Monday, April 16, 2012

The forks in the road (updated at the end)

Last night, the guy met a couple of my friends for the first time. They loved him. Lots of talk of double dates happened. He really, really likes me. I like him a lot and in certain areas (intelligence, kindness, capability), he is exactly what I'm looking for. But in other areas, he is not what I am looking for and yesterday, it became crystal clear to me that those aspects of him constituted deal breakers.

That was just an awful realization- I ended up staying wide awake most of the night and in the morning I called my mom and told her I was going to break up with this guy. That did not go that well, it was a very emotional conversation and comes down to the crux of the issue-I have a shopping list of qualities that may be very hard to find in one guy. My mom called it the "Draupadi" complex- Draupadi is principal female lead in the epic Hindu myth, the Mahabharata. In her previous life, she  prayed to a Shiva and asked for a man who was best looking, the best warrior, the kindest man with the best temperament etc.  So in the story, in the current reincarnation, by happenstance and accident, she is trapped into marriage with 5 men, each of whom  embodies one of the 5 qualities she asked for. Everybody involved is aghast and start trying to find a way out of it, but the god Krishna shows up and says, well, THIS is the boon you asked for, so now you have to accept it and live with the consequences-- the Mahabharata is all about teaching life lessons through very interesting and dramatic fiction, and this particular lesson is, you cannot have everything.

I know very well that finding a guy with my laundry list is hard, and while there are men who are good looking, nice, smart and kind, they are extremely few and far between and many people are either intelligent kind people but unexciting physically, or are good-looking but rat bastards (met too many of those recently).

But still, I find myself unable to compromise.

I'm going to break up with this guy this week. In doing so, I literally feel like I'm at a fork in the road and I'm  deliberately choosing the much more difficult path to walk down-  but I cannot help but do it anyway.

I"m bone-deep comfortable with the idea of having a baby as a single mom. The many problems/challenges associated with this path do not scare/put me off at all. But having a mostly nice life with a nice, lovely man who falls short of certain standards I have? That generates a whole lot of negative feelings and a knee-jerk need to get out it now (it hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday) and I'm kicking myself for that. I wish so hard that I could be happy with this guy. But how can you help the way you feel and react? You have to be true to your nature, even if your nature is that of a bloody idiot, apparently. Plus there is the guilt.  I'm so sorry to hurt this man, but better now than much later.

Update: I broke up with him on 2 days after writing this post. I really want to thank all of you for your insightful, kind comments. Many people bought up the point (and its a really valid one) that you can't lead with a list, you have to take what you get. I agree 100%. The caveat is, you have to be happy/content with the overall package, even if you wish some or many little things could be different. The problem was, staying in there, with the factors I did not find ideal, was actively making me unhappy and it was a situation that, had I buried that unhappiness, would have only gotten progressively worse. So here I am, 1 week later- I miss many aspects of him, I think about him often, but I'm profoundly relieved that I ended things, and know that I made the right decision for me. The only thing I wish I could change is my innate personality, but I have to accommodate who I am, no matter the price.


  1. Yes, yes, yes. I chose to end my first marriage because I realized I'd made a compromise that I was no longer ok with (we were just at the point of starting to think about having kids). 

    The right guy is out there. You know what you want, and it's the right thing to do to be ruthless about putting yourself on a path to find it.

  2. There is a huge difference between settling down and settling. I completely agree that finding someone who fits the laundry list is hard. I waited a long time for my flawed prince and will say that being with the right person, the right partner, makes for a very exciting life. Being with the wrong person is worse than being alone. I know it looks unreasonable to family and friends, but it's a choice that is wise beyond your years. Stay strong. 

  3. Ugh, I don't envy you the week ahead.  I'm sorry it's not going to work out with the guy.  Sometimes it's really hard to do the right thing.

  4. Well, in my case, the right guy was NOT out there (or not yet), and I embarked down the path towards becoming an SMC.  I'm sorry you are having to make this agonizing choice...but just wanted to weigh in as someone who found herself at that fork and decided I couldn't settle, either.   My 9 month daughter is sleeping in the room next to me, and I don't regret a single minute of the journey that has brought me here.

