Warning: This post is going to be a brief analysis of my last relationship, and my expectations for my future ones. If you have no interest in my personal life at all, feel free to skip right past this. In the meantime, check out this awesome photo that I took at the RA Awards Ceremony Banquet last Tuesday. :D
It’s been more than three months since Michael and I broke up. Lasting over two and a half years, it was the longest relationship I’ve ever been in. It wasn’t perfect, but we were really happy for a while. Unfortunately, things change and people develop different ideas of what they want in life and for a future together. But I’m not going to sit here and cry about how lonely it is to make the adjustment into being single. I’m over it. I wouldn’t say that I regret investing so much time and emotion into one person, either. If anything, I look forward to taking what I learned and applying it to my future encounters.
Recently, I had several long conversations with friends and family about my decision to be alone. Many were disappointed that I had “let him go” because “he was a keeper.” Others told me I “did the right thing” because “personal goals and happiness should be placed at a higher priority.” This called into question what makes someone “boyfriend material” to me. Of course, it’s all subjective – my parents liked him because he had solid career aspirations, while my closest friends thought he was funny and easy to get along with.
I’m going to be honest and admit that I’ve been dating casually ever since the breakup. Not because I’m “rebounding” or whatever the kids call it these days. I just feel like a long “recovery” period isn’t necessary, and that it’s healthier for me to be optimistic. And who doesn’t like the feeling of companionship? If anything, it prepared me sooner for another long term relationship.
The problem is that the bar has been raised. It’s inevitable that there’s going to be some comparison whenever I meet and date someone new. There’s always going to be the voice in the back of my head that tells me that a new guy is “too old”, “too young”, “too boring”, “not funny enough”, “not ambitious enough.” But the new standard can be a good thing. Why settle for less than I deserve?
I’m not incredibly picky, but some things are deal breakers. I used to think that a college education was one of them, but I’m realizing more and more that school isn’t for everyone. As long as they have a respectable career, I find that characteristics such as loyalty and a good sense of humor are more important to me. I don’t want to be “taken care of” in the financial sense, but I do want to feel secure. Respect for my body, intellect, and beliefs are a must, too. But when it comes to more specific (and maybe silly) things, I’d like for them to be productive, somewhat spontaneous, and willing to take initiative. They must enjoy picture-taking and food as much as I do, and be open to trying new things and going to new places. Someone I can see a future with, you know?
I’m just grateful for having really close friends who look out for me when I refuse to see the bad in some people, though. They tell me if they think I may be making the wrong decisions in regard to who I spend my time on. They’re not afraid to sit me down and tell me, “Kristina, I don’t think he’s right for you at all.” Which is why I always love hearing their input and opinion on who I’m seeing at the time. They know me best, after all.
But I live in a generation and am part of an age group that may not be ready for a “real” relationship yet. Many of my friends in college are still in that phase where all they want from someone is casual sex with no strings attached. Clearly, that’s not what I’m looking for. But when the vast majority of the dating pool around you has ulterior motives for getting to know you, it’s a little disheartening.
Take my current situation, for example. I’ve been seeing someone in particular for about a month now. I’ve met his family and all his closest friends. Affectionate words and gestures are exchanged. But there’s been no communication at all as to whether we’re exclusive, or whether this is going to go anywhere. Not that it really matters to me – I plan to go with the flow until there’s no way around the question. And maybe I’m a coward for not wanting to ask, but I’m afraid of ruining something good. I’m hopeless, aren’t I?