At age 23 I feel like my desire to get married is a far-fetched dream. Two women who I’m extremely close to have been cheated on repeatedly in their marriages. They are amazing wives and mothers, yet that was not enough to keep their spouses from committing acts of infidelity. These instances have taken a toll on me and often times make me question the legitimacy of men that try to pursue me. To top it off, I am surrounded by twenty-somethings whose relationships are built on wrong reasons: for status or for show, they think that being with someone else is better than being alone, they think that entering a relationship will expunge past pain, they think that they can force themselves to feel a certain way about someone that they know isn’t right for them; the list can go on.
Where do I fit in among this madness? Well, I am simultaneously at the eye of the storm as well as standing on the outskirts looking in. I haven’t been in a relationship since my senior year of high school, but I have dated several men since then. I have been deeply hurt from my own experiences with men in addition to the dynamics of loved ones that I have witnessed firsthand. I’ve been involved with men my age and men significantly older, and one thing that remains consistent is my inability to change them so that they were right for me. And ladies in case you didn’t know, you shouldn’t have to change a man, he should want to change himself. I have dealt with men that make six figures, men that play(ed) professional sports and men that would make your mother drool. And you know what? All of that was appealing, but it was not enough.
Despite aesthetics, salary, extensive vocabulary and their resumes, these men were not complete, for a variety of reasons. Some were simply not in the position to commit. Whether it was best that they didn’t or whether they intentionally chose not to, the end result was the same: we weren’t meant to be. A couple of them had deeply rooted issues that effected their ability to love me the way that I deserved to be loved. In a poem I wrote a couple of months ago, I stated that “Love may be universal, but how people love is not.” These men may have loved me the best that they could, but it was not sufficient. It did not do my love for them justice. It did not benefit me or help me grow.
It isn’t my desire to have a perfect man; there’s no such thing. But it is my desire to have someone that is perfect for me: someone that complements me, someone that doesn’t make me feel whole (I should feel whole within myself) but instead makes me feel that my intricate puzzle of a love life has finally been solved. I want someone who doesn’t find validation in meaningless sex, Instagram likes or the women that chase him. I want someone who is humble but knows his worth. I want someone who is aware of what and who surrounds him, but is so focused on what matters the most, that it’s as if they don’t exist. I want someone who exercises loyalty, compassion, thoughtfulness and chivalry on a daily basis because they’re a part of his makeup; not because he’s asked to embody those characteristics to appease me.
I am willing to put forth an effort to make something work with a man. The thing is, I haven’t found one who’s worth my effort. I posted a couple of lines on Instagram that stated “All these men, but not one man…” For those who may be confused at the sentence, it means that I am surrounded by so many men, and not one has captured my attention or heart. After I graduated college in May, I expressed to my loved ones that I wasn’t ready for a relationship when they asked me. I wanted to regroup after a rigorous collegiate career and order my steps to solidify my future. But the truth is, although what I said is valid, if someone comes along that I couldn’t pass up, I’d make an exception.
I’d make an exception because the type of man that I need and deserve is rare because I’m rare. I would make an exception because time waits for no one, and sometimes there is no perfect time to become vulnerable with someone, but there are perfect opportunities. I’ve noticed that the most beautiful experiences unfold when we least expect them to, so I am more than certain that my soulmate will be a total surprise. I spoke to my cousin a few moments ago and she told me something that will stick with me for the rest of my life, especially during discouraging times like these. She said, “Don’t ever lose faith or stop trusting love. People mess up daily… but love is true, always.”