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Still a Romantic

Learn to love yourself and never settle for less again

By Clinton A. HarrisPublished about a month ago 4 min read
It's just a sunset, not the end of the world.

Tonight I was thinking about the last few years and how I started my journey of divorce with a vague idea of what I wanted in a partner. I wanted someone who was kind, compassionate, comfortable with their sexuality, patient, trusting, supportive, intelligent, humble, and had an adventurous spirit. Pretty much all the things I was lacking in a partner. To some degree I hadn't seen all of in one person by then either.

These are all pretty basic things. Lots of them are just Adulting 101.

Over the years, I have learned that there are a lot of other things I have found lacking in my relationships which pertain to honesty, devotion, fidelity, loving in half measures, commitment issues, doing the work, self-love, emotionality, empathy, overcoming past traumas (and not just covering them up), ambition, imagination, an adventurous spirit, feeling comfortable in their own skin, liking children, emotional maturity, being kind to animals, boundaries, and a similar moral compass. Returning their shopping cart. Tipping their server. Isn't it weird to think that so many of these qualities are just absent in some people?

I think the closer you get to healing and finding yourself, you realize that many of these traits that become non-negotiables are just values you have yourself, or are working towards. My list of preferences and deal breakers is by no means exhaustive. And the more I continue ahead, the more I understand that for whatever reason it might seem impossible to have all of these virtues in one person, and it would be easier to just settle--well, I have these values, so odds are good someone else probably has them too. Right? Maybe they've got some other things they are bringing to the table I had no thought of. That's kinda how I've been adding to my list.

I guess my point is to not settle. There are things I am working on everyday about myself. I don't give myself a pass most of the time, so why am I giving someone else one? Maybe I won't ever find someone who hits all of the high points. In which case, I'm fine with continuing my search and learning about my values along the way that are also important. I think every failed relationship I have had, has been a way to point me in the direction of the one I've been looking for my whole life. Like clues. Because with the sad choices, there have been plenty of nice things I never would have dreamed of eight years ago when I made my first list of what I wanted.

I try to live with those same virtues and standards, and I hope the odds are in my favor to find somebody who shares my particular blend of values. One of my biggest problems has been that I am a social chameleon, and only now am I realizing that some things actually bother me and I don't have to put up with them at the expense of being alone. I kinda like being alone, especially if I don't have to lie to myself when I'm not comfortable with a situation. Especially if I don't have to tolerate fuckery.

There's getting out of your comfort zone, and there is trying to be someone you aren't. Like, I really don't care if I ever go skiing again. Some people are really into it. I don't have to be, and I don't have to pretend I could be. I'm not a fan of crowds or loud venues like bars or concerts. I tend to not drink in excess. I don't do drugs. I'm a one woman man. (Jeez, I'm a lot of fun, aren't I?) I can think of other things I'd rather be doing than shouting in someone's face, trying to have a conversation in a crowded place. Or having a hard time remembering what I did the night before.

Have you ever walked in a park at dusk in the spring and listened to nightingales? Have you ever hiked behind a waterfall? Have you ever just gone on a five hour road trip, singing along with the radio? Have you sat in a hot spring when it is snowing? Have you ever just gone into a library and opened up the oldest books you could find and just breathed in? Have you made love on a beach? Or sat and drunk coffee while watching people? Read poetry to someone under a tree? Have you worn a costume to an event? Told someone a story at night to help them sleep? Or sat on a couch with someone and just watched old movies all afternoon, feeding each other popcorn? Danced with someone for hours? In a kitchen? To no music? Have you raced to catch the last bus out of town and barely made it? Or felt your heart break waving goodbye to someone, even though you knew you would see them again soon, but they had their own adventures to go on, and you have yours? And been fine with it? Have you ever just held someone as they cried after telling you their most personal thoughts?

There are all sorts of things to do, and so many more I haven't done yet. It would be nice to do them with the right person, but in the meantime I'm going to keep doing them with this person I'm getting to know much better: Myself. Though some might argue, he's not a bad guy to get to know. He's not perfect and has no intention to be. But he's who I am, who I've been becoming, and who I'm stuck with for the next forty years.


About the Creator

Clinton A. Harris

My name is Clinton A. Harris and I am a writer, traveler, and podcaster. I live in the mountains of northern Colorado with my yellow lab, fixing up a 120 year old house. My website is Check it out!

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (4)

Sign in to comment
  • Heather N King14 days ago

    Your ability to evoke emotions through your writing is truly remarkable, and I feel uplifted and hopeful after reading your article. Keep shining your light and spreading love through your words!

  • nguyenquochoang26 days ago

    Live meaningfully for a beautiful life

  • Lynn Anderson 26 days ago

    Heartfelt and well written.

  • Gal Mux26 days ago

    This part - I'm going to keep doing them with this person I'm getting to know much better: Myself.

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