Our generation is fucked in the love department. Everyone born before the 2000’s has grown up watching Disney animations and all sort of romantic flicks with perfect couples and happy endings. Those Utopian fantasies, subconsciously, crash against the reality we see around. Divorced parents, domestic violence, switched gender roles, the ever increasing race for financial or intellectual success, or the pursue of success in general. All this has led most people to take part of two toxic groups when it comes to approach their romantic lives. I call these groups Settlers and Seekers.
Settlers are the conformist side. Whether they are helpless romantics or extremely rational characters, they have the same factor in common: they always go for the wrong partner and stay with them. They may choose them for all “the right reasons”, like good financial situation, interesting hobbies, nice physical appearance, passionate career, and a long list of etceteras. Or, on the other hand, for many of the wrong reasons, from mommy/daddy issues to sexual fetishes, savior complex or fear of abandonment. Whatever the reasons are, none of them is enough to have a healthy relationship with.
No matter how unsatisfying, frustrating or even hurtful things are, Settlers will do everything they can to stay together with their partner. Why? Causes vary and may be very different to every person, although it is easy to detect the main problem for them. They just can’t or do not want to be alone. The thought of getting old; peer, cultural or social pressure; insecurity and a large number of reasons, plus the obnoxious feeling they get when exposed to romantic stimulus while single. All of that leads to desperation, and desperation leads to the need to fill the empty space in their beds and lives with someone, regardless of this person provides what they require to actually satisfy their emotional needs or not.
On the opposite side of the scale we find the Seekers. They literally won’t settle with anyone. The search for them never stops, because they are looking for Perfection (yes, capitalized). It’s because, most of the times, Seekers are highly successful or remarkable people. Intellectually, financially, career wise and even physically; Seekers appear to be flawless, and that’s exactly what they seek. They are after a partner as good as they think they are, or better. In the meantime, they’ll try out different options, quickly moving on to the next one after finding the first flaw in the other person, as minimal as it might be.
Even though these two groups are very different, they are not as apart one from the other as it seems. A frustrated Settler, after things finally go to hell, can become a Seeker for a while or for good, not to suffer with the same mistake again. Or a Seeker, in a rough path of their life or just tired of the never ending search, can simply settle with the closest partner they’ll find.
Nowadays, it’s really hard not to fall in one of these two groups. Emotions have been replaced by individuality, and romantic relationships look more like business partnerships than selfless unions. But there is a third group that doesn’t even need to be named; they are the people with healthy relationships. Not perfect, not ideal, not Disney-like. With flaws and up and downs, fights and disagreement, struggling every now and then. You’d hardly see their stories told in a movie, because they can be considered boring or too complicated to tell. They are real, and reality is not something attractive.
If you find yourself caught in any of the two toxic groups, don’t feel hopeless. As you can switch from Seeker to Settler or the other way around, you can also step out that vicious circle and turn to the third group. Almost everyone there was like you. Stuck in a frustrating, life-sucking and unfulfilling relationship, or in a exhaustive search for Mr or Mrs Right. In any of those cases, always with the same consequence: failing to get what they needed.
I myself was a Settler. Spent years and years in an unhappy relationship, and after breaking up, became a Seeker. I was decided to get my life back, not wasting another day with the wrong person. Only dedicated my time and effort in the search for “the One,” jumping from one girl to the other and not getting attached with anyone. What changed? I met an imperfect person who was perfect for me. I realized that none of the approaches I had taken before in my love life were right. Either settling for someone who seemed perfect or looking for somebody perfect, none of those ever gave me what I needed. In fact, when I finally gave up my expectations and fears and just let myself enjoy and be surprised by the virtues and kinks of my girl, I fell in love. Real love.
Nobody is perfect, yet we feel forced to constantly look for or to create perfect romantic relationships, and to demand perfection from our partners. Truth is Perfection is just an illusion, product of decades of self-help books, consumerism, movie love stories and ever evolving technology. Once you understand that, pressure to be perfect fades away. Then you only need to connect with your own feelings and emotions; that’ll help you comprehend yourself better and to figure out what you want and need. After that, finding a partner that meet your necessities and for whom you’ll do the same, will be an easier task. Happiness will be yours and love -the real kind- will come naturally. Guaranteed.