Do you believe in the one? I did. When I was young the idea felt intoxicating. A perfect match. One day I’d wander into the path of my heart’s desire & we’d trip right into love.
I loved all those classic romantic destiny type stories. I still do. Hugh Grant fumbling adoringly & Cary Grant being impossibly charismatic. Real life lacked such charm. I had false starts and wrong turns. The one who wrecked my poor heart. The one I wasn’t ready for, the one who wanted too much and all the ones who were just no good. That thrilling ideal became more complex.
My first big crazy disaster was followed by some close calls. Flirtations & flings. Trigger shy, right? I fell for Mr Big and Mr Darcy, but didn’t do much falling in real life. I skipped, through experiences good & bad. Some were lovely, though didn’t quite fit. Others were terribly misshapen mistakes. Most were relatively easy. Sure there was some hurt, but no devastation. I started to think that old soulmate theory was a ruse. In a world packed with variety perhaps there were multiple probable mates. Many flavour combinations that could work with a little customisation.
Then there was Mr Almost. Nearly all the things I’d always wanted. I think I recognised the difference the moment he entered my life. It wasn’t easy. He was complicated & stubborn & damaged. I am too. It was real, though. He made me feel perfectly at ease & totally alive. I wanted to climb into his brain and study him. I was frustrated, excited, soothed & challenged. I’d have turned myself inside out to make him entirely happy. I couldn’t of course. He couldn’t do it for me either. There are things that can’t bend. And yet, it still felt like fate. The spark never wained.
Grown ups have to do the grown up thing. You accept reality. Move along. There are new people; attention grabbing for a while. Until they pale. Comparison will dull the shine on a new beau. There’s making do, which isn’t as tragic as it sounds. You can have a lot of fun with someone who isn’t your destiny. There’s something to be said for building a life with a person who wants what you want. Happiness probably doesn’t stem from fierce passion. I wish I was the kind of person who could believe that with feeling. That steadier, softer, simpler kind of love is actually really nice. If only I hadn’t felt the wild & raw variant, it might be enough.
So, now I don’t know about one true love. I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle. There are lots of possible matches for everyone, but we don’t get unlimited chances to find them. What I’ve learnt is while the idea of ‘the one’ is alluring. The reality of ‘the one that got away’ is much more powerful.
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