    Not sure if that helps, but I appreciate your "bone-deep" sense of what is right for you, Jay!


  5. Would love to know what's on your laundry list and where this guy falls short.

  6. You clearly are a very strong, and very wise woman. If all of the cells in your body are telling you to walk away from the relationship with this guy, then what a bonus you can listen to that wisdom. A lot of women have a hard time doing that (myself included, although I will continue to spend my lifetime working on it). For you, it seems clear that this isn't the right situation. So, go on your own path, and disappoint people (like this guy, your mom and whoever else is invested). They will recover well, don't worry. You're the one who has to live with your decisions, don't you. Sounds like you are making sure you can do just that.
    You're awesome, Jay. You don't need to compromise on who you spend your life with. 

  7. You know when you know.  I'm impressed with your own self awareness in that area as a lot of other women would push aside doubts and simply move forward because he was "good on paper".  That said, I truly believe that finding "the one" encompasses two things that are important for me to express here.

    Timing and Gut. 

    If the boy and I had met even two years earlier, chances are one of us would have ended it because we weren't "ready".  We even may have both been single but its aobut a mindset when you finally settle down. 

    Gut. I honestly was amazed that TheBoy was my "one" because he was the easiest going person I'd ever been with.  Everyone else was passionate and I thought that was what I wanted.  I found that by pushing aside my perceived desire for "passionate men" I actually found a very level-headed and amazing man that fits me perfectly.

    And FYI, I didn't know right away.  We dated casually for a few months before we realized this was actually going somewhere. 

    Just some thoughts that your "list" might not be the end all.  And a pat on the back for knowing what you want.  :)

  8. The right thing to do alwyas seems to be the hardest thing too. Why is that? I'm really sorry you have to break up with this guy but admire your awareness of yourself to do so. Good luck this week.

  9. There isn't a "perfect" guy out there. You have to find someone who will work with you, keep working on the relationship, keep evolving with you. If this guy isn't that person, better to let go now.

  10. Good for you!  I know this is hard, but you're doing the absolute right thing by insisting on what you want in your life!  It's so much better to be by yourself than to be with the wrong person.

  11. my dad used to tell me a zen story about a teacher asking his disciple to go pick the tallest blade of grass in a field. The only condition is that he is never to go backwards, i.e. can never pick the blade of grass that he has already passed up and can only pick one blade of grass. The disciple passes up some of the initial blades in hopes of taller ones, but at the end of the field, he realises that he left behind the taller grasses and now has to settle for an average sized one. 

    That said, you know yourself best. If you believe that the list is never going to change, there really is no point 'settling' for anything else. And if I was as independent as you, I would have surely stuck to my guns, but marriage has only made me realize that my list has changed immensely. And that I may not have been strong enough to have made it on my own. 

    Sorry about all the gyaan.
    Do read this: you will know just how right you have been 

  12. Michaela SzidloskiApril 24, 2012 at 1:10 AM

    My mother used to tell me that you will meet a guy that is 80% of what you want and if you can't live with the other 20% it's time to move on. 

    About 3 years ago, right before I decided to try to have a baby on my own I was dating this guy and he had a good job, was handsome, smart but didn't really have a sense of humor at all and the physical connection was only mediocre. 

    Even though I never really "felt" it with him, I was determined to make it work. I was feeling my age and my time running out and then one day he mentioned this place he would like to live (a place I would NEVER want to live) and I just said: "This isn't working" as I ran home!

    You can't force what you don't feel. 

  13. This is probably coming from left field for you, as I am a very infrequent checker of this post, but I find there is a lot of wisdom in what Dan Savage has to say on this topic.  this said by a nearly 54-year old SMC who is happy with her path, but nonetheless sees the absolute sense in what Dan has to say on the topic of "the one".

    There is some bad language in here, so be ye forewarned.

  14. P.S. not saying you should or shouldn't break up with this guy -- only you know the answer to that question.  Just thought you might appreciate his perspective on the topic.