I used to wonder if the idea of finding a partner who embodies all the traits that I hold most important to me was a realistic expectation. Or had I been a real-world person living on fairytale terms? Was the idea of finding my perfect partner asking too much from the universe? Was I setting myself up for disappointment? And were compromises something I’d have to consider for the sake of companionship?
I have always been a romantic at my very core. I waited incredibly late in my adolescence to have my first kiss because I was adamant about it being special. I studied literature in college because that allowed me to indulge in all the great works on love ever written. And ever since I was a young girl, I’ve strongly felt that the relationship between a couple is the most precious because it is a union made from choice. With so many people breathing on this earth today, to choose someone and stick with them is completely against the odds. Out of all those people, all those choices, to choose to mutually come together and be partners in crime - to be lovers and create a life together - is so special.
And because I’ve always viewed this union with so much awe, I’ve always wanted my partner to be exceptional. I’ve always wanted a love that would rock my world. And there are a handful of traits I’d want in this significant other. It is important to me that my life partner be creative; that this person be ambitious, hard-working and goal orientated. An active seeker of knowledge and a mind-blowing conversationalist. Someone with a quirky sense of humor who doesn’t mind getting silly. An unabashed lover. Someone that will challenge and motivate me. Chemistry from the start. And I’ve always been content to wait for however long it took till I met this person. They are worth it, I smugly think.
But am I being too picky?
Just last week, while I was filling my mother in on my latest dating adventures, she asked me, “Do you know right away if you’ll like a person?”
“Yeah, I know immediately. It has the be an instant chemistry thing. I don’t want to be in a relationship with someone if I have to warm up to them.”
“But Jessica, sometimes feelings develop over time. You need to give people more of a chance.”
She ended that conversation by reminding me that I wasn’t a quite the spring chicken anymore. I love the woman more than anything and I understand her concern for me - she doesn’t want to see me alone, but I’d rather roam the world single than with someone I felt lukewarmly for, but grew into over time.
I know that that does happen and that there is nothing wrong with a steady progression into romance. But I can only speak from my own experience - the men I have had my most life-shaping relationships with, and whom I’ve felt the strongest for, are those with whom I felt an immediate connection. This enraptured chemistry is so important to me and I can only accredit it to me being hyper-mindful of my intuition. As I grow older, my intuition only speaks louder. When I think back on relationships in my past, I don’t view them as failures, but instead as delicious sneak-peeks of what’s to come. Each relationship was unique and exciting in its own way. Chemistry was the foundation and everything else just fell into place.
Recently I was invited to an intimate dinner party at a married couple’s home and upon my arrival, I asked the pair how they met. While listening to them recount the day, nearly a decade ago their paths first crossed, their faces alone spoke volumes of the love and admiration they held for each other. He was a photographer, she was an entrepreneur and they were each other’s biggest fans. Together, they had built the loveliest of homes. His photographs adorned the walls and she stood high and proud, watching guests admire the captured moments. They supported each other in their endeavors and truly believed in the talent and ability of the other to succeed. And their eyes widened every time the gaze of the other fell on them. Neither tried hiding their affection for one another. The passion between the two was unequivocal. I remember thinking, that’s what I want, and they were living proof that it can happen. A union rooted in evident chemistry and insurmountable interest. This is not to say that I believe this couple lives in perfect harmony. Without a doubt they butt heads. Surely he must get ticked by something she does and maybe she doesn’t agree with a belief he has. But those are the compromises they choose to make. Compromises they found worth it. Worth it so that they can exist together.
As for me, that nerdy bibliophile, undergrad who constantly interchanged “love” and “magic” still lives strongly within me. I prioritize love and grand, boisterous feelings because they make life better. I value chemistry with the utmost importance and won’t budge on that - it's just too good to sacrifice.
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