Why Romantic "Failure" Doesn't Make You Any Less Perfect

I was 17 the first time someone told me I might be addicted to love. In my defense, I think I’m one of the many suffering from such an affliction, it’s just that I happened to become aware of it at a relatively young age. Also, I’m sorry, but if you seriously managed to survive listening to ‘90s pop radio in your car every day and not get “addicted to love”, allow me to copy your notes after class. I seriously have no idea how you did it. (Seriously though. No idea.)

Needless to say, at 17 years old, I really didn’t appreciate hearing this … nor did I have any real willingness to admit it might be true. I took my friend’s observation as a sort of death sentence, a prophecy that I was doomed to romantic failure for my entire foreseeable future. Still I continued repeating the same self-defeating patterns in relationships, over and over, until one day I got tired of it and decided it was time for something new.

While I wish I was writing this as someone who woke up one day and said “today is the day I will stop being attracted to misogynistic assholes”, that’s not exactly how it all happened.  Instead, I’ve woken up many times with that same commitment, it’s just manifesting gradually (gradually: AKA not exactly the way a control freak such as myself would have preferred).

If you can’t tell already, this wasn’t (isn’t) my favorite quality about myself, this fate of being attracted to the “wrong kind of guy” and dating different versions of him over and over again. I hated that I found myself reduced to such a fate and was committed to reversing it.  When I realized that such a commitment would expand over a lifetime, and not be part of some kind of overnight transformation, it was the sad start of what has been a bitter and painful war with myself.

For whatever reason, I tend to be more interested in dead-end romance than cheesecake and too much Chardonnay. Regardless of my drug of choice, I've somehow failed to realize that the truth of my lingering and perpetual feelings of incompleteness without the presence of another half doesn’t make me only half a person. As I once believed at 17, I am not broken. I am not eternally damned.

I guess I’m writing this because there was a time where I really didn’t believe that (okay fine: it was last night.) There are still many times when I don’t believe that, when I believe that my distant past or even my recent choices are a reflection of how worthy I am. But that’s not true. It isn’t true. And it never will be.

Whether it’s donuts or carbohydrates or unavailable men or unavailable women (most of us have something we run to, I’m just listing the usual suspects…) we don’t have to be perfect to be, well ... perfect. We don’t have to have it all figured out (I certainly don’t) and however many chocolates or escapades must come between us and whatever it is we’re looking for, we can trust we’re not missing something we should have been born with. Some essential piece was not left out of the box when we arrived. I like to think I’m just picking up the pieces I already have and putting back them back together: it may take a while, but heck, hopefully I have a while.

And yes, even though Celine Dion and Savage Garden might have tried to convince me otherwise (little buggers), I really need not worry. I’ve had all the pieces this whole time.