Soul­mates Are Bor­ing

Hello Mr. Magazine - - LOVE AND LET GO - By Bernard Lans­ber­gen

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.

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