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It’s not easy to admit that I’m waiting for love. It sounds like the stupidest, corniest thing to say. But it’s true. I want to be in love. I want to feel the way I do when I listen to Ben Folds’ The Luckiest. I want to feel swept off my feet, full of butterflies and fireworks. I want to feel the ease and comfort of knowing I have a person who is in it for the long haul. I wouldn’t say I want to be a wife. I would say I want to be a partner.
When I was younger, I didn’t concern myself with love. “Falling in love” and “meeting the one” were rites of passage. They would happen when I was older.
When I hit high school, I wanted a taste. Just a taste. I knew my relationships wouldn’t last forever, but I thought being young and in love was a rite of passage too. Everyone gets to experience it. It’s tragic if you don’t. It’s like you did something wrong, held yourself back, or failed to make some sort of effort. I can’t think of a single highschool movie without a love story. But it doesn’t work that way for most of us. At least it didn’t work that way for me.
Some of the happiest times in my life have come from convincing myself I was finally part of a partnership. Freshman year with ______ was easy. Junior spring with ______ felt magical. My favorite parts of college were when I filled this gap in my soul with a guy and a creative project. _____ and I got his band on national television. ______ and I revolutionized undergraduate art. _____ and I produced a film viewed by thousands. I loved those guys, I loved those projects, and I loved those teams with everything I had. They may not have been romantic, but these were fucking partnerships. We were in it to win it, together, to the very end. And those endings were always tough for me. I cried when ______ moved. I fought for a closer friendship with _____ so I wouldn’t feel the emptiness between projects. I held hands with _____ and cried outside his dorm when we graduated. I knew it’d never be the same.
For most of my life I’ve followed my mom’s advice. Focus on school; you don’t have time for boys. That will be later. My innocent highschool relationships and creative teams gave me enough to hold me over. But I long for that intimacy. That trust. That depth. That sense of belonging with another person. I know it won’t be easy. I know there will be rises and falls. But I feel like I was made to be a partner. Half of a dynamic duo. Maybe it’s just my clock ticking, but as I get older that gap seems to widen and deepen and it feels more and more impossible to fill. And as that happens I become even more desperate to fill it.
Sometimes I wonder about the received wisdom that everyone has a soul mate… it’s just that some soul mates have already left Earth. Maybe their life was tragically cut short. Maybe they’re still around but life threw them off course. Or maybe some people end up alone, never finding a partner, because that wisdom is wrong and their partner never existed.
Being part of a team is the one thing I can’t do by myself. That scares me. And learning how to live alone feels like I’m giving up. It feels like living a shadow of my life. And the older I get, the more I feel like I’m running out of time. I worry that jetting off on a romantic weekend getaway just won’t be the same in my 30s. People won’t be as forgiving of us making out in the rain in the middle of the street or trespassing on the beach in the middle of the night. We should know better. There are still so many things I want to do while I’m young and dumb and in love.
Isn’t it sad? Isn’t it pathetic? That I so desperately want to fall in love. And all of the incredible friendships I have. The loving family I’m part of. The incredible education I have and expansive career possibilities. They just aren’t enough. Isn’t that selfish? Disrespectful? Immature?
As much as we pretend we can get rid of these feelings, they still linger for some of us. And that’s okay. It’s possible to live full and happy lives on our own. But it’s also okay to want to be in love. I’m coming to terms with it. It doesn’t make me weak. It doesn’t make me less independent. It just makes me human. We all have wants, needs, and desires. We all feel a sense of purpose driving us to become who we want to be. Among many other things, I want to be a partner. I hope that it can be a reality. I really want it to happen soon.