I first fell in love when I was 16. It was the type of love that was overwhelming and all-consuming. I couldn’t stop thinking about the person. I’d daydream the ways I would propose, and how magical our inevitable wedding day would look. I imagined us having kids and growing old together.
I had the same excitement—the same passion—with the second and third person I was proud to call my partners.
Then my twenties hit. Mediocre dates became the norm. Grindr flakes and catfishers seemed to be everywhere. Despite my best attempts at communication, I never felt like I was ever on the same page with the person I was dating. I wanted more. He wanted less. I wanted to have a life outside of him. He wanted me to himself. It was always something.
As my mid-twenties hit, I found my passion for writing, and as my career began to take up more of my time and energy, I didn’t quite have it in me to "date" as seriously. Besides, dating had (somewhat) lost its allure. That’s what happens when the men you get excited about ghost you, and the men you aren’t excited about fall in love with you. It’s what happens after your umpteenth breakup.
I’m still looking for that special someone. I still would like someone I love to be in my life. Someone I care for. Someone to grow old with.
But I’ve also come to realzie that I will always love myself more than any person I date.
In my previous relationships, I would have happily taken a bullet for the person I loved. Now, to be frank, I don’t think I would. Even if it was for Mr. Right.
When I had this revelation, I couldn’t help but feel selfish. Love takes compromise. It takes acts of selflessness and putting the person you love first. While I get that, I also know the fate of most relationships. I also know that I am (and will be) focused on other things besides my partner, like my career, my friends, and my own damn life.
I want to find someone who loves himself more than he loves me. I’m not asking for anything more than what I want in return (which makes my desired relationship feel a little more equal and which makes me feel a little better).
Maybe this all means that I’m just not ready to settle down. I’m not ready for the man of my dreams to come and swoop me off of my feet. So for my sake, I hope he doesn’t come along any time soon, and I blow it.
It may also mean that I’m completely aware of what I want, which may be the key ingredient in the recipe for a successful relationship. Being able to vocalize this to my partner may be exactly what I need in order to have a meaningful—and lasting—relationship.
But who knows?
All I do know is what I want right now out of a partner, and that’s definitely more than I could have ever said in the past.