Why Breaking Up With ‘Mr. Perfect’ Was The Best Decision I’ve Ever Made
As a child, I believed my life would truly begin when I fell in love for the first time.
I spent most of my teenage years pining over guys I was too afraid to talk to, but I knew once I found Mr. Perfect, it would all be worth the wait.
Toward the end of high school, I fell into what I swore was love.
I immediately assumed my search was over. I’d found the one I’d spend the rest of my life with.
That guy ended up being a complete jerk. And so was just about every other guy I dated throughout college and the rest of my early 20s.
This led me to become that clichéd, jaded woman we all see in romantic comedies. The one who has given so much of herself in pursuit of love, and failed so many times, she just gives up believing in love at all.
And then, as if my life truly were a movie, it happened.
Mr. Perfect came along, and although my heart had become very guarded, he quickly broke down the walls I’d put up.
We spent the majority of our first date laughing hysterically. We talked about family, our dreams and all the things you get to talk about when you meet a genuinely sweet guy.
He was attractive and smart, and we kissed in the moonlight before saying goodbye.
He didn’t play games with me, stand me up or keep me wondering what was going to happen between us.
He constantly surprised me with thoughtful gestures, never lied or hid things from me and had me lying awake at night smiling into the darkness, feeling like I’d accomplished something great just by dating him.
He told me I was beautiful every single day.
Logically, the story should end there.
We should have continued dating for a few years, gotten engaged, had an adorably festive wedding full of family and good friends and lived happily ever after. Except, I couldn’t do it.
A year into our relationship, the spark completely faded, and I found myself bored.
He didn’t show any signs of a change of heart, so I tried to ignore the nagging voice in my head that said something wasn’t right.
I told myself I was just being silly, and the doubt would pass if I gave it more time.
But lying to myself is one thing I’ve never been able to do, and I soon realized the reason Mr. Perfect’s love for me wasn’t cutting it was because I didn’t love him back.
Once I figured this out, I couldn’t ignore it.
The new perspective plagued every part of my relationship.
I was annoyed rather than excited when I received several texts in a row from Mr. Perfect.
I was filled with relief rather than longing when we were both too busy to hang out on the weekend.
When friends acted weird about the fact I wanted to get my own place instead of moving in with him, I realized it wasn’t just because I needed more time.
It was because I wasn’t interested in making this person a permanent part of my life.
I started to fall back into that dark place of self-consciousness and defeat.
What was wrong with me?
I had finally found someone who would treat me the way I’d always wanted to be treated (the way every woman deserves to be treated), and now, even that wasn’t enough.
He checked off pretty much every box on my list of what makes a great suitor, and he was so much better than any guy I’d ever dated before.
Not only was he the rare type of gentleman that’s so hard to find these days, but he went beyond that and was truly a wonderful boyfriend.
I felt ungrateful for not wanting to be with him, and I experienced incredible guilt for hurting him when we broke up.
But settling for a great guy is still settling, and I had to break up with him.
As scared as I was of making a mistake or ending up alone, I couldn’t deny the fact being with the wrong person was worse than being without anyone at all.
When I told him how I felt, he reacted maturely and kindly (of course).
He told me, even if I didn’t know it at the time, I was doing the right thing for myself. I held on to those words.
I still do, and I still think about him sometimes. I miss the way things were between us.
But, I don’t miss him.
Oddly enough, I’m happier now without a guy in my life than I was with the guy who was everything I ever wanted.
I’ve had the candlelit dinners and the cute county fair dates. I’ve had Central Park movie nights and even a spontaneous, romantic trip to Europe.
But, those great experiences don’t mean as much if they’re had with the wrong person.
I’ve spent my entire life chasing after a perfect man who was created inside my head. He was an idea, essentially.
Too many times, I’ve allowed men into my life as placeholders for the person I really wished for.
I don’t know if that man exists or if I’ll ever find him, but I still want and hope to.
A part of me wants that more than anything, but it’s become a smaller part of who I am.
Love is a beautiful thing, but it can’t be forced. I’m ready to stop shooting my hands out aimlessly, trying to grab whatever bit of it I can pull into my life.
I’m happy with myself and with being alone until the right time comes.
Contrary to what I used to believe, my life did not start the day I met Mr. Perfect. And contrary to what I more recently believed, it didn’t end the day I said goodbye to him.
It’s been going on this whole time, and while romantic relationships can make life better and worse at times, no romantic relationship actually makes a life.
My life is happening right now without me having any type of male companionship, and it’s still great.
Maybe some day, Mr. Perfect For Me will come into the picture.
But, I’m not going to wait around until he does. I may have to win my own stuffed animals at the fairs for now, but I’m just fine with that.
Originally published at elitedaily.com on October 25, 2015.