Interesting article by Lori Gottlieb arguing the case for settling for Mr Good Enough. The interview with her is also filled with perspectives that I can relate to.
I think the trajectory of my romantic life took on a similar path – desire to find the one to accepting that there isn’t always THE ONE and realizing that the best one is different from the right one if she even exists.
An interesting discussion I had with my former boss at the Indian company concerned arranged marriages. He defended it saying that the notion of marrying for love was all nice and good but that it didn’t ensure a marriage would work or last. Of course, arranged marriages don’t necessarily guarantee a successful marriage but he argued that people entering an arranged marriage might have an advantage in finding long term happiness because they do it with a different mindset. I’m quoting Lori Gottlieb who touches on this issue:
I think the people who go in with these very high expectations about what kind of fulfillment they’re going to get from the marriage and the partner are kind of set up for disappointment.
They have vivid memories of a shared romantic history, and when that wanes or even disappears, there’s a certain amount of sadness or grief that can morph into outright resentment as the years go on. Because the we is redefined so drastically from the we they were before marriage and kids and mortgages and all that emotional water under the bridge.
Well, they don’t go into marriage with those grand romantic illusions. They go into it, I think, with much more realistic expectations. The starting point is “OK, this is your teammate or your partner. Go work out your differences,” as opposed to “This is the person who’s going to fulfill you on all of these very profound levels.”
I do not support arranged marriages – I feel people have a right to choose how they want to live their lives. The key thing to note is about entering a marriage, or for that matter any relationship, with realistic, albeit what might seem lower, expectations.
Passion does not always lead to happiness or fulfillment.
Marriage isn’t a passion-fest; it’s more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business. And I mean this in a good way.
I guess, the question is then what one considers important? A passionate romantic relationship or a stable happy relationship. Both types of relationships aren’t mutually exclusive and blessed is the person who finds a relationship that is high on both counts. Every relationship probably has both elements in varying degrees, so back to the question, which one would you like to have more of?
My sentiments exactly:
What I long for in a marriage is that sense of having a partner in crime
Best description for our search for love:
It’s like musical chairs—when do you take a seat, any seat, just so you’re not left standing alone?
A classic Catch-22:
“If I’d settled at 39,” she said, “I always would have had the fantasy that something better exists out there. Now I know better. Either way, I was screwed.”
Even if you find THE ONE, if that person is so awesome, what makes you think that you are good enough for that person to desire you or accept you? The conceit we have is that we feel we deserve better.
Are you willing to risk what you have in order to hold out for what either may not exist or, equally important, may not be attainable to you, even if it did exist? It’s nice to have high ideals, but the reality is, you may not be attractive to what you consider the best.
A while back, during Chinese New Year, I had an interesting discussion with a friend about finding THE ONE. My friend argued that God wouldn’t have setup a system where there was one perfect partner for each of us because such a system couldn’t possible end up in a state of equilibrium where everyone had the ideal partner because all it took was one person to make the wrong choice and there will be a cascade leading to everyone being attached to the wrong guy or girl.