I just watched a screening of a very good movie, (500) Days of Summer, which I highly recommend seeing. It’s a relationships movie, and a surprisingly accurate one – sometimes painfully so. I saw the ghosts of my own dating history in more than one scene.

[Please note: I will try to write the following without giving away too much plot, but if you’re one of those people who absolutely hates even the hint of spoilers and might want to see this movie, don’t keep reading. But do go see it – it’s good!]

It’s funny: I loved the movie, but I also kind of hated it for that accuracy, and at the end I felt sad. I suppose it wasn’t a movie that helped along my desire to believe in happy endings, the way I want my romantic comedies to do (but I also at the same time hate them for giving me hopes that are never matched by reality). I didn’t want to be reminded of my relationship misfires, and to wonder even now if I’m in another one but I just haven’t had that moment of realization yet. There is a message intertwined in the movie about how right it is when you know you found the one … but I think I’d feel much better about that message if I was already sitting in that place of certainty.

I couldn’t help but think of all the men I’ve dated in my life, most of whom have found life partners – ironically, those are the ones who squashed my heart like a pancake. It’s not that I wished them evil, or an eternity without finding happiness in love (at least, not after I sufficiently recovered from the heartbreak); but I certainly didn’t want them to find it before me. It seems unfair somehow that they should go so quickly – sometimes directly – from my misery to their destined mate, while I am still left wondering.

It also kind of made me want to have a “future” conversation with my boyfriend, which I had just gotten comfortable with the idea of not having for a while. If we already know that we have major differences in some of the things we believe and want, should I cut my losses before I get even more invested than I already am? Can I still manage to get out without getting hurt? Our relationship seems so good right now, and has always felt open and honest and comfortable and peaceful and consistently enjoyable and pretty matched in caring – not like my others – but I am a) historically prone to ignoring big red flashing signals that say “Turn back from this relationship!” and b) used to having the rug pulled out from under me just when I think a relationship is making good progress.

I think I’ve been pretty cautious this time, and I don’t think I have my rose-colored glasses on; but that doesn’t mean I’m not still waiting to find out exactly how and when this will end. While I try not t be such a downer in my daily interactions, I feel somewhere in the back of my mind that the best I can hope for I that the end doesn’t totally suck, and that I get over it fast. Much like one of the characters in the movie, I am pretty sure that this soulmates/true love/find your life partner nonsense is a big pile of stinky poopy. I do have friends whose marriages seem to suggest otherwise … but I think I am not destined to share their happy fate.

Gee whiz – from my description, you’d think this was a terribly depressing movie! It’s not, though … it’s very cute and funny and smart and you should absolutely go see it; despite my mournful reflections, I truly enjoyed the film. And my dire prophecies probably have much more to do with fear of the past than any particular prediction of future behavior. While I don’t know how long my boyfriend and I will be together, I am thoroughly thankful for the wonderful time that we’ve had so far, and I plan to enjoy all the good times that remain for us. I do hope that one day I can let go of that bad history, that it will lose its power to rise up, remind me, and run me over all over again.

Cheers! ๐Ÿ˜‰


3 thoughts on “Match”

  1. Rather than stinky poopy, having a life partner is about living a life with a person. Do we always agree? Hell, no! Frankly many nights I prefer to sleep in alternate places because I need the peace and quiet. Rather than considering myself as a good match, I am a good partner–one that allows my spouse to do the things that he wants to do but I don't particularly enjoy and know that he will give me the space and time to be myself. I don't understand the couples who do everything together all the time, what's the fun in being carbon copies of each other. Instead, I know that together my spouse and I can accomplish more in loving our son, changing the world and living the lives that we choose (in different faiths) together than separate, but if you had to isolate us we're being damn good individuals as well.

    Don't be so hard on yourself. I'm not advocating compromise just an expanded view of perfection.

  2. Finally, I got EGR out of hiding! Welcome, love. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I do agree with what you said (although I might be of a personality type that likes a bit more together-time … but who knows, I could change my mind about that after 24/7 with another person). I certainly don't want someone who has to be attached to me, or vice versa, where we don't have identities without each other. And the whole “you complete me” thing, except in a metaphorical sense, is silly; in order to be a good partner, I'd need to be a whole person myself, with confidence and delight in what I bring to the relationship as well as what my partner would bring.

    My idea of the “ideal” partner has changed quite a bit over the years, and may be based on very different things now than it was when I was younger. There was a line in this same movie that I really liked, with a friend of one of the main characters saying, basically, “My wife isn't my “ideal” woman … but actually, she's better than my ideal, she's real.” While I'd certainly enjoy someone who could cook for me, keep a sparkling house but bear easily with my messiness, dance like a pro, sing like Joshua Radin, wanted to have 7 kids and raise them in the sustainable urban church-community that we help to found together, and had both a Ph.D. in architectural sociology and a trust fund – holding anyone to such a ridiculous standard is just begging to be disappointed, and may have nothing to do with what would actually allow us both to live together for the long haul. But I do want to have that sense of rightness – not just good enough, but a sense that you're where you're supposed to be. I know what that feeling is like from other (non-relationship) experiences in my life; and it wasn't because either I was perfect or the situations were. We were just meant for each other in the right time.

    We shall see … I've learned not to try and predict what the Lord has up His sleeve, because it's never anything I could guess! ๐Ÿ™‚

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