The Pesky “Must Haves”

All of our lives we are told things about ourselves.

Girls must be pretty, dainty, and not take up too much space.

Boys must be tough, unemotional and successful.

If you’re too fat you must work out. If your teeth are crooked you must get braces. If you’re not rich enough you must work harder.

You must go to a respectable college and get a good education. You must use that education to get a stable, well paying, and well respected job. You must get married by the age of 30. You must have kids, buy a house, and get a dog.

Blah. Blah. Blah. We wind up growing up and shaping our lives and our perceptions of ourselves based on these “must haves” in life.

I have based most of my dating identity on these “must haves”. There must be something wrong with me because I’ve only been in one serious relationship. There must be something wrong with me because I’m turning 25 and I’m no where near marriage. There must be something wrong with me because I don’t know if I ever want to get married. There must be something wrong with me because I don’t want children.

All of these things make me insecure about my worth. 

Which in reality is ridiculous. I have strayed away from commitment, relationships and closeness for so long because I thought that these things defined me. That these things mattered so much that I would be alone forever. I didn’t want to open up or get close to anyone.

Then one day you meet someone who makes you feel worth it. Who looks past the insecurities and imperfections and sees further inside. Who seems to accept every part of you. And suddenly those “must haves” don’t seem so necessary. And suddenly you start to feel your walls come down all around you.

Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to unlearn the “must haves” that you have unknowingly pushed upon yourself. I am capable of being in a committed relationship. I am capable of being loved and I am capable of giving love back.

Well duh.

Moral of the story, I’ve posted a bunch of mushy stuff about the guy I’m dating, T-Man, and really he’s great. But at the end of the day I don’t know if he’s the one. He could be or we could go on our separate paths in life. Not all love stories are novels. Some are short stories, but they are love stories nonetheless. Either way, he’s made me believe in myself and helped me unlearn all those pesky “must haves”. And for that I will forever be grateful.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. HM says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I have been dating this guy for almost a year now – and I always put up barriers and rules so that I could always remain “detached” and prevent myself from “depending on another whimsical human” because “I don’t and shouldn’t do commitment”. Only recently did I let myself go and put the walls down (subconsciously), and it feels scary. I don’t think he’s perfect, I don’t know if we’ll be together forever or anything, but it feels better and lighter not to always be confined by (self-inflicted) boundaries and by my rules of how I must be, how I must live, how I must feel and how I mustn’t let a boy in too deep etc.

    You write brilliantly – thank you.

    1. It’s great to know that other people out there feel the same way! Sometimes I feel crazy when I see so many of the friends in committed relationships, or even married. But sometimes it’s good to just let go and fall.

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