely without them being “perfect” was the moment that I was ready to get married (whether I realized that at the time or not).

  3. Lemon Gloria said,

    I don’t believe in soul mates either. I believe in some arbitrary number of Ones that might work in the world, and the one you wind up thinking is perfect for you really depends on when, where, and who you are in your space and time when you meet.

    I’m with AF in taking the person in their entirety. There are chunks of my husband that sometimes make me want to gnaw MY left arm off below the elbow, but I do love him wholly and fully. But I really was unable to do that until I got good with myself. Before that, anybody who loved me for me was someone I thought was clearly defective. Truly, I never thought about percentages before. I mean, for me, there were almost people that I tried to make fit…so maybe they were X% and I just didn’t think about it that way. I think maybe I was focusing more on the fit than on what they had or didn’t have. In fact, I’d say that’s definitely my approach. Fit over pieces.

  4. freckledk said,

    Truth? I’ll settle for 68%. not settle as in take what’s just good enough, but settle as in 68% seems good enough. But maybe I need to see the 98% first, to be able to compare the two.


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