Rethinking What I Always Wanted in a Partner
Dear Bloggy, I’ve neglected you over the last few weeks. So very sorry. But also not, ‘cause I was dealing with some shit. Still am. I’m a little all over the place. My heart is a weird mix of overwhelmingly open and kinda scared as shit.
I think I’ll save the more specific guy stories for another post, because my low points over the last couple weeks stem from feelings and experiences related to a few different guys (single life, amirite?!), and it would be a lot to get into now. So, I’m just gonna talk about something else I’ve been feeling lately.
Okay, lessss go!
Most of my life, up until pretty recently, I had this this idea in my head of what I want out of love and in a partner. And while that’s remained consistent in a lot of ways, it’s also changing a bit. Which is totally normal, of course. The only thing that comes close to being as sure as death is change. Life is full of change, whether we like it or not. Whether we think we’re ready for it or not. All that to sayyy, I’m not sure about what I want in a partner like I always thought I was. In terms of character, I’m pretty set in what I know and need and don’t fuck around with people who don’t give me what I need, but I think I’m evolving when it comes to other things.
Cigarette smoking, for instance. While I know cigarette smoking is a deal-breaker for me and I don’t think I could enter into a relationship with someone who smokes cigarettes daily—because I don’t think you should get into a relationship wanting to change your partner, and cigarette smoking is something I would absolutely want to change—I’ve realized that a handful of the guys I’ve had feelings for in the last year or so smoke cigarettes. It’s unattractive to me, but it doesn’t turn me completely off the way it did for so long. I think about men like Dax Shepard, who have created a good life free of bad habits of the past. Shepard suffered with alcoholism and drug addiction for years but has been sober for over ten years now and is a wonderful, flawed, happy, hardworking husband and father. The bottom line is, people grow and change. I wouldn’t want to miss out on someone who could make me as happy (and crazy :)) as Dax Shepard makes Kristen Bell because I’m closed off to the idea that the right person for me may not have their shit together in the way I’m looking for when I first meet them. My person better have their shit together (for the most part, at least) when we start trying for kids, but that's a bridge to be crossed later on.
Now more than ever, I’m open to the possibility that I may not end up with the kind of person I (almost) always saw for myself— someone who’s incredibly confident, strictly against cigarettes, never got super into smoking weed, doesn’t have a ton of experience with hard drugs, and didn’t go through a cringe-worthy period of promiscuity. That kind of person is a nice thought in my head, but I don’t want to let someone’s past—or my thoughts about who they were in the past—keep me from exploring the person in front of me. I know that whoever I end up with, I’ll be accepting them and their baggage 100%. I never want to ask someone to throw away their baggage or apologize for it, because we’re all shaped by our baggage— our past experiences and hardships and fuck-ups. I want to say to my partner, “Let me help you carry that. Bring that inside and feel safe in this space with every last bit of it.” Because that’s what I need in a partner. That’s what we all should have.
Of course, I’m not meant to be everyone’s perfect partner, and not everyone is meant to be mine. Duh. As much as I try to make everyone I come in contact with feel safe and welcomed, it’s not realistic to click with everyone. If I’m not meant to carry one individual's baggage, someone else is. That’s how I see it. For the first time in a long time, I don’t have a clear picture in my mind of the person I want to be with. The picture is fuzzy, and that’s really exciting to me. I’m open to being with someone who’s rugged or clean-cut, or a mix of both. Someone who’s kind of a goody two-shoes like me but with a little edge or someone who’s been a wild child and has been more reckless than I ever have, or a mix of both. I feel open to love but also, somehow still, not super far-removed from my last breakup I went to through almost two years ago. That immediate post-breakup heartbreak I felt is still so raw in my mind that the idea of falling in love again, knowing heartbreak is a very real possibility, scares me. But I know I’ll jump in and risk that heartbreak if I have something, and someone, I want to explore and give a fair shot.
I guess I’m always open to love, even when I’m scared of it. And I’m a little scared of it right now, because I know how deeply I feel things. I’m a highest of highs, lowest of lows kinda person. And I know everything—the people I love, the people I fall out of love with, the people I want to love but don’t, the people who disappoint me and make love seem so far away—is leading me to the person.
I was listening to my new favorite podcast that’s just the most beautiful dang podcast in all the land, The Love Love Love, by Yan Palmer. In episode 12, “DEATH SURGE,” her guest, Ash Parsons (one of the most profound speakers I’ve ever heard), says something about her husband, who was on the podcast with her, that resonated with my deeply: “Through the very, very, very worst, realest parts of myself that I’ve been willing to expose to the air, he’s been the only one safe enough to carry them and not smash them and spit on them. And, my gosh, I have a person to bring all of my mess to. I have a person to bring all of me to.”
That quote…that transcendent kind of love makes every breakup and period of grief and devastation and lonely night worth it. Gosh dang it, I cannot wait until I have someone I can bring all of my mess to. Someone I want to bring all of my mess to. Someone who is my home. Whether they’re rugged or clean-cut or somewhere in the middle.