It’s still my default reason if people ask why I’m single, and there isn’t time to give them the analysed-with-military-precision response.
But I think we both know it’s a little simplistic.
Telling yourself you haven’t found ‘the Right Person’ repeatedly, even though you’ve kissed not just the frogs but everything else in the pond, gets you off the hook from developing self-understanding. And you’ll never meet the elusive Right Person without that.
You won’t have the recognition skills.
Single people go looking for ‘the one’.
Alternatively, they might believe that there isn’t just one ideal person out there: there’s probably a handful or two. And once you find one of them, and if the timing is sort of okay, then you give things a try.
Beyond the idealistic twenties, getting involved with a person mostly falls into the “I think this could be it, let’s try and see” space. Any more certainty than that, and you probably aren’t paying attention to the actual person, but your hormones or a diatribe from your mind.
The fork in the road
If the timing is right, then it happens: lovers get it together. And because they have both been in love before, and they are older and wiser, they know roughly how it’s going to go.
They’re going to be in love for a while, and eventually the love will transform into something without the early heat, but nonetheless satisfying in a different way. Because nothing ever stays the same, and life is better once you develop a little deference for the process of change – even find joy in it. It has to be better than mourning for earlier phases of a relationship, grasping for a return to headier moments.
And both keep recommitting, and they keep compromising, and hopefully find some sort of a happiness with one another, because they were already sort of happy before they met.
That’s one version – the one where people stay together. Here’s the other:
At some point, sooner or later, one or both says ‘they’re not the right person,’ because there was an argument over something, or they did something the other didn’t like, or something just isn’t right (happily vague enough to act as a catch-all). And so one or both, but let’s be honest usually one, extracts themselves and life goes on.
The search continues. And when people ask them why they’re still single, they say ‘I just haven’t met the right person.’
Let’s say you go down the first road, or you’re seriously considering it. You are convinced enough that you found the right person to make a commitment.
Maybe that’s when the doubts creep in – when it’s ‘too late’ (although the concept doesn’t really exist anymore). The nightly arguments over who stacked the dishwasher incorrectly are the occasions you scratch your head and wonder, ‘did I marry the right person?’
We’ll all ask ourselves the question.
But at that point, it isn’t the right question.
The right question
If you married them, then you must have been fairly sure they were the Right Person at least once.
Given this, the question changes direction. It stops being ‘are they the right person?’ and becomes ‘am I the right person – for them?’
You’re right for them if you want to be with them still, and you accept who they are.
The golden rule of dating, friendship, relationships: If someone wants to be with you, they will be. If someone wants to make time for you, they will. It makes everything a lot simpler when you apply that rule.
You aren’t right for them if their every minor act of humanity causes you to call into question their fundamental rightness. Or you’re focusing on their faults, and pretending that you wouldn’t have problems with someone else. You will have problems with somebody else, although they might be different ones.
When you get into a relationship, you had better be choosing the problems you want.
We love in different ways (four, give or take). If our ways are different, then we learn to accommodate eachother’s ways, or we can say ‘too hard’ and leave. Both are decent options.
But when you leave, you aren’t leaving because ‘you aren’t the right person for eachother’. Let’s up the honesty dial.
You are leaving because it is too great a rub to love them in their way, and you suspect you’ll be happier with a person whose style is a little closer to yours.
There’s nothing wrong with that.
Applying logic to love isn’t overly helpful. Excessively living in your head means you’ll never be sure that your current right person is the Right Person.
But a little logic is useful, and so here is a little logic. They are ‘Questions to Know Whether you are with the Right Person’, bandied around on the personal growth/self-development circuit.
The very first question:
Did you learn to be reasonably content alone yet? (Only if this one is a clear ‘yes’ do you proceed with the other questions. It is how you know you are truly making a choice.)
Do you two want the same things? Are you making time for them and them for you? Do they accept you as you are? Do they care about your emotional/sexual needs (do they even notice them?) Take an interest in your welfare?
Do you like what they bring out in you (are you happy with who you are when you’re with them?) When you fell for them, what else was going on in life (important!)? Do they ignore certain key aspects of you?
Are you ignoring a huge red flag (did they tell you directly that they aren’t into commitment)? Do you make excuses for their behaviour?
Are there things you do together that you both enjoy? Are you respectful when you disagree? Can you argue productively (to achieve a greater understanding)? Is your attraction to them mind and spirit, as well as body?
Do you share a vision for an ideal future? Are your financial goals broadly aligned and are you sexually compatible?
Do you make a good team?
Can you easily imagine a more satisfying relationship?
‘I just haven’t met the right person yet’
But if the lingering sense of dissatisfaction is always there, perhaps you haven’t learned what you need from a relationship. And in that case, maybe the Right Person doesn’t exist – yet.
Suggestion: get to know yourself. Become the right person.
It’s how you’ll know the others.
Source: The Art of Wellbeing