A former beau and I had an email conversation today. He saw my profile again listed on a few dating sites and asked what was happening. I explained about the meltdown and he suggested we should get back together.
I tried to reply pleasantly, but still let him know I’m not interested in him romantically. I said, “You have a lot to offer the right woman.” (When I shared this response with a male friend, he made a gagging expression. So how do you tell someone gently — and repeatedly — that you’re not attracted to him? He’s a good guy, not a toad. I’ve written about him before in “He wants romance; you want friendship.”)
We mused about dating life. I’ve been dating 2.5 years, he’s been at it three. He, like me, has had lots of first dates, and a few multi-month relationships. He’s 60 and getting tired of the hunt. He said:
“I know this is crazy but at this point in our lives, with the amount of time we have left, we either choose to stay single or better yet, contrive a great relationship and tolerate the best possible person we can find and don’t argue with them. I’m not saying be passive, but tolerant and forgiving of the other’s attitudes and preferences. Then all you have left is great fun, great sex, great traveling, and love.”
While I understand his point, I’m not quite ready to just choose someone and decide he’s The One. Although I have been interested in what happens in arranged marriages. I asked those whose marriages were arranged how they felt about marrying someone with whom they weren’t in love. The overwhelming response is, “You learn to love them.” As long as there isn’t abuse of any kind, and their mate is a decent, caring, sane person, they have found ways to learn to love him/her.
In an arranged marriage others make the decision; the families do the due diligence for you. In our world, we make the decision, sometimes not doing any due diligence. If someone has many of the characteristics you want, and a few that drive you crazy, can you still learn to love him? Are we too quick to throw the baby out with the bath water if we find someone with whom we’re generally compatible?
Or would that be settling? If you felt you settled, would you ever be happy? Or is the elusive soul mate just a myth? Real-life couples who seem to have fabulous relationships don’t share their setbacks, so it appears they are madly in love for years and years. And maybe they are.
What do you think? After dating a while and finding some “almost-perfect” guys, should you just choose to be with the next one who seems pretty darn good, even with some glaring warts? Or should you hold out for one for whom you can fall head over heels and he for you? Is there a point where you need to decide to wait no longer?
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