When it comes to finding a partner we often hear the expression, “there’s plenty of fish in the sea.” However, the one thing the sea has in common with our dating pool is that it’s full of trash. So, when you’re so accustomed to sifting through the rubbish, how do you know when you find something worth keeping?
My current relationship stemmed from a friendship that grew to become something more. I was hesitant at first because of my fear of being vulnerable with another person. When sorting through my feelings, I happened upon a quote that perfectly summed up all my reservations: “I like being alone. I have control over my own space. Therefore, in order to win me over, your presence has to be better than my solitude. You’re not competing with another person, you’re competing with my comfort zone (Horacio Jones).” I knew my biggest obstacle would be figuring out how to let another person in when I had already spent the majority of my life building my fortress of solitude and hiding within it to avoid getting hurt.
As I contemplated how I would begin the deconstruction, I didn’t realize that the process had already begun. With every kind gesture and ounce of patience he had, I grew more comfortable with him. I needed to take things slowly to deal with my own insecurities and apprehension about being in a relationship. He gave me space when I needed it and allowed things to progress at a pace that was comfortable for me. Everything felt so natural that I neglected to notice he had slowly removed brick by brick from my walls, until my fortress had a door.
I never had that pivotal moment where I realized I was in love. I was on this journey where suddenly and without warning, I was there. When I first realized this, I was confused since it felt different than I had always imagined. I came to realize that it felt different because it had come without problems. It sounds strange to say, but from what I had seen in TV and movies, the couple has to have a falling-out before they can fall together. I saw the classic storyline so many times where one person is skeptical and lets their partner slip away only to realize what a mistake it was. Then comes the grand gesture of love, they reconnect, and live happily ever after. Since I never had my falling-out, I assumed I wasn’t on my way to my fairytale ending.
But a relationship doesn’t have to be full of struggles. When you find the right person, things have a way of falling into place in ways you never expected. I always wanted to keep my independence, but I didn’t understand how I could maintain that and commit to someone. I never wanted anyone to have to save me; I only wanted someone by my side as I saved myself. There’s something truly comforting about knowing that when something happens, you don’t have to go through it alone.
My relationship is perfect for me because it’s a beautiful harmonization of everything I’ve ever wanted and everything I never knew I needed. We don’t fight because we’re willing to compromise. We do things for each other not because we expect something in return, but because we genuinely enjoy seeing the other happy. We laugh hard and often. And when life throws me a curveball, it’s suddenly much more manageable knowing I have someone by my side who’s willing to help and support me in any way I need.
We all have our walls that we build to block out potential heartbreak. But when we neglect to let anyone in we risk missing out on something that truly makes life worth living. My walls are still up and will always be there to protect me, but I now have someone inside my fortress keeping me company. And I will be forever grateful that he had enough faith in us to patiently build that door.