love life: Finding Mr or Mrs Right
Join Camilla Patini for Lip’s fortnightly column on love, life and relationships!
It’s funny. Just the other day I was sitting at a bus stop, freezing my teats off in this wintry Canberra weather, when I overheard the giggly, excited chatter of a young woman in her mid-twenties behind me. She was, apparently, ‘head over heels’ about some guy. My personal circumstances had me feeling resentful – she was being far too cheery for my liking. I managed to put my doom and gloom aside for a few minutes and heard about how the guy she was seeing was ‘So perfect. I think he may just be Mr Right’. I had the urge to get up and tap her on the shoulder to tell her that he most likely isn’t perfect and that she shouldn’t get carried away. “You’re deluded”, I wanted to say. But that would have been inappropriate, cynical and mean of me to the extreme. It’s also none of my business.
But I’m not always grouchy. I could sympathise with her. I know what it’s like when you meet someone: you’ve been on a few dates, they like you and you like them. Your heart flutters to the sound of a thousand drums, your thoughts run wild and sooner or later you are imagining them running into the sunset and turning around to look at you with a loose white shirt on in the manner of a Calvin Klein advert. Or perhaps not.
This is the most dangerous point in a relationship: the moment you decide you like someone. You begin to bend your standards and want to secure more time with them. You ascribe to them qualities they may have but haven’t demonstrated towards you. For example, a common mistake I see friends make is that they find one or two qualities they like in a person and then fill in the gaps, embellishing here and there where they find they are lacking. Some of my friends create a false image of someone because they want a relationship so badly. This is absolute folly. Some people will drop habits and appointments just to see someone they are interested in. Their focus shifts onto one person and they stop meeting other people. Ironically, the other person may just be wondering what they are going to have for lunch. How can two people be so out of sync?
You have to be more discerning. You can’t decide someone is right for you based on how much you like them. That person needs to become worth it and will gain meaning to you only based on how they treat you. Your decision to ‘choose’ someone or even consider them for a serious relationship should be based solely on this. They must show you through their actions and how they communicate their feelings that they care and cherish you. Hollywood and all those romantic novels lied to us: love on its own just doesn’t cut it.
Understanding what a commitment means to you is important. It’s like happiness: how do you know you’re happy if you don’t have certain criteria or at least some basic rules for happiness? It’s also a good idea to think about what you can give to a relationship. We often like think we’re perfect little snowflakes but we all have flaws. If you expect a certain standard from someone you need to make sure that you yourself meet those standards too!
Stay Tuned for the next instalment of Lip’s new love and relationships column, Love Life!
Next time, Camilla will talk what to do when you’re afraid to love someone.