When it comes to the kind of person we want in a partner, we all have specific things we hope for, or expect – depending on our personalities, past experiences, and preferences. For certain people, it is about the person’s personality; for example, is he/she kind, ambitious, patient, religious? etc. For others, it might be their physical attributes; we all know the classic “I like them tall, dark and handsome”, which is the case for a number of girls (I won’t even front, myself include), or for the guys: “Ah! She must carry o, because I’m an ass/boob guy”. And for some other people, it might be the financial aspect they are more concerned with—they prefer financially stable partners, someone whose family name carries weight, or at least someone who is on his/her way there, and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t prefer that?
And who is to say which of these is irrelevant, or more important than the other, except of course the parties involved in the relationship? For instance, I am of the opinion that the most important criterion is the person’s personality; and not too long ago, I thought that that should be the case for everybody. But I’ve come to realize that we are truly different. (I’m sure we all know that, of course everybody is different… but I don’t think many of us really get it, because on some level, we still hope and expect people to share our views and opinions; I guess it’s just in our nature or something).
The point is, people will have certain expectations and hopes for their dream partner, and certain factors will be more important than others to certain people, based on a number of things… which is completely fine, just as long as it is a personal choice/decision.
Various conversations I’ve had with several adults in recent times about the subject of relationships and marriage, actually inspired this article. When I talk with youngins like myself about the topic, we all express the kinds of things we look for in future partners, and for some reason, the lists are usually longer and a lot more precise than those offered by adults (because clearly, we’ve thought these things through, and are wiser than the experienced adults). But then, I will talk to an older uncle, aunt or family friend, and express these same expectations, and I will hear things like: “you young people are so unrealistic” or “don’t worry when you get older, you’ll understand what I’m saying and change your mind”.
I have really tried to figure out why they all seem to have this same kind of response, and I’ve concluded that it’s probably because “you can never really get a hundred percent” and “there is no perfect person out there”, because these are also some of the things they say during such conversations. Of course, I am well aware that no human being is perfect, and I agree that you can’t always get EVERYTHING you hope for in one person, but does that mean that we should settle?
(At this point, I should define what I mean by settling in this particular context, so we are all on the same page)
For me, settling is going into or staying in a relationship with a person, knowing full well that he/she does not fulfill certain criteria that you have personally decided are paramount for your happiness or satisfaction.
In other words, you have a bunch of expectations of a partner, and you’ve prioritized and decided which of them are most important and must be present, and those that aren’t. But then you meet someone that is nice and decent, but doesn’t exactly ‘qualify’ because he/she is lacking in one or more of these ‘must’ criteria, and is not able or willing to compromise, and you still decide to go ahead with the relationship or marriage.
I agree that over time with age, maturity, and experience, some of these criteria change for a lot of people—and rightly so—because we are always growing and rediscovering ourselves. But many people still end up in relationships and marriages with partners that do not meet these ‘must’ criteria—essentially, they settle. And I just wonder if it’s a maturity thing like all these adults claim, or if people are just settling because they are running out of time, for fear of the unknown, or as a result of familial/societal pressure, etc.
The more I think about it, the more I wonder if perhaps settling is somehow part of the maturity process, such that with age and maturity, our expectations are just automatically lowered. If that is the case, then are there really no “perfect” people out there? Obviously, nobody is generally perfect, but I still believe that there are people that are perfect for each other. I honestly do not know what the answer is, but I sure hope that it’s not the case. Sometimes I even wonder if it is because we have convinced ourselves so much, and for so long, that we will probably never find our ‘perfect someone’ that a lot of people end up settling.
Obviously, sometimes when you meet a really amazing person that does not exactly meet your ‘must’ criteria, you’re able to reshuffle that list and move things around to accommodate that person, which I think is the case for many people. And if you are lucky enough to meet that someone whom you are willing to make that change for, that person who basically makes you rethink your whole life, then good for you! The person must really be worth it. I just hope (and advise) that the decision is personal, conscious and intentional, so that you don’t end up suffering in silence, or secretly hoping that this person will magically become who you want them to be, or worse, trying to change them to become someone they are not.
Just pray, keep your eyes open, and play your cards right, and hopefully, the right person for you will come along.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Hongqi Zhang (aka Michael Zhang)