More than half of American adults are single and that number continues to rise as we all look for greener grass.
The messes we clean up are our own, we get the whole bed to ourself, we don’t have to call and check in with anyone, and we can watch whatever we want on Netflix. We can plan a hike, a dinner or a trip to Europe without consulting anyone, we can flirt with the bartender and we can eat the last bite of key lime tartlet without guilt.
We don’t have to worry about pesky, convenient, regular sex and waking up next to someone who thinks we’re the greatest thing on the planet. We don’t have to suffer through foot massages after a long day and don’t have to be called “Baby” or “Sweets” or “Love” or “Honey” except by the nineteen year old blond barista with the painted on eyebrows and blue fingernails. We don’t have to get random love texts throughout the day, distracting us from important things like reading an email from crazy aunt Martha or cleaning up cat vomit.
And thankfully, we don’t have to engage in interesting conversation with another person while lying naked in bed on a cold rainy night.
Ah, yes, flying solo has tons of rewards but despite the beauty of the single life if we’re like most people, we’re secretly hoping that one day the “perfect” partner will fall fall right into our lap.
The easy partner. The fun partner. The sexy partner. The loyal partner. The partner that looks right, sounds right and behaves right. The perfect partner. With over seven billion people on the planet today surely one of them is perfect right?
It’s easy to find someone to flirt with, to date, to sleep with and maybe even to love for a while but finding that person—the one who comes out of nowhere and somehow turns our whole life upside down, is a whole different story. And if we’re lucky enough to find that person, keeping them is yet another story.
We live in a disposable society.
Disposable diapers, disposable contacts, disposable razors, disposable silverware, disposable this and disposable that. When we grow tired of something we toss it and get a new one and that applies to just about everything except our kids and pets. If we don’t like our car—trade it in. The house isn’t what we wanted after all—sell it. Our job is boring—get a new one.
We always want bigger, better and newer.
We buy the latest computers and cell phones and musical equipment because it is a little bit faster or smarter than the one we bought just two years ago. If something breaks, rather than glue it, stitch it, nail it, or otherwise repair it we just replace it. And when it comes to relationships, if the one we are in has problems we find a new one.
If our partner isn’t smart enough, fast enough, calm enough, fun enough, patient enough or new enough we trade him/her in on a shiny new model. On-line dating makes it almost too easy. With so many choices we want the best of the best and will settle for nothing less. In a disposable society it makes sense to hold out for perfect, right?
Here are a few simple keys to finding, getting and keeping the perfect mate.
1. Be the partner you want to be with.
Think about what you want and write it down—all of it.
Do you want honesty? Transparency? Devotion? Loyalty? Passion? Understanding? Adventure? Humor?
Is it important that he likes your dog and does she need to watch football? Does he have to cook sometimes and does she need to be a neat freak? Ask yourself about finances and religion and sex and travel plans and family. Do you want her to be a little freaky and does he have to knock your socks off in the sack?
Really, write it down.
Think about the most important-won’t-do-withouts as well as the bonus qualities. Your list doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you.
For example, I will never be in any relationship in which honesty is not important to us both. I will also not be in a serious relationship with someone who doesn’t really love me and think I am as wonderful as I think he is. He has to actually be a good person who makes the most out of life, can apologize and forgive and who does not need me to save or fix him and I can’t be with someone who needs to change or fix me.
He has to accept that I do random cartwheels and tell inappropriate jokes just as often as I engage in intense, intelligent, meaningful conversation. If we decide to be together I expect him to be faithful and throwing garbage out the car window or killing small animals for entertainment are both deal breakers—I don’t care how much fun he is.
If I want a partner who embodies these things, I need to as well.
If I want an adventurous partner I need to be willing to get off the couch. If I want a partner who will travel with me I better be putting aside money to travel. If I want a partner who keeps the house clean I need to pick the wet towel up off the bathroom floor. If I want good communication I better learn to listen.
If I want the “perfect” partner—I need to start by being that person.
2. Stop looking so hard.
Sure, keep dating, browsing profiles or letting your friends set you up with their co-workers but don’t be desperate. Don’t settle and don’t force it. Relax and be patient. Sometimes the right thing sneaks up on you and sometimes it was there all along.
3. If you want to find the perfect partner you need to realize that there are no perfect partners only perfect fantasies.
Yep—That’s right. We’ve all heard it our whole lives but when it comes to relationships we tend to forget that no one is perfect.
We expect him or her to be perfect or at least damn close but unless you live in a Disney movie Prince Charming is not going to show up on his white horse and sweep you off your feet and that girl you’re falling in love with has some flaws.
I’m not suggesting you settle. That’s the beauty of the list you made. By all means, make sure he has your important-won’t-do-without qualities and a few bonus ones, but understand, and I mean really understand that the person in front of you is not perfect, never has been and never, ever will be.
Realizing that will open you up to enjoy, accept, appreciate and forgive.
While being single can have its own rewards, a little patience, working on being what you want to attract and realizing that no one is perfect has its rewards too—one of those rewards might just be finding the partner who’s perfect—for you.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Kimby Maxson
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock