I stand alone

Posted: May 4, 2011 in Food for Thought

I was recently talking to my roommate about how difficult it is to find the right person, and namely how I have defined ‘right.’

It’s become abundantly clear to me that I require being with someone who is intellectual, and I don’t mean received a proper/good education. I’m talking about the type who questions the philosophical nature – asking the why of the ‘why.’

And because I’m human, I require some physical attraction. And as I have an unnecessarily specific (albeit not) specific set of characteristics that make me happy, I make my plight that much more worse.

Yet, the thing that struck me was that she said,

‘[those types of people] can stand on their own.’

And it’s (mostly) true. Attractive and intelligent people tend to recognize their worth and don’t usually need someone to complete them. Except when they do. And when they do, that’s where the second big aha came: they are difficult people.

So how do you manage to keep to difficult people together who likely don’t ‘need’ each other? And that’s what I’ve been coming to terms with lately.

  1. christinagrimm says:

    I agree that the more attractive AND intelligent someone is, the more difficult it can be for that person to find a truly compatible partner. However, I disagree that it is a matter of independence. We all only have so much energy to give in one day. When one is solely focused on finding a partner, it is a priority that can dissolve into desperation. When we become desperate, we compromise on what we are looking for. Also, a lack of alternative pursuits may indicate a lack of self-awareness which can make it easier for couples to seem “compatible” because they don’t know yet who they really are as individuals.
    Attractive, intelligent people, I believe, tend to wait longer for the right partner because they are spending energy in other worthy pursuits and it takes quite a bit more time for desperation to set in. This phenomenon, coupled with an increased level of self-awareness resulting in more discriminating tastes, makes it very difficult to find the “right” one.
    There are three people in every monogamous relationship: two people and one “us”. For a relationship to be healthy, all three of these people need to be well defined and balanced. However, many couples can get away with having vaguely defined individual identities and a strongly defined “us” or a vague “us” and strongly defined individual identities (essentially making them great roommates).
    I don’t mean to insinuate that less attractive and less intelligent people have less meaningful relationships. As I review this response I realize that it can sound very elitist and judgmental. However, clarifying every variable in this post would probably make for an interesting dissertation rather than a blog comment. I will say that attractiveness and intelligence can be resiliency factors for poor relationship choices, and can also be vulnerabilities.

    • me says:

      Wow, this is a great response!

      I didn’t really think / our conversation didn’t head down the path of these individuals waiting longer and being more discriminate in their choices. And the desperation aspect that you explicitly outline, I guess is what I was going for in that they can stand alone…a bit longer than those less attractive/intelligent.

      Also, the 3 people in a relationship idea is brilliant. As a relationship newbie, I can definitely see how this applies in defining chemistry and long-term compatibility.

  2. christinagrimm says:

    I’m glad you like it! It’s been a topic of much consideration for me as well. Desperation is a spectrum. For some people, the more desperate they get the more likely they are to compromise and take the next person that comes along. I find myself swinging toward the other extreme and feel myself slowly start to prepare for being alone with the hope of finding someone whom I am compatible with.

    This approach is becoming more popular for women since it has recently become more socially acceptable to be a single mother, and a professional woman. It’s not as controversial for men since “perpetual playboy” or “chronic bachelor” have been common archetypes for a while. Still there is a strong mainstream push to pair up.

    Still, there seems to be this critical period where we are all supposed to become self-aware before we find a serious relationship, with the underlying implication that being self-exploratory for too long is self-indulgent and not exploring long enough is immature. And somewhere in all this mess, the “right” one is supposed to come along at the perfect moment when we are primed and ready and sweep us off into the sunset.


    I wish there was a manual!

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