I fall in love only when I find the perfect woman.
That will sound strange at best and dysfunctional at worst, because we all know there’s no such thing as a perfect woman (or a perfect man). So what exactly do I mean?
For weeks, I’ve been pondering the question of what makes me fall in love with one woman when I have absolutely no feelings for one who might seem equally desirable. I’ve needed to understand the reasons, but my feelings had seemed random and hard to explain.
Then I woke up around 4 a.m. Tuesday and I suddenly knew. My unconscious mind worked it out in my sleep, apparently. It’s not a perfect answer, but it’s a model of my emotional reality which makes sense to me. What’s more, I could insert every woman I’ve fallen in love with — which I can count on one hand — and the formula worked.
I fall in love with a woman whose current reality — and future potential — come closest to adding up to my idea of perfection. Because of this, my unconscious choices can tell you a lot about what I see in a woman and they can also tell you quite a bit about me.
The first woman I fell in love with — many years ago, in college — was the picture of what I considered an ideal woman at the time. By the time we went our separate ways three years later, my ideas about what I wanted in a woman were far less traditional. This woman was a wonderful woman, but she would have been completely wrong for me — and I would have been wrong for her.
As I move forward in time, I see that the women I’ve fallen for have been less traditional. They’ve been smarter and far more likely to just as driven for success as I was. All along the way, the one constant is that I’ve never fallen in love with a woman who I didn’t see as a very good mother. That’s probably the one things that’s never wavered in my requirements.
No woman can live up to the ideal I make her in my mind. That’s something I’ve had to learn. I used to think I was falling in love only with what a woman was, but now I understand that I’m falling in love — at least partially — with what I see as her potential.
Is that fair? I can’t say for sure. The thing I’m certain about is that I’m now clear on the difference between what I see in a woman’s present reality and what she has the potential to become. I haven’t always understood that and it led to me being disappointed in women — because their present reality could never match the vision of potential that seemed so obvious to me.
I know now that I’ll marry someone who’s terribly imperfect. I have to be clear about that before the point comes when I realize how flawed she is, because every single person is hugely flawed. (Starting with me, of course.)
I don’t need or want perfection. I just want someone who I see as beautiful and smart and driven and loving and charming — among a dozen or so major criteria — who’s working just as hard as I am on self-improvement. That’s the key. If I encounter a woman who doesn’t want to grow — isn’t willing to grow and change — I will be bitterly disappointed and there’s no sense in pursuing her. I have to have a partner who’s driven to grow and change — who wants to be partners in growth and change with me.
I never want to hear (and I never want to say), “Well that’s just the way I am. Get used to it.” That is the mark of someone who’s scared to grow and is unwilling to change. With that woman, I will always be disappointed by the gap between what she is and what she’s capable of being.
The deal has to be that we accept each other as flawed people but we work on the flaws anyway. We grow and change together — and in doing so, we both become more of what the other needs.
I now understand exactly why I’ve fallen in love with the women I’ve fallen for, both in the past and recently. I once wanted someone very traditional. I now want someone who’s a blend of some traditional elements — especially insofar as maternal instincts — and some very modern ones which could allow us to achieve things together that neither of us could achieve alone.
I don’t know why something in my unconscious finally decided to explain all this to me, but when I woke up early this morning, it was very clear. I understand why I fell in love with that woman decades ago, why I fell for another one a few years later, why I fell for two more over the last decade. It all makes sense.
I’m finally comfortable with what I’m looking for. I know it when I see it (and I’m instantly repelled when I don’t see it). Now my issues are remembering that a woman’s present reality isn’t always going to immediately meet the potential I see — and that I can’t idealize a woman to the point that her present flaws disillusion me. (I’ve done that in the past, but that’s another story.)
The biggest issue I face, of course, is finding that rare woman whose potential matches my ideals — who also happens to want to work toward being that person — and who’s also willing to choose me.
If she’s not willing to choose me — with my own flaws and potential — none of the rest matters.