Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Other Side Of The Equation

I realize now that the hardest part in finding someone isn't trying find a person that has the things you're looking for.

It's finding a person that appreciates the things in you that you enjoy being appreciated.

One of the things I miss the most about my ex (and a few other select relationships) is when she would share with me a moment or aspect of who I was that she adored - one that I had never even thought about before. One time it was how expressive my eyes can be. Another time it was my broad shoulders. Or how safe she felt sleeping next to me. Sometimes it was my smooth skin. Or how she liked the way I walked, or finished her sentences, or how fast I solved puzzles. And especially the multitude of intimate connections we shared that she promised never to take for granted. She noticed all of the little things that pass over the rest of the world's heads... parents, siblings, co-workers, even best of friends. To a large degree, they're far more invested in their own lives to ever notice and become aware of the nuances that make up who you are as a whole. (After all, how often are you thinking about all of your friends' cute little quirks?)

Even most girlfriend and boyfriend couples only scratch the surface of each other. He'll say she's so pretty, and she'll say he's so strong; He'll say, "Oh, you're so smart," and she'll say, "You're so funny." But that isn't who you are. That isn't the crux of you. We are all comprised of little idiosyncrasies, involuntary subliminal "ticks" that separate us from each other.

You could take 10 men, stand them side by side, and have them all be, say, 5'9" - that's average, right? Now let's say they all make, astoundingly, the exact same amount of money. They all drive the same make and model of car, have the same favorite musical taste, eat the same food, weigh the same amount, are all left-handed, and even share the same political and religious ideologies. Let's even give them the same skin, hair and eye color, too.

Now on paper, they're the same person and therefore, theoretically speaking, should be interchangeable as a potential partner for a woman, right?

But of course we know that isn't even remotely true. There are a combination of tiny differences in each one that individualizes them all from each other.

• How does one guy act when he has the flu and can't get out of bed? 
• Is he grumpy and demeaning? 
• Do one of the others act like a injured puppy in the rain? 
• What about when you sit them all down in front of a computer with awful internet connection? 
• Which one flips the keyboard into the air first? 
• Which one likes kids? 
• Hates kids? 
• Wants to have one or two? 
• Wants to have five? 
• Says he hates kids but actually adores them? 
• How does each one drive in traffic after being cut off four times in a row on the freeway? 
• Which one will remember your birthday with a gift, and which one will remember it with a surprise vacation? 
• And which one will forget altogether? 
• Which one is terrible at oral sex but amazing at everything else? 
• Or vice versa?

And most importantly: Which one will experience you for who you truly, truly are, discover all of the things that you love and hate about yourself, and still love you? Which one will love you for the right things? And call you out on the bad? And let you slide on others because he knows he's not perfect either? Are you okay with someone that will never be capable of comprehending 100% of your hidden, untapped nature? Will you settle for something "easier" if it means you'll never have that intense fire and magic of a deep connection again? I suppose that decision is relative to each person, and each person decides what they're willing to trade-off for.

I personally concede no ground.

See, you could find someone that ticks off every box on your checklist - "attractive, smart, secure job, within your age window, close by, likes pets, likes your kind of music, food and drinks, someone my parents will like, etc." - that's the easy part. Because you're intrinsically always on the lookout for that minutia of qualifications anyway, so you don't really have a choice in terms of the set of qualities you'll end up with. And you could go out with that person for a while. But after some time passes, you'll know whether they possess the ability to understand the depth of who you are... or not. And it will become obvious fairly early on that you're going to have to make a choice: Surrender your ceiling and settle for "well it's not bad", or admit that you and the other person deserve more - deserve better - and then be brave enough let them go. It's actually irresponsible not to. You're denying them happiness just as much as you are your own.

I'm a stubborn son of a bitch. I was with an "easy" for about 5 years. But I eventually came to the realization that she would never fully grasp who I am or appreciate the extent of me. That's simply not who she was. This isn't a bad thing; On the contrary, she was and still is a profoundly wonderful person. One of my favorite people I've ever met. She was just a very simple person and needed only a simple boyfriend that wanted a simple life. That would make her happy. Unfortunately, I'm neither of those things. And I knew that somewhere, out there, was a simple guy that she could fully appreciate and would fully appreciate her in return and need nothing more from a relationship. Some people are perfectly content eating vanilla ice cream. She was a vanilla girl. (I was... I dunno... Rocky Road? That's a cliche enough metaphor.) So at the expense of security and contentment, and for the sake of her happiness, I let her go.

And then I pursued my twin and she pursued me

And then we won

And then we lost

The rest is history. 

This isn't about ego, either. It has nothing to do with, "I want someone who always thinks I'm a god." It has to work both ways. That person could unearth everything amazing in you and you could like it, but if you're incapable of tapping into the amalgamated spirit of who they are, it's not going to work either. It's about the reciprocated acknowledgement of one another's true essence.

There are plenty of women out there that fulfill my surface requirements for a partner: Pretty, college-level intelligence, ambition, broad sense of humor, empathy, well-intentioned, informed intuition, analytical defaults, submissive vulnerabilities, alpha tendencies, a willingness to push me and to be pushed herself, politically and socially aware, big and kind-hearted, not religiously-charged, craves life, loves animals, and possesses inherently strong nurturing instincts. There are quite literally tens of thousands of those women out there. And within my age range. Also, single.

But how many of them could possibly "get" me? For all those attributes that align with what I desire in someone else, the most critical aspect is the most difficult to find: Profound and accurate appreciation. In all of my years, I've only found it twice. I could have been content with silver a few times... but I can't. I never can be. I need gold.

See, you can find and be with someone that has all the stuff you want on paper. But the kicker is that intangible variable in the equation that so many people forget and causes them to settle: 

It's not about what you find in a person - that's the easy part. 
It's about what that person finds in you. 

That's what makes it work. In the end, you'll miss what they loved about you. Because it's when you get someone that sees things in you that no one else has seen before - not even yourself - that's when you truly have a unique connection that you can live for.

...that key that moves all the tumblers in your lock.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An insightful piece. Very glad you wrote it.