In the last 5 years, 3 women that I went to high school with have gotten married and 2 of them have had children. We are all the same age, grew up in the same area and were raised with very similar values.
In my group of friends there are 5 of us who seem to have been in the same boat for the last 3 years.
We fluctuate between knowing exactly what we want and wanting it, to not wanting to give up what we have to get it…
Of course, I’m talking about a relationship.
My best friends and I can, and have talked about this ad nauseam. We never seem to tire of it and each time, although the conversations pretty much go the same way, we seem to uncover a nugget of gold about ourselves, men or the whole process of dating/relationships each time.
We range from 26-34 years and we vary in racial and ethnic background, education, experiences and careers and yet we are at the same position when it comes to finding another. This has been problematic for Jelly-Bean and I as we try to make sense of why we struggle to find someone of value. You see, there being no common thread makes it impossible to figure out. We all look different from one another (in terms of size and physicality). We have all shapes and sizes in our group from overweight and short to athletic and tall. We have sexy and cute, curvy and slim, blonde and black, curly and straight, long and short, yet we all have the same experiences. Some of us go out to very high-brow events in and around London and are culturally diverse while some of us limit our outings to the local pub or church socials. Yet again, we come back with the same results.
Guys and girls alike usually ask us, “what are you looking for in a partner?”
The following list comprises of the things we all agree we are looking for – of course in varying degrees.
-Someone who can meet us emotionally.
-Someone who can meet us intellectually.
-Someone we can have fun with.
-Someone who can navigate family and various friendship groups (by this we mean, he needs to be able to throw down a few pints with the locals and our friends and make a concerted effort with our family).
-Varied interests (by this we mean, he needs to be able to appreciate a foreign film/theatre production as much as he would a gig).
-Someone who is content with himself (we don’t want someone who needs us, we want someone who wants us).
-PERSONAL BONUS: Someone who can make me laugh! (funny, will get him far).
Now, that sounds like a lot – but that’s not to say he must do or love those things, just that he is able to appreciate them and pull them out when the occasion calls for it.
I used to know someone, who, whilst agonising about his own singledom, would say to me, “but if you really wanted a boyfriend you could have one… your standards are just too high”.
I tried to explain to him that it’s not about having someone, it’s about having the right someone. I mean, let’s face it. It’s a lot of effort to get involved. Time is no longer yours. You are required to put a lot of yourself in it. You are required to commit yourself (even on a dating level).
Of course he didn’t understand exactly what I meant and blew me off with a “well you obviously just don’t want it bad enough”.
But that’s like saying to an overweight person “you know, if you really want to be skinny you could just become anorexic… clearly you just don’t want it bad enough!”
The problem my 4 friends and I face is not that we don’t meet men, but rather we don’t meet the right men. I could take that one step further and say that we don’t really meet men but we meet boys. When I say boys I’m not talking about age but maturity and value level in terms of a partnership.
Just as there are Boys vs. Men, there are also Girls vs. Women. The things a Man or Woman look for in a partner will be completely different from the things a Boy and a Girl look for. Interestingly – this is where my friends and I fall differently. 2 of them are self confessed Girls, 2 are Women and 1 is somewhere between the two. This is something I plan on writing another piece on so I won’t go into it too much.
Anyway, this brings me to the current problem of one of my friends.
She met a guy. Let’s call him John.
A really great guy. A Man, who ticks every one of the attributes listed above and even presented a few more really wonderful qualities. He likes her back and has shown equal amount of interest. He came into her life just as she was ready to believe someone like him simply didn’t exist.
He just got out of a serious relationship (when I say just, I mean 2 months ago and when I say serious I mean, 3 years. He had introduced her to his family, he was getting ready to propose to her).
She broke up with him before he could propose, citing no other reason than “she needed to be single” – which begs the question, if she ever turned around and said “I’ve made a huge mistake, I love you and want you back” would he have any reason to say “no”?
Obviously there are two problems there – he’s probably still in love with his ex and he could be rebounding…
The other problem – he’s going away for 3 months to travel. He had expressed to my friend that he wished he had met her before and that the timing of this really sucks as he wants to get to know her better but I told her, maybe the timing is perfect and what he really needs is to get away and clear his mind of his ex and come back fresh and ready to possibly start something new.
But of course, the risks are:
- He’ll forget all about her.
- He’ll meet someone else (on his travels or otherwise).
- Or that he’ll come back, realise how much he can’t live without his ex and he’ll set about getting her back.
Not wanting to place all her eggs in one basket (that possibly still belonged to another) she met someone else.
Let’s call him Daniel.
Daniel is a nice guy. He kinda ticks some of the boxes and they have a few things in common. He has shown a lot more interest in her than she has in him and he seems respectful and caring but he’s not who she wants. He’s not who she imagines introducing to her friends and family. Now, obviously this is all a little pre-emptive. She doesn’t really know Daniel that well to shoo him off, but I have noticed that she talks about them very differently.
From my side of things, I can see a definite attraction. A chemistry between her and John, but with Daniel, it’s more like a quick spark. The girls and I have encouraged her to give Daniel a chance especially since the next three months will be without John, but when we say this to her she looks slightly deflated and we feel like we’re telling her that “it’s the taking part that matters, not the winning”. But, of course, she wants to be encouraged that she can win.
Personally I prefer John for her but I don’t want her to close herself off for three months especially when she doesn’t know if or what John will come back to.
If this were a Hollywood movie, in the end (through some sort of difficulty) we would all be routing for John and in fact he would pick my friend – perhaps he’d cut his trip short and appear on her door step. He’d probably say something like, “you’re all the adventure I need!” and they’d live happily ever after as the credits rolled. But it’s not a movie. And John is leaving and Daniel is staying.
Of course she can’t string Daniel along. Daniel is very sweet, kind and he’s quite smitten with her. His biggest draw back is that he’s not John. Poor guy, it’s not his fault. By all accounts he’s done everything right. I think if she had never met John she’d be thrilled with Daniel.
So this is the dilemma that is before her and the group.
I guess all that remains is the question – what does she want more? John or a relationship?