There’s a lot of allure and desire amongst women for the “bad boy” (or girl)—certainly, films and pieces of literature glamorize the idea, but really it’s a charmingly disguised name for a person you know will eventually cause you pain. That’s not to say that “nice guys” (or girls) are exempt from causing heartache, but who hasn’t experienced the end of a relationship with a burning wish that the next person be all the things the previous person was not?
Yet there is a common thread to coping with heartbreak and the heartbreak of others; a dialogue we speak like a mantra. “One day, you’ll find the right guy.” It’s said as a gentle comfort, that one day someone will be the right one, and take away the vivid memories of pain and turn their starkness into shadow.
So then what happens when we meet the “right” person, and it’s roses and smiles and you’re so happy it’s as though your veins are filled with glitter and relief, only to realize, eventually, there’s something irrefutably lacking? When the “right” person isn’t the right one for you, it’s a confusing scenario and one with only the faintest blueprint to help us trace what’s wrong. We’re told constantly that we just need to find the right person, a nice person, and in believing these words it becomes difficult to reconcile when the right person doesn’t whittle our future into a white picket fence. Instead, we feel guilt. We got what we wanted and, it turns out, we don’t want it.
So you’ve met the right person and they call when they’re supposed to, cook dinner because they want to, listen to Taylor Swift because you do, and say all the right things because they mean them. Then that nagging feeling, the one residing in your gut, starts to squirm and you realize there’s something missing. And for once, it’s not him; it’s you. Feelings can’t be coerced or manipulated, we can’t fall for someone because we want to, in the same way we can’t stop loving when we have to. You’ve met the “right” person that everyone told you about, but as it turns out, they’re not the right one for you. Unwarranted guilt has an ugly way of manifesting into self-blame, and I’ve known a few friends to respond with, “What’s wrong with me?”—as though they’re somehow defect. A relationship stretches further than the qualities listed on paper, and there’s nothing wrong with being honest and respecting your feelings. It’s brave, in fact. Happiness never blossomed and flourished from a partnership of mediocre compatibility, despite the other person in the equation having all the qualities that potentially make them “right.”
Another pattern of thinking occasionally emerges as a solution: deciding to stay, for a little while, in order to avoid hurting them, and gripping on to the glimmer of hope that maybe time will change your feelings. By doing this we mean no harm, but we also deny ourselves the truth of the situation and are therefore doing not only ourselves, but the theoretical partner, injustice. Few people relish breakups, but they needn’t be painful or like a stab wound to the heart. They can be honest and liberating, setting both of you free. Of course the sweeