I’m a hopeless romantic. When I was younger I used to sit in my room and daydream of finding the perfect man that would sweep me of my feet. By high school, I had already planned my dream wedding. I totally expected a fairy tale romance to happen and just waited for that day to come. I remember sitting there and thinking, “where is Mr. Right?”
Well the truth is Mr. Right doesn’t exist. Even if he did, within time, he’d do something that would drive you nuts. Then you’ll be scratching your head and telling yourself, “I thought he was the one. WHERE IS MR. RIGHT?” I hear you trust me!
Now, before you get in a tizzy and start to write me off as a cynical, loveless woman just here me out. I’m in a relationship with a wonderful man, someone I always dreamed of having. We have a great relationship and I really couldn’t picture my life without him. You can hear more details about that in the video at the bottom of this post.
So, if I have such a great relationship, then why do I say that Mr. Right doesn’t exist? Well, it’s because our idea of what Mr. Right is supposed to be doesn’t exist, and never will. Yes, I said never. All right, if you are still following me then let’s work this out using some knowledge from my first true love: science.
Are you a maximizer or a satisficer?
There is a psychologist named Barry Schwartz who does some phenomenal psychology research. Why does that matter on our quest for Mr. Right? Well, because in Mr. Schwartz’s book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less he explained the difference between these two words: maximizer and satisficer
So what’s the difference between the two?
Ok, let’s say you want to purchase a new phone. This is how the two would handle the scenario differently:
Maximizer: This person needs to look at every phone store, and every option of phones available. They don’t feel certain on their choice until they compare and contrast all the options, and see everything that is out there. Maybe even after the purchase this person is not happy and still wondering if there is a better phone out there.
Satisficer: This person wants a phone that can make calls, has Wi-Fi capability, and is lightweight. When they find a phone that fits these criteria, they will purchase and be satisfied with it.
I know you are probably thinking so what does that have to do with Mr. Right? Well, because we have to recognize if we are maximizers or satisficers when searching for Mr. Right. It’s time for me to introduce Lori Gottlieb. I read her book called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough in college and it totally changed my life.
In this book, which I highly recommend, Lori makes the case that we aren’t going to find a man that meets every single nitpicky detail we want in a man. Like I said before, there really is no Mr. Right out there. But, we can find a really wonderful man who will meet all the criteria we need in a partner, and who we will be happy with in the long term.
Before I read that book I definitely had some tendencies leaning way too far towards being a maximizer with men. Even if the guy I was dating at the time had a great job, was caring, intelligent, and had many other wonderful qualities I still ended up feeling like something was missing. It took me a long time before I could willingly admit that maybe I was part of the problem with meeting my dream man. So, if you are a maximizer, you might have to scale back your expectations a bit. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for any guy, but it does mean we have to start being realistic.
Finding the perfect (yet flawed) man
In my early to mid-twenties I started to realize that the man of my dreams was never going to sweep me off my feet and carry me off to a castle. I realized that he was going to come flawed and we would never have a perfect relationship. At some point, we all must realize that. It is the only way we can really find true love.
I met Christoph, my boyfriend, by a change of fate or luck or whatever you want to call it. If there is such thing as “the one” then I am completely and honestly sure that he is that person for me. But, we definitely have days where we can’t see eye to eye. He definitely does things that annoy me. We have our days where it seems like we come from two total different planets! But, does that mean I’m ready to jump ship and run away from him? 100% not. That’s because all the hard work we do on our relationship is what makes it so worthwhile.
Long term love
A huge part of my blog is going to be about how to maintain long term relationships, because quite frankly, I think our culture (especially for Millennials), is so focused on short term things. If we don’t like something in our partner, then we just throw them away looking for the next one. Even worse is cheating. That has got to stop. It’s time for us to be open and recognize realistic expectations for our relationships. When we do this, we will feel satisfied and experience true love.
Real relationships require hard work, and that is what makes them so special. To be honest, I would never want to have a fairytale romance. It would be so boring! Arguments are necessary for relationships, and help you to grow as people.
Yes, there are going to be things about your partner that you might not totally love, but that doesn’t mean they have to be a reason for you to give up on them. It should be a reason you work towards new goals together. Christoph and I have both developed our relationship by cultivating a new life together. We both have strengths, and we put them together to create a very happy and realistic relationship for the many years to come. I encourage you to do the same.
Mr. Right should be renamed Mr. Realistic Right, and he is a totally fabulous man. So, stop asking the question, “where is Mr. Right” and start looking for that (almost) perfect man. Together you can build an amazing and realistic relationship that is worthy of a Disney film to tell your magical story.