I think it's a fair assumption that every man & his dog is aware of my search for a bearded partner. I've made no secret of it, in fact, I haven't even tried to hide it, or throw a little nonchalance its way. However, lately, as my desire has increased ever more, perhaps brought on by the lethargy of exploring Rome alone, I have come to face a few home truths, which I realise need dealing with, before I'm ready to meet anyone man shaped.
I read somewhere recently, that what we seek in others, we secretly lack within ourselves. For instance, when you envisage your ideal partner, what qualities do you crave? Security, nurture, trust, stability. Now reflect those qualities back on yourself. Do you feel secure? Are you lacking in trust, in life, in others, perhaps even in yourself? Suddenly, you start to realise, it's not someone else you need to feel complete, it's a better relationship with yourself.
Personally, I often lack motivation, confidence, maybe even a little self-love & self-acceptance at times. But recognising those areas in need of improvement & working on them, means I'm less likely to want to project them onto someone else & let's face it, dependency in a relationship is never healthy, nor attractive & I've dated enough to know that.
Of course, it's not just about being self-sufficient & complete within yourself, a lot of it is recognising your ghosts & stopping them from haunting your future choices. A classic example here, is my relationship with Beard. I couldn't think of anyone who, even after dating several people since the demise of our failed romance, still continues to haunt me.
This is probably not aided in the continuation of our friendship. But, I want to feel as though, if I deal with the issues that bind me to our past relationship trauma, I can reach a stage whereby our friendship works, because I will have actually moved on. Unfortunately, this seems to be easier said than done. Eighteen months since things dissolved & there's still something niggling away at my core.
Proof of which came back in February, when I was out with Katie & her Finnish friend, sipping a much needed glass of vino. A little tipsy, after not drinking for two months, I spotted a guy at another table in the corner & nearly fell off my chair, because he was the spitting image of Beard, minus the tattoos, which was the only way I could tell for sure it wasn't actually him.
Our tables converged & we ended up chatting until five in the morning, his appeal growing with every glass of wine I drank. A few days later, he came to meet me in Venice & we spent the weekend together. With the clarity of sobriety & sunlight, I soon realised that this Italian Beard & I were not in any way compatible. I mentally slapped myself for being drawn in once again by my past.
I think, in terms of relationships, you draw towards you, people that force you to learn something about yourself. It is the recognition of these lessons & the subsequent learning of them, that releases you from them altogether. Whether it's about self-expression, trust or co-dependency, the point is never that it ended, but more so what you took from it.
Over two years spent with The Ex certainly taught me a lot about self-expression & self-identity. Although, it's only fair to point out, that it took me another two years after we broke up, to finally learn those lessons & move on. Now I keep what we had in my heart, always, but on the surface, I feel nothing but peace & complete detachment. Will I ever feel like that about Beard. I can only hope so.
Perhaps it's because I'm nearing thirty, or maybe it's just that I'm tired of opening myself up to the wrong person & getting hurt, but I'd quite like the next guy to be THE guy, not just another lesson. Maybe I'm a hopeless romantic & maybe there isn't just ONE right person for everyone, but I can't help but idealise the idea of settling down & being with someone for the long haul & raising a family.
As much as I am impossibly impatient, over everything in life, I do see the need to take stock, face up to my ghosts & heal some wounds, before throwing myself back out there. Because, I think ultimately, once you've learnt what you need to (& of course, to some degree, you never stop learning), you do meet the right person, someone who compliments & balances you & most importantly, you're ready for them.
N.B. All photos accompanying my Happiness Project posts will be taken from one of my Pinterest boards, which hosts all the images that make me happy. Feel free to check it out in the meantime, for more happy snaps.
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