In my last blog, I shared how one dream ended and another began. The response was overwhelming, so I want to give you a behind the scenes peek of some of the things that led me to finding the right and perfect man for me… after 35 years of looking for love in all the wrong places…
Keep in mind, we’d each hired a matchmaker and if I’d known the truth, I would never have agreed to meet him. But that was based on criteria I had thought to be important and relevant. It turned out I was wrong about what was I thought was important and what I thought was relevant. But more on that next month…
Settling For Love?
Early in my relationship with Jerry, I told a friend how everything seemed to fall in place so quickly and easily. She and I had known each other for 2 decades and she knew of my attempts at love over the years – the hopes and disappointments; the long stretches of solitude and celibacy. And she had heard me say many times, “I know he’s out there somewhere,” reminding me of my favorite Moody Blues song: I Know You’re Out There Somewhere
We laughed about how “on paper” Jerry was the opposite of everything I said I wanted in a man and yet, in reality, he seemed to be all that I had ever really wanted in a relationship. She joined me in my happiness, and, that in my steadfastness, I had never given up hope for finding the right and perfect lover and partner for me. And yet, when I detected a hesitation in her voice, I asked what was on her mind.
After much coaxing, she finally said: “I hate to ask this, but do you think you “settled” after so many years of being single?”
Lightning, Terrorists and Love
In fact, I think this was the perfect question to ask. It was bold and blunt and probably one that was in the back of many peoples’ minds. We’ve all heard the snarky comments about the likelihood of women over a certain age having a greater likelihood of being hit by lightning than getting married. Or being killed by a terrorist… Or hearing friends and relatives say, “all the good men are taken.” Or “men don’t want to be with a smart, successful woman.”
How many times over the years did I have to hear one more well-meaning person say, “I just don’t understand why you’re not married.” As if being married was the be-all-and-end-all. Marriage isn’t for everyone, so why use it as the measure of success and worthiness?
Bad Motherly Advice
Even my own mother gave me some horrible motherly advice, including: “dumb it down.” And my personal favorite: “sometimes you have to be more tolerant…” when I told her that I left old boyfriends because one was an alcoholic, one used cocaine and one embezzled a million dollars from his grandmother. More tolerant? You’ve got to be kidding me. So much for motherly advice!
So no – I was not going to settle for love. I had a great life and successful business. Why risk that by settling or tolerating addictions, criminal behavior, philandering or just plain boorishness so other people could be comfortable with my independence and my choices?
A 2-Sided Coin: Settling and Hope
To me, this is a 2-sided coin: on one side you have settling for love, putting aside hopes, dreams, and aspirations, for the sake of security or approval. The other side is hope – never giving up hope that your dreams and aspirations for a healthy, loving relationship can be achieved and realized, despite all odds or evidence that it may be possible.
After many failed relationships, I chose not to settle for something less than what I wanted. And I chose to believe that the relationship I wanted was actually possible, not unreasonable and that it was something that I actually deserved. Contrary to the words of many well-intentioned people, who felt compelled to tell me that what I wanted didn’t exist, I remember thinking… it didn’t exist … for them.
I ask you this: What is so unusual about wanting a relationship with a person who is as healthy – physically, emotionally, financially, and spiritually – as you are?
Why is that such a stretch for so many people?
Not Unique To Love
And – on another note – this conversation and thought process is not unique to finding love.
It holds true for any dream, hope or aspiration that you have that is contrary to popular belief.
In this time of COVID, I’m finding that people are seeing situations and people in ways that they never saw before and making decisions that would have scared them in the past. Some are finding alignment and others are finding that people and affiliations that have been part of their lives are falling away like “dead leaves from a tree.” Many are remembering wistful or lofty ideas that were long forgotten and now seem more imperative than ever before.
This pandemic and subsequent isolation has removed a lot of distractions, added some new ones and laid bare some stark realities of life. People are remembering what’s important and relevant to them now. Not based on some old assumption or some old belief, not based on other peoples’ opinions, but their own belief, based on their current reality.
In the end…
This whole idea of not settling or being steadfast is not really about me. It’s about hope.
It’s about you.
So what do you choose?
Marty Stanley is a national author, speaker and consultant on personal and organizational change. Real change doesn’t have to be hard. It just requires clarity and commitment. If you don’t want to settle for the status quo, have hope for a new future and want to transform your life or your work, give Marty a call for a complimentary consultation: 816-659-5453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you have to lose?