Beyond The Meet And Greet
Published: July 13, 2008 | | Submit An Inquiry

Dear Chivalry,

     I've recently found myself in a wonderful relationship with a girl who is, by all standards of normalcy, rather unconventional.  This is probably the reason I am so drawn to her.  We're
actually an interesting couple, and hardly ever questioned by those around us. We have fun, and are very passionate with each other.  However, we are currently separated over the summer due to living arrangements.  We have mutually agreed to maintain this over the summer, and as far as I can tell, no feelings have truly been lost.  My problem however lies in my own mind.

     I can't help but shake the feeling that I'm with this girl for bad reasons, like the fact that maybe she is the best I can do, or if I let her go, I will be alone forever.  On top of this, I have a picture of my own as to what my ideal woman was going to end up being.  My girlfriend makes me very happy, and the more I think about her, the more positive characteristics I find, but I still am left wondering if maybe I'm fighting too hard for something that isn't everything I would hope it can be...

     So... I ask: Would the right thing to do be to throw a beautiful working relationship into disarray by openly talking about some very dangerous feelings, or to give her time to prove that the good that I see in her is everything I make it out to be?  Could all of this thought merely be a symptom of my temporary separation and loneliness?


Confused and Scared

Dear Confused and Scared,

      There are many things about your letter worth discussing, but in the interest of keeping things relatively brief, I think we should try to focus on the idea of the "ideal".  I'm sure you can agree that part of growing up and being in a meaningful and mature relationship is realizing that whatever picture you have of your "ideal" person is most likely never going to happen.  When you find the right person it's rarely the case that they are exactly who you had in mind.  You might find yourself head over heels for someone who you'd never envisioned for yourself, and that's completely exciting.  The real danger here is that you can spend your whole life trying to find that one perfect person and ultimately end up where you started.  On the other hand, it's not to say that you should settle for a relationship that isn't fulfilling your needs.  Complacency is a dangerous attitude and can sometimes lead to a lifetime of unhappiness.  Do you really want to make decisions based on fear of being alone?  I think you know this is irrational, but I understand how it can play a role in your thinking.  Finding your one and only is such a game of chance, so it's easy to feel you might never meet someone again.

      To answer your first question, which seems to be should you share your concerns with your girlfriend.  I would say yes, after you've taken a little more time to think things over, you should.  It's unfortunate that you are not in the same place right now, because these are difficult things to talk about over the phone or internet, so try to wait for the appropriate moment and be as patient as you can.  Perhaps you can pose the same question to her, does she have her own picture of her "ideal" man?  Maybe she's feeling the same way.  It's important to feel like you can share your feelings because after a while it can become dangerous to let these things tumble around in your head and grow into worse problems.  Now, with respect to your question of this all being a symptom of loneliness, there is something worth mentioning here.  Basically, time apart can do one of two things:  It can show you what it's like to truly miss someone, or sometimes it can send you in the other direction.  If this girl is fun and unconventional and makes you feel good, then you really shouldn't be stressing. You should be beside yourself and counting the moments until you see her again.  It does sound like you care about this girl quite a bit especially when you say the more you think of her the more you find that you like.  Then keep thinking about her!  It's important to be open to the fact that your definition of "ideal" can evolve over time.

      In closing, I have to be honest and tell you that I can empathize with you on this more than you know.  I've felt this way more times then I would like to admit, and I know how hard it is to be in this position.  Fear and doubt are completely normal feelings when you're unsure of
such an important thing, and it's hard to admit when you're scared and confused about being in a relationship.  I have no absolute answer for you here, it's not a black and white issue in the least.  But I hope you can be patient and take the time to look at your own feelings first
and then approach your situation in a thoughtful and mature manner before possibly throwing away a good thing.  As a general rule I would say that it's important to work and try to understand the relationship you are in, not the one you might be in someday. 

      Thank you for your letter and good luck.




Talons' - "F*** Everything"
Bronze Float - "Talks To Dust"
City Center - "Gold Girls"
Walkmen, The - "Another One Goes By"
Hi-Lo - "Alaron"
El Perro Del Mar - "This Loneliness"
Rand & Holland - "Let Me Down Gently"
Taken By Trees - "Make 1, 2"
Antony & The Johnsons  - "Mysteries of Love"
Grouper - "When We Fall"

Film: The Unbearable Lightness of Being