So, you’ve found someone to rock your socks off. Your days are filled with whimsically skipping through meadows of daisies and staring dreamily into each other’s eyes. When these glorious years of 20-something ends, this is the person you want to help raise your children, hold your hand at your parent’s funeral, and push you around the nursing home in your wheelchair. This time it’s real, and big, and glorious. They are perfect.
And then the seed of doubt.
Such bliss can’t last forever, of course. Countless heart-break songs are testimony to that. More subtly, though, such burning unmetered and blinded affection can’t go unchallenged. There will be a moment that makes you question it: a seed of doubt. This can take a number of forms, and for the sake of a point – here are a few.
#1 – Incompatibility:
After weeks of ‘oh my GOD – I love that movie too!’ moments, they say something out of the blue that you don’t agree with. Maybe it slightly jars on your political leaning, maybe it jumps to a poor conclusion about something you would have considered more substantially, maybe (and heaven forbid) it’s just a tiny bit racist, sexist or homophobic. What it is doesn’t matter. It’s said it passing, you barely notice, and you don’t raise any disagreement. But it starts to make you wonder – what if you’re not actually perfect for each other? What if, years from now, you have a public screaming match at the ballot box, ending in heartache and years of listening to Joni Mitchell alone, because you invested in someone who is incompatible with your fundamental beliefs? Crap.
#2 – Embarrassment:
You’ve been raving to your friends for weeks about how perfect and wonderful this person is. Even worse, YOU see them as flawless. Nothing can touch their magnitude. Until it does. Again – the first sign of embarrassment could occur in a number of ways. They wear something that makes them look a little bit daggy. They get raucously drunk at a party and you have to play babysitter for the night. They try for a joke that doesn’t quite make the mark, and the whole table feels uncomfortable. These things would be insignificant, except that this person is connected to you. You brought them there, they are your partner, you chose them – and you feel that everyone is judging YOU about their small display of inadequacy. You can’t roll your eyes to your friends about that oddly-shaped trench-coat they chose, you just grimace a bit inside and watch the perfection drip away.
#3 – Normality:
The most subtle of the three. They get up one morning after a successful night of being young and splendid, and they look a bit weathered. It takes you by surprise because, just for a second, you don’t feel all that attracted to them. You have lunch one together one day and there’s nothing you really want to say to them. Sure, you saw them only that morning, and will see them again that night, but shouldn’t every second together be filled with effervescent and tantalising conversation? They stop trying to woo you, you stop trying to look stunning for them every single time. In short – you’re not in sparkly, honeymoon Oz anymore Toto… you’re back in black-and-white Kansas… and that’s how it’s going to be from now on. Normal, and sometimes, a little bit dull – and oh my – isn’t that scary.
So what do you do with this seed of doubt? Do you ignore it, hope it will go away, wilfully shut your eyes as it takes over your garden, gets into the foundations of your house? One day you find it growing out of your bathroom walls and sprouting from your teapot, and you’ve got no option but to ‘move house’ – if you get my drift. Do you monitor it every day, endlessly try to clip it or poison it, fret about it at night and go out in the cold just to check it hasn’t frown again? After all your care and diligence you’ll find it possible to ignore. Or do you plant it in a small pot and leave it be, acknowledging that no one will ever be ‘perfect’, and that being in love with someone means not minding that slightly unsightly succulent in the pot in the back garden. Well, here’s hoping.