NOT YET READY FOR MR. RIGHT
NOT YET READY FOR MR. RIGHT
AM NEW YORK - “THE DATING LIFE”
AUGUST 14, 2006
BY JULIA ALLISON
“It’s not you, it’s me,” almost always means “It’s DEFINITELY you.” But when I broke up with The Boyfriend last week — at a Jamba Juice, no less (I know, I know. A little tacky. Oops?) — I really did mean “It’s me.”
The truth is (note to my editor: please don’t fire me for this), I’ve never been single in New York. In fact, I haven’t been single, save a few weeks abutting three consecutive serious relationships, for the past four years.
I met The Boyfriend in April of 2004, when I was a senior in college. Because I had a different boyfriend at the time (actually, I was engaged, but that’s another column) — we didn’t start dating until I moved to New York later that year.
Still, I neglected to give myself even a minor breather in between relationships — no time to look around, assess the scene, find out what it’s like to date post-college. I just jumped.
Lucky for me, I jumped into something amazing. The Boyfriend happened to be the most incredible man I’d ever met — generous, gorgeous, creative. I could list enthusiastic adjectives about him for days, but he’s more than the sum of his abundant positive qualities. He fits me perfectly. He is, in fact, my best friend, my (cheese alert) “soulmate,” the elusive Mr. Right.
The problem is, I’m not ready for Mr. Right.
I’ve always believed that no matter how equitable and compromise-loving your relationship is (and mine was both), you’re not 100% yourself when you have a significant other. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, without The Boyfriend, I’d be perpetually late and virtually incapable of going to bed at a “reasonable” hour. I’d also still wear ribbons in my hair and live in an apartment decorated completely in pink and white furniture from IKEA.
Then again, maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe I’d wear only black business suits and inhabit a sleek SoHo loft devoid of color.
Probably not — but therein lies the problem. I can never be sure of who I would be without a boyfriend, unless I try actually not having one.
Explaining why I ended the perfect relationship, I find myself repeating this mantra: “I don’t believe that when you meet Mr. Right, you suddenly become complete. If I were 30, with a variety of life experiences under my belt, I’d marry The Boyfriend in a heartbeat.”
But I’m not. I need to make my own mistakes, to date Mr. Wrongs, to see what else life has to offer. A decade from now, I don’t want to wonder, “Can I really stand on my own two feet — without him?” I want to know I can.
This isn’t about finding a better man. It’s about finding a better me.
** This is exactly why I broke up with THE ex. I was worried I’d resent him down the road because I (we) hadn’t experienced much outside of each other.