The guy I’m dating isn’t someone I ever pictured myself with. I pictured a tall, dark, and handsome guy and he’s not that. But he IS really wonderful, treats me well, and I could see this lasting. How can I know that he’s perfect for me, will take care of me, challenge my faith, and genuinely care for me and all my problems, but still feel like he’s not what I pictured?
Why do I keep second-guessing myself? I genuinely care for him and really see this as God making it happen, so why is my head so messed?
Kylie (22, Alberta)
I don’t think it’s weird to have thoughts like this. Not at all. We all think about our “dream partner.” You think of all the things that he needs to have to be well suited to you, and you dream up your meet-cute and assume some timelines in your head. You have an idea of how it will go. It’s just what we dreamers do.
However, after an especially bad relationship, I learned my lesson. I had to ditch my “list” of requirements. This guy had everything I thought I needed, but the relationship was disastrous. He was my dream guy on paper, but it was more of a nightmare in reality. I had to give up that ideal. I had to grieve the loss of the concept of “my perfect man.”
When it comes down to it, we might not know who will suit us best. In some cases, different guys could work just fine. I could be well suited to someone who is outgoing, but I could also get along with someone who is more introverted like myself. I don’t think there is such thing as The One. I think it has to do with compatibility — and more than one person could be compatible — and timing.
Recently I read this book called The Sacred Search (it lives in the backseat of my car because I want to lend it to everyone) and it made my brain explode. The author completely dispelled the myth of The One. He also talked more about the why of dating rather than the who.
I want someone I can partner with in ministry and in life. I want someone I can be friends with and someone who will help me grow. When it comes down to it, our physical bodies are unpredictable and inconsistent. That’s not what’s going to last. Sure, you need to be physically attracted to him (if you were horrified by his looks and you were dating, I’d see that as a red flag), but him not being tall enough or not having dark features isn’t a deal breaker.
Think about the things that will last: is he someone you could partner with in the every day ministry of life? Would you enjoy life by his side? Could you co-parent with him if you have kids? Will he lead and encourage you in your faith? So often we base our life partner decisions on temporary things alone, and completely leave out the big, lasting stuff.
So maybe you have to “grieve” the loss of your tall, dark and handsome guy prince charming ideal. It’s not fun or chick-flicky or fairy tale-like, but it’ll be worth it. When you ditch your own ideals and surrender your life to the plans God has for you, you’ll find yourself in the midst of a life rich with surprises that you never could have dreamed up on your own.
Happy list ditching,
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Photo (Flickr CC) by Adán Sánchez de Pedro.