Go back to start − each of us has had to deal with that phrase and its consequences when playing Monopoly. Little did I know back then that Monopoly was actually preparing me for real life.
Yes, this is another post about the quest for a life partner. Are you tired of those yet? If so, I assume you met your significant other half an eternity ago and can’t relate in the least bit to how difficult it is to meet potential partners. Wait. I shouldn’t assume. Assumptions are dangerous, or so I’ve learned this year (click here for more on this). What I meant is that my situation is less relatable to all the people who are so lucky to still be with their high school sweethearts today, either because they had the chance to transition to adulthood together and therefore now share interests and points of view or because they were drawn to each other from the start due to their shared beliefs and matching plans for the future.
Anyway, that’s not where this post was supposed to be headed. Back to Monopoly! Back to start.
At my current (some would say old) age, I don’t have the same mindset a 20-year-old would have. I no longer want to date and see where things are going. While it sounds really carefree and casual, exempt from any kind of pressure and therefore very appealing, it’s not something I can deal with these days (or ever could, for that matter). I don’t want to hang out with someone, fall for them and end up getting attached only to find out after a few months (or even years) that we don’t want the same things in life. I can almost feel my heart breaking just thinking about it.
The following might partially stem from my control-freaky tendencies, but I believe that there must be some basic compatibility for a relationship to even stand a chance of having a future. If that’s not the case, investing in the relationship is just a waste of time, for both myself and the other person. Imagine yourself spending a lot of time with someone, letting them into your life, falling madly in love with them and then breaking up because − surprise! − you’re looking for different things. It’s like driving towards a cliff at full speed and then wondering why you drove right off it.
Of course, there’s always a slight possibility of people changing their mind about things. Circumstances change, opinions can change and maybe one of the partners will shift their beliefs in favour of the other partner and it will all work out. Also, no relationship is 100 % unicorns and rainbows all the time − getting hurt occasionally is part of the deal even if each of the basic requirement boxes is ticked from the very beginning.
When love is stronger than anything else, one partner might even “give up” a dream of theirs in order to make the relationship last and work. I have great respect for people who love another with such devotion, but I believe that there’s a risk to it. They might end up feeling as if they sacrificed a part of themselves for their significant other and therefore harbour resentment, possibly without even realising it.
Relationships that are set up for failure from the very start can still go on for a while. Maybe the involved decide to just hang out and have enjoyable moments together, do the good old living in the moment thing. From personal experience, I know that living in the moment (which isn’t my strong suit to begin with, as many can confirm) gets harder and harder towards the end of the relationship’s lifespan. The reality of heartbreak gets closer and suddenly, fear kicks in. Once fear gets thrown into the mix, one starts tiptoeing and doing the “push & pull back dance”, which basically means leaning in too close, getting scared and bouncing back to a safer distance, away from the potential pain. I’ve done my fair share of this dance in the past, wanting to be close and then freaking out because of the looming expiration date of the relationship. The sad truth is that this effectively ruined the remaining time by preventing me (and evidently, my then-partner) to get the most out of the last months for fear of irreparable heartbreak.
I believe I’ve made my point: being on the same page about the big things in life is vital for a functioning relationship. Compromising on things that are too important can lead to unhappiness and frustration and creates the nagging sensation that something’s missing, which is the perfect breeding ground for what-if thoughts, resentment and even regret. Naturally, nobody likes pain. We learn that it’s to be avoided, given that pain is our bodies’ protective mechanism. Heartbreak is pain too. Fearing pain makes us cautious and guarded and thus prevents us from being vulnerable, which is essential for opening up to someone and showing them who we really are. If we’re not vulnerable, we miss out on the real thing.
What I’m saying (mostly as a pep talk to myself 😉 ) is, go back to start. Find someone you like and start over. Have the talk and eventually find your real-life match. (Or, more realistically, don’t find him/her. Ha-haa.) Either way, don’t stop trying. Or do, if that’s what you want.
Go back to start.
[Found here via Google search − LOVE is a nice TV show you can watch on Netflix by the way, in case you were wondering. Also, this is not an ad.]