Practically the entire time I was in Europe, I really wanted to find a man to be in a romantic relationship with. I remember one particular day when I went with my host family to the nearby town of Rimini to hang out by the seaside. I don't know if I was dehydrated or what, but there was a particular moment where my iPod started playing the song, "It Might be You", the song written by Stephen Bishop as the theme for the well-loved 80's movie "Tootsie" with Dustin Hoffman. It suddenly seemed as if time slowed down: I saw moms with their babies in their adorable little sun-hats, couples looking lovingly at each other, friends connecting, children playing...it was like a scene from a Seurat painting, only better; more vivid, more real, and much more beautiful. In that moment, I got that life is all about the connections we make with other people, and in that moment and for quite a while after, I craved those deep and lasting connections.
There will always be a part of me that wants those connections. I am a loving person who needs love in her life to feel fulfilled. What's different now as opposed to when I was in Europe, though, is that I value the connections I have already much more, and I see that they do exist in the form of friends and family. Even when I doubt it, I know I have people that love me, whom I love back. I don't think that I really saw that before-I have always been the kind of person that has looked outside herself to try to find the answers to the emotional questions within. Now I've realized that, in addition to having other people who love me, I also love myself, and I will always be there for me. I think it took losing one of my best friends in the world for me to see that, but I get it now.
When it came to the issue of having a relationship, once I came back home and got the love and stability "fix" I needed from family and the environment, I realized, hey, guess what?! I feel like me again-and that need for a romantic relationship has since subsided. I guess I was just lonely, vulnerable, and craving stability.
Well, okay. I'm not closed to the possibility that it could one day happen for me; that I could find someone I want to share my time and experiences with-- I just really don't feel that I want that at the moment. I used to almost crave a relationship, marriage, kids, the whole deal. Now I'm doubting whether or not I even want to have kids. I think they're adorable, I don't have the saliva/vomit/baby poop phobia like my sister does, but I am feeling downright selfish. I still have so much to do that doesn't involve settling down and/or raising children. I guess I could always just strap on a Babybjorn and take the kid with me around the world as I go, but it seems a little unfair to them. I dunno, it's like in that Jezebel article, I'm undecided and therefore decided thus far. Oh, and my ovaries are shriveling. Tick, tock.
Anyway, back to relationships. I always have said, "well, if I met a great guy"....yadda yadda yadda, but the fact is, I've met great guys. I've met TONS of great guys, and I've dated great guys. I just never feel fully connected, and I'm at the point where I'm tired of trying to force it if it doesn't feel natural to me.
Speaking of which, I have begun to doubt the idea that "the one" is a real concept. I had always believed this, but am really reconsidering. It's not being cynical, seriously-it just seems to make more sense to me now. I think that for a woman, the formation of a stable, great relationship can come down to four key factors, with a "wild card" factor thrown in: compatibility, attraction, stability, choice, and the wild card: a situational bonding experience.
Let me explain: If you get along well with the person, are attracted to them (physically and/or mentally), are truly receptive to the idea of a relationship and in a stable place mentally and physically, you may choose that person, feeling that you were meant for each other--when really, maybe you were, maybe you weren't. Anybody's guess. The "wild card" I mentioned is valid when the stability factor isn't present, which can create more intense feelings of attraction and compatibility. I am thinking specifically of a friend of mine who met her current fiancee abroad while they were taking a TEFL course together, and she had a very intense medical situation happen there that needed emergency attention. The guy was by her side through it all, and they bonded. Obviously, when one person helps another through a traumatic emotional situation, there is the potential for an instant bond to be created.
Anyway, all I'm sayin' is, I've never had the magic recipe for creating a stable relationship, and I don't know if I ever will. And, though I don't like to start a sentence with "and", that's okay. :)
I've said it about relationships, Dodai Stewart (Jezebel.com article author) and my sister can say the rest about what happens next...(first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes...um, now what?)
Me :) <3