Date whomever you want, who wants you.
Date someone cute. Date someone funny. Date someone stylish. Date someone who loves to dance. Date someone smart. Date someone charming. Date someone elusive.
But commit only to someone who is kind. Who is open about confusion. Who sees your basic goodness, through all of your bulls&*t, who clings to your sanity even as you roil in occasional neurosis, and who expects you to show up for them, all the same.
All my life, I’ve been terrified of commitment. I’m not afraid to admit it. It’s a rational fear, like a fear of heights. I always say, afraid of falling off of a cliff? Your body wants you to be afraid of that, that’s a smart fear!
Sometimes, good friends of mine express cynicism about marriage, or having children (or adopting a dog). I often offer something along the lines of… “it’s good you’re questioning it. The only folks who should make such a commitment should doubt it. You shouldn’t go into such an important thing blinded by wanting. That’s selfish, really. You gotta look at it, and jump in with two feet. ‘Cause it’s not always easy. It’s often not easy. It’s a two-way relationship.”
In the same way, I’ve always been afraid of commitment. Not in the sense that I didn’t want someone to get to know the true me. Au contraire, ma cherie: come on in.
No, my fear is of lying. Of breaking my word. If I say, or you say, “I do,” and then the going gets tough, or someone wants to move to Paris to pursue a new career and the other partner doesn’t want to, or someone falls in love with someone else, or someone decides they don’t like me after 20 years…well, what happened to “I do?” I don’t want to commit to something where I’ve seen so many good, honest humans “fail.”
I’m fine with risk, but promising “I do” isn’t saying “I probably will!” It’s saying, “I do.”
Recently, I met someone boring. Let me explain. In the Buddhist world, “boring” isn’t a bad thing. It’s seen as a gateway to sanity, as a detox from a need for speedy, busy-making entertainment. When we make friends with boring, we finally agree to begin to feel. We let go of positivity, and feel the pain, the suffering, and then the joy, the caring, the appreciation. We feel. We feel and keep feeling, keep staying open, with a brave vulnerability. Those aren’t just words—this is gutsy, rare stuff.
So I met this deeply sane, kind, beautiful, caring, boring woman. She doesn’t need to hide from her own heart, and she’s willing to hang in there with mine.
And that’s what, or rather who, I’ve been looking for my whole life.
Someone I could say “I do” to, and with, and mean it.