19 December 2014

Compromise vs Settling

Recently, over dinner (and a few glasses of wine) my cousin and I discussed the concept of compromise versus settling when it comes to allowing new people in to your life.  Both of us now re-entering the dating world after marriage, we often come across this dilemma when meeting someone new. I think perhaps one can't fully understand this concept unless you have dated later in life but I will do my best to elaborate.  

Dating in your 30's & 40's isn't simple - for the sheer fact that we all, at this point in our lives, have some sort of issues and/or baggage.  We are also adults who are relatively set in our ways. Finding someone to be in your life - either as a friend or as love - is more challenging because of this.  It's not a matter of finding the "perfect" someone as perhaps we once envisioned due to the acknowledgement that indeed none of us are perfect.  

I fully realize that I am not perfect.  The experiences that I have gone through in my life have rendered me this way and I honestly embrace that imperfection as it makes me who I am.  I come with scars and tender parts that have healed but are sensitive.  I have faltered & fallen but I've also grown and learned from every moment - from every new location I have lived in, from every happiness and from every heartache.  All of these experiences are what makes me "me".  I can only hope that people will see these imperfections and love me in spite of them and because of them.  

I don't expect perfection - I think that it's not an honest quality.  We are all human and we have quirks or issues.  We have parts of our lives that give us pause.  We suffer from memories & moments of great sadness where we have experienced loss.  We are eternally flawed and that is ok.  It's unrealistic to expect perfection - perhaps it is actually in our flaws & our scars that we find the qualities to relate to each other.

I find what people "want" for me is actually quite different than what I would like for myself which is another struggling point.  Sometimes getting people to understand that isn't easy.  Loved ones and friends still harbour quite a bit of anger and hatred toward my divorce which is frustrating to me.  Not to say that this isn't their experience, because I do think that everyone affected by these kinds of life changes needs to grieve it and deal with it.  That said, I did my fair share of therapy, soul searching and personal growth to get through that time in my life and I have come out of it a stronger, healthier version of myself.  To see those I love who refuse to let go saddens me because they harbour regret where I do not.  

Back to the topic at hand, I do think that there is a difference between compromise and settling.  For example,
there are certain things that I will no longer stand for - in any relationship - because I know that they aren't fair or respectful.  Being mean, being untruthful, living in a negative mindset - these are all things I cannot overlook.  But there are always areas that may not be perfect in the other where they can still grow or where we can be more accepting which by definition is compromise.  Settling would be knowing that you deserve more and deserve better but that you will accept it because you think it is better than nothing.  THAT is no way to live.

So often, people ask me what it is that I am looking for in a partner and are often surprised by the simplicity of my response.  There are lots of things that would be a "bonus" such as a beautiful home, nice car or a cottage on the lake but those are certainly not items I am searching for.  To me it's easy - I want someone who is nice.  Someone who asks me how my day was or who sends a simple text to let me know I was on their mind.  I want someone to go on adventures with and who makes me laugh.  I want someone who holds me a bit closer when I wake up from a nightmare and who wishes me sweet dreams before bed.  I want someone who is honest with their imperfections and are ok with them.  Someone who can see me for who I really am - quirks & scars and all and love me because of them.  Because they make me this pretty awesome (most of the time) person who is fair and loving and honest.  That is who I want to share my adventures with - someone who's imperfections fit perfectly with mine.

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