In 2006, when my ex and I first got together, I agreed to date him for a couple of reasons. One was that I was sick of dating, I had just been dating this horrible man and he was so much better. Another was because I was encouraged by my friends to “just give him a chance.” I was 26, and thought that I should follow that sort of common wisdom that says friends make the best life partners.
In 2009, when we broke up, people came out of the woodwork to ask me what I was ever doing with him in the first place. Which was frustrating because I was… following their advice? I don’t like to publicly discuss this too much, but I got over being angry about my break-up about a week after it happened because I was so relieved to be out of an ill-fitting relationship that I found myself actually crying from happiness on more than one occasion. Dating my ex was in some ways a good thing: I knew how I could be in a long-term relationship and that was valuable. But now I’m 31 and single, and I feel that I could already be in a solid, wonderful relationship if I hadn’t wasted my time for four years.
So, I’m not going to settle. And I’m not lowering my bar. Because that doesn’t work.
What do I want? It’s pretty simple. I don’t have a spreadsheet with criteria that I’m judging every man I meet by. I’m not looking for some construct of The One (because I don’t think that exists). At the basic level, someone I like (and am physically attracted to and compatible with) who feels the same about me. Someone who is kind and not an asshole. Someone who wants to be with me. I would prefer that he could also make decisions for himself.
After that, I narrow things down because I’ve noticed certain things cause problems later on. So… I would like him to be as smart and educated as I am. I would also like him to make more, because while I don’t care about who makes the most, I find they usually do. I don’t find these standards unrealistic.
If I can’t find that? I’m fine being the Spinster Aunt. I am so much happier being alone than with someone that makes me unhappy.