I fell in love for the first time in high school. He was quiet and sweet, while I was outgoing and irrational. He was quiet while I was a social butterfly. I had been told for years that opposites attract, so I had faith it would work out. But, like most young relationships, our romance felt a bit like a roller-coaster. There were exciting highs, dark lows, and twists along the way. Eventually, our roller-coaster relationship came to an abrupt end. I was jolted from the life I had known for years and into one of singlehood.
Recently, a radio hit song took me back down memory lane. I started wondering and questioning why my first love came to an unexpected end. We both cared deeply for each other, but yet it didn’t seem to be enough. But, as the song continued to play on the radio, I was struck with a moment of clarity. All of me never loved all of him. I loved his intelligence, his creativity, his calm demeanor, but there was an equally long list of things I couldn’t convince myself to love about him. For a long time, I lived in a place between accepting the things I didn’t love and trying to change them. I now know that neither option was healthy or happy.
After years of looking for the perfect person to love all of and love all of me, I am beginning to realize it’s not at all about perfection. All of me loving all of another has nothing to do with finding the perfect person, but rather choosing to love another person despite their imperfections.
As the song came to an end, I felt myself releasing years of pent of up desire to find perfection. I felt myself embracing all of the ways I could love people when I stopped looking for that perfection I so badly desired. All of me needed to love all of them, not for the perfect qualities, but for the imperfect. Relationships will always have twists and turns, ups and downs, and tons of imperfections.
Today, I’m dating an amazing man who embraces every part of me. He accepts me at my lowest lows and celebrates me at every high. Instead of trying to change him, I now understand that dating means figuring out what those imperfections are, deciding if I can live with them, and then learning to turn all of his “perfect imperfections” into opportunities of loving him more. Our rollercoaster is no less exciting and thrilling, but instead of holding on out of fear, I feel like I can finally let go and enjoy the ride.