Soulmates Are Boring
I’ve only met him once. Spent one night together, just talking. Afterwards, I never heard from him again. But in my head he’s the one that would have made everything better. The love of my life. The soulmate of my brain. My fairytale ending, all in my head. Sadly, he wasn’t the first and he surely won’t be the last. I wasn’t raised to believe in soulmates. My parents always made it quite clear that soulmates don’t exist, that a good relationship consists of hard work. “Making it last is accepting that things are going to get boring very often” is the golden relationship advice they’ve always bestowed upon my sister and me. Still, I try my hardest not to believe them. They are still happy, they are still making out, after more than 28 years of marriage. They are even still having sex as my scarred ears have had to witness throughout the years. Romance can still be there after 28 years and it’s what I want. What I expect from love.
I was born a romantic soul. This is part of my genetics I can’t escape. In my head I will always make things better than they actually are. I can go on the worst date but afterwards I still mold what happened into what I wanted to happen. I can imagine feelings I don’t have, I can see things that aren’t there. My willingness to believe in ghosts. That’s the first part of the problem.
The second part is my parents. They met when they were 15. At that time they were part of the same circle of friends. They were Dawson and Joey or Pacey and Joey, whichever way you wanted Dawson’s Creek to end. My dad was a notorious slut who made his way through 30 girls in one summer. (“The hot summer of ’76,” he will sometimes say, dreamy eyes filled with nostalgia.)
My mom was at the opposite part of the spectrum. She was the good girl, the pretty wallflower with long wavy hair and a heart of gold. After one year of skirting around one another they came together and never parted ways again. Well, actually, that’s not true. In their early days they broke up and got back together a lot, Ross and Rachelstyle. Working out the kinks in their relationship, building a foundation to make things last. And they did.
So here I am, growing up in this marriage of high school sweethearts, looking forward to the day I turn 16 and finally will meet my one. Naturally, that doesn’t happen. I try not to worry. Maybe my one is just a little late, busy figuring out his sexuality? Maybe he doesn’t even realize he’s gay yet?! Every year I get older and move farther away from that sweet 16, I worry more.
What if it never happens? What if I never get to experience what my parents have?
Every relationship, fling, romantic interaction with another human being makes me realize that if I’m going to have my cake and eat it too, I’ll have to work at it. I’ll have to get rid of some of my most annoying flaws and make room for someone else’s. I’ll have to start approaching a relationship as something practical, instead of something magical.
Still, I find it hard to let go of my romantic notions of what love should be. I meet people, dismiss them for not living up to what is in my head. I find their flaws and use it as an excuse not to proceed. To not get involved and get hurt. For love should be easy and love should be romantic. Love should be grand, love should override my expectations and be all-consuming and ravishing. Love should be anything but boring. Bernard Lansbergen is a writer from Belgium who currently resides in Toronto, Canada. He doesn’t really know what he’s doing with his life but he is sure that everything will be okay.