Monday, February 01, 2010
Mr. Good Enough?
I was reading an article about Mr Good Enough recently. I heard the topic rehashed a couple of weeks ago on the radio. Lori Gottlieb claims that women should throw this idea of soul mates and ideal love out the window and settle for something more realistic in order to avoid ending up alone. She advises women not to be "picky".(http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200803/single-marry)
I've gone through two phases in the past twenty-plus years: the romantic and the pragmatic. When I was very young, I was romantic of course - school girl crushes, naive, inexperienced, shy, and awkward. Men were something I didn't understand, love was idealised, and I was intimidated and taken advantage of by men I thought were experienced and worldly - they were jerks. At some point I hit a pragmatic stage. My line used to be that you don't marry the person you can't live without, you marry the one you can live with even when they're being an asshole.
I had fallen out of love with the romantic notion, the one that I didn't think existed in real life. The prince does not exist, little birds do not braid my hair, and that perfect, all-consuming love is a fantasy. I reached that age where I was mature enough to realise that love is more than romance, that there has to be a realistic compatibility and a true friendship in order to make something that lasts. I found what I thought was perfect, wonderful, and above all, rational. When I married my ex I thought that this was the best relationship on the planet. And it was. For a while. And yet, despite the fact that the friendship never died, and I still feel a kind of love, it wasn't enough. Ten years later and two kids and suddenly I realise that I've learned something else: I wasn't admitting what I truly believed because to admit that makes me sound like I'm delusional, mimicking my four-year-old daughter's idea of love, regressing to some la-la land make-believe Disney baloney schlocky love that was crazy to believe in.
I'm still not really admitting it out loud to be honest, because it really does seem very foolish, but if it doesn't exist, why does the idea of it exist in the first place?
We all tell others that the big LOVE is a crock, but I think that most of us really do want to believe in it, we're just not ready to admit it until we find it. Once we do find it, the fairy tale stories emerge.
And yes, I know that there has to be something else to it. I mean, living with another person, even when you love them, is a lot of work and once you realise that that person is as much of a pain as you are, bubbles burst. Still, there has to be something else, something between Disney and a life of compromise.
So now I'm reentering a romantic phase, but this time I am armed with experience, confidence, the ability to braid my own hair, and the sense to know that if it doesn't work out, I will at least be able to write about it (men be warned). I want that man who loves me in his gut and who makes me completely crazy, who does nutty things because he loves me and who makes me vibrate.
Even if I never find mine, wouldn't it be foolish to settle for anything less than what I want?