I’ve been talking about relationships a lot lately with friends in different stages of coupling and uncoupling. Nobody likes a broken heart. Cause it hurts. We talk a lot about finding The One. Or believing there is a Soul Mate. People search for the Right One. Someone who Completes us. There’s a lot of romance and hope and magic in such language and thoughts. A lot of walking off into sunsets. Happily Ever Afters. There’s great joy, rightfully so, at weddings. True Love wins, right?
And when we hear about divorces or break-ups, we are sad, and want to know what happened. Whose fault was it? Did someone cheat? Is he a cad? Is she a bitch? Then we want to know if he’s dating again. But it could be too soon. Or why isn’t she dating? Then we think perhaps the new partner is too much like the ex. Or he’s a rebound.
There’s a lot of room for missteps. There’s a lot of opportunities for pressure. To get it Right. To find that One who will make you a Couple again. At each step, there’s a lot of symbolism to denote the proper milestones in a relationship. Meeting the parents, anniversaries, rings, co-habitating, sharing email passwords, weddings. Oh, the pressure…
Then we expect the next set of progressions–the house with the white picket fence, 2.5 kids, minivan and dog. Up the career ladder we go with jobs that begin with Director or Chief or Vice. Memberships to pools or country clubs, casseroles to bring to events. There’s a lot of celebrating in the normalcy that is expected of us by society. All these symbols of normal life are supposed to provide us with security and stability and certainty–we know what’s next. They tell us we’re well on the path of Happily Ever After. And that we deserve this Happiness. We’re worthy enough to have the Dream. We’re worthy enough to matter the mostest to Someone. Someone loves us the mostest.
And each of these milestones are supposed to assure us this is forever–we make vows, we acknowledge verbally this will be hard, but it’s supposed to all work out in the end–Richard Gere ended up with a prostitute for God’s sake. So here’s the thing–every now and then, I still succumb to the belief that Coupledom, and the symbolic gestures that accompany Coupledom, assures security and stability and certainty. And that I matter the mostest to Someone, and I won’t ever get hurt like That ever again.
But see, nothing in life remains the same. It’s all transient–there is no certainty or security or permanence. The one thing you can count on in life is that if you look around at your current circumstances, don’t get too used to them–they’ll change.
So sometimes couples uncouple. Sometimes you hurt someone unintentionally. Sometimes you meant it. There are no guarantees, even with hard work and good intentions. And as it takes two to couple, it takes two to uncouple and not one person is to blame. There’s more pressure to reach the symbolic milestones than to maintain the couple.
The moments when I say I want to matter the mostest to Someone, I’m in a place of discomfort and uncertainty, searching for a wall to lean up against and exhale and be done with not knowing how life will unfold. There’s not only the internal desire for connection, but there’s a lot of external pressure to get it Right. Sometimes I still want my happily ever after.
But most of the time I don’t feel this way. I’m well aware that along with the desire to matter the mostest to Someone also carries the expectation for someone to complete me and make me whole–it’s a double-edged sword. I’ve been coupled in the past with the desire to fill this role. But I’m done with that. It’s not something I want anymore. I know that I should matter the mostest to myself. And I’m the only person that matters in this quest for mostness–only I can love myself enough. And that knowledge and ownership of myself is in itself security and certainty. If I look for someone to love me Enough, it will never be Enough.
So do I want to be happy? Yes, of course. A Someone for me though is added value, not any One. I invest my time and energy into enjoying the moments shared with someone, and I continually assess whether it continues to be a positive value in my life. And each day, a decision is made whether to continue forward together for another day. And it is good intentions and hard, mindful work to maintain the current Togetherness. For now, that is Enough.