Yesterday I was chatting with a friend of ours who is currently living overseas and therefore won’t be able to make it to our wedding.
“Post some pictures! My girls are so excited and can’t wait to see!” he said of his twin 15-year-old daughters.
“I think they’re excited to know that a guy like RM exists,” he told me.
Our friend L lived in Seattle until last summer and witnessed the evolution of my relationship with RM and shared our dating story with his daughters. RM quickly became known as Peeta—due to his stellar bread making and archery skills, not that Peeta had archery skills, but you get the picture—and we have become somewhat of a “famous” couple to them akin to Peeta and Katniss. (We’re flattered, of course.)
His comment struck a chord with me—not just because I think it is sweet that his daughters look up to our relationship, but because I realize that I am lucky to have found a man like RM. For a long time, I also thought men like him didn’t exist.
As my close friends can attest, to say that I had to date a few frogs until I found my prince would be the understatement of the year. For that reason, I feel like I have suffered sufficient heartbreaks and douchebaggery to warrant an appropriate amount of gushing over finding the perfect man for me on a semi-regular basis on my blog. That’s right, I said the perfect man for me.
I recognize that I am lucky to have found someone with whom I connect on several levels—intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. He’s already my best friend, and soon he’ll be my husband. Getting to spend the rest of my life with my best friend to whom I’m also wildly attracted? Not a bad deal. While RM is not a perfect person (who is?), and we might not always agree or see eye to eye on things, I know he is the perfect fit for me.
Why am I emphasizing “for me?” Well, no one is perfect, and when we set out on a journey to find The One and expect him to be Mr. Perfect, we’re holding him to standards that are impossible to keep. We’re setting him up for failure. We’re all human, and surprise—men are too. They make mistakes. They’re not going to read your mind all of the time, and that’s okay. He’s probably not going to hold a radio over his head outside your window. He’s also probably not going to chase you down on a motorcycle with your Love Fern attached to the back. This is not a Rom Com. This is real life.
In the process of searching for—and failing to find—the elusive perfect man, I feel like we [women] have swung to the opposite end of the pendulum. We haven’t been able to find a perfect man who checks every. single. box. and never makes a mistake, so we’ve started settling for Mr. Far From Perfect. This guy appears in two different forms. The first, I like to call Mr. Safe Guy. In this scenario, we’ve come to believe that you just can’t have it all. A man who can be your best friend AND your romantic partner? A man with whom you can have serious discussions AND laugh until you cry? Well, that’s just too much to ask. Just settle for the man who can be your best friend—who cares if there is passion? If he looks good on paper, then he must be the perfect choice, right? Wrong.
Or, alternatively, we’ve settled on dating Mr. Douchebag, to whom we might be insanely attracted, but we recognize there is no future. Then when the relationship inevitably fails, we feel vindicated because we didn’t expect it to work out anyway. Yet we still find ourselves asking, “why can’t I find The One?” This is called Self-Sabotage, my friend.
The bottom line? We’ve become disenchanted and burnt out.
This was me before moving to Seattle. I had been on the hunt for a husband for several years. As soon as I graduated college and started my career, I was ready to find The One. I soon found myself with Mr. Safe Guy. He was a great guy, and he also looked good on paper. The problem? We didn’t have anything in common—no shared interests, no spiritual connection, no emotional connection, nothing. There also wasn’t any passion. It was like a platonic friendship that we called a romantic relationship—hold the romance. He checked all of my boxes though, or at least the boxes I thought were important at the time. Through lots of heartbreak (on both sides), I learned that just because someone is a nice guy and looks perfect on paper, doesn’t mean he’s perfect for me. That guy has since found someone who is a perfect fit for him, and they are currently on the road to their happily ever after, and I couldn’t be happier for the two of them.
For the next several years, I bounced back and forth between Mr. Safe Guys and Mr. Douchebags. The more disenchanted I became, the more Mr. Douchebags I seemed to be gravitating toward. I finally decided that I needed to “regroup” and spend time focused on myself, making sure that I was emotionally healthy so that when I did meet someone worth dating, I would be ready to have a healthy, positive relationship. No more settling or self-sabotaging.
I came to Seattle with that frame of mind, and I tossed out the Mr. Perfect checklist on which I had been unsuccessfully operating for years. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for anymore, and maybe the truth is, I stopped looking. I was content with my life, and I let go of the urgency of finding The One.
Conveniently, that’s when I met RM. I was immediately attracted to him—and not just physically. He exuded such positivity and love for life that I was excited to be around him and wanted to know him more. I knew it was a positive sign that when I spent time with him I felt like I could be myself. I was relaxed. We genuinely enjoyed each other’s company and conversation. We laughed so hard that we cried. We also enjoyed steamy makeout sessions, so that didn’t hurt either 😉 I was beginning to realize that maybe, just maybe, I could have it all.
Above all else, RM had qualities that embarrassingly enough, I hadn’t even thought to include on my previous checklist. He had integrity, honor, loyalty, and kindness. He respected me from the very beginning, and not a day has gone by where he hasn’t cherished me. I was so unaccustomed to being honored by a man, that I didn’t even realize that not only was it something that I wanted but it was something that I absolutely needed. If it weren’t for the introspective time I had spent taking off the “checklist blinders,” prior to my move to Seattle, I’m not sure that I would have recognized a wonderful man like RM if he was staring me in the face.
So while I think L’s daughters were probably referring to the fact that RM bakes bread, plays several instruments, shoots bow and arrows, speaks multiple languages, etc. as the impressive qualities that they didn’t think “existed,” in men—I suppose there aren’t many 15 year old boys like that—it’s those extra qualities that you can’t measure in a silly checklist that make RM so special and me so grateful for him.
Let me just close this gushy post by saying: the honorable men you’re looking for do exist. You deserve to be honored and treasured. You don’t need to settle for someone who doesn’t excite you or someone who doesn’t treat you well. Life might not be a chick flick, but thank God for that! It’s much more complex and fulfilling. Men aren’t perfect, but neither are we—that’s what forgiveness and understanding are for. Life can be sweet and wonderful if we let go of our checklists and open ourselves up to new possibilities. –And who knows? You might just surprise yourself and find someone who is perfect for you.