love out loud: you’d be perfect if you…
Often we enter into relationships with people, thinking this would be the perfect person for us if only something were a little bit different about them. Think of it as adding avocado to a chicken caesar salad; it’s still pretty good, and certainly manageable without it, but with it, it just might be perfect.
Unsurprisingly, people are not dishes on a menu to which you can add or remove items at your will. But what we forget is that a person’s individual traits do not operate independently of one another. Changing one thing about a person is invariably going to change other things about them.
I was pretty happy with Bob Dylan. He didn’t text me as often as I would’ve liked, and he gave me the silent treatment when we argued, but overall I didn’t have all that much to complain about. Nonetheless, that didn’t stop me wishing over the course of our relationship that he could be a little more verbal about his feelings for me which, with the exception of a statement that virtually became a tri-monthly ritual (‘I was thinking about it last night, and realised that I do actually love you’), were remarkably absent.
And then he broke up with me.
Certain that the strength of my feelings for him had always been far greater than that of his for me, and that the resolve he brought to most of his decisions would likewise extend to this one, I got over it. I cried for a couple of nights, but of course I’d seen it coming. What I was wrong about was that he wouldn’t change his mind, and when he phoned me two weeks later saying that he thought he’d made the biggest mistake of his life, I was rather taken aback.
What ensued was, essentially, what I’d wanted while we were together. He told me he loved me more times in the two weeks that followed than he had during the entirety of our relationship. He said he needed to change how he treated me when we fought and begged me to let him come over whenever he realised he’d upset me. He texted me constantly and never went AWOL, distracted by AOE or WOW or WOTEVA, when we chatted online.
Problem is, it wasn’t him.
These things endeared him to me and I appreciated his effort, but he’d become someone different to the person I’d loved. I longed to love him as he was now, but what I had thought would mean a slight tweak into a perfect man had extended into every part of him, and made him miserable and dependent.
Of course, there are still requests that can be made about a person’s behaviour, and the hope is that they care enough about you to take your feelings into consideration and implement changes that will make you happier (as long as they’re reasonable). But where you find yourself wishing that someone was inherently different in one way or another, the truth is that it invariably has a butterfly effect on who they are.
If I had told Bob Dylan that I wanted him to tell me that he cared about me more frequently, he probably would’ve tried to remember to do it because it was important to me. But for him to become the kind of person that did it of his own volition, he had to become someone else who was no longer right for me.
After all, not everyone likes avocado.
(Image credit: 1.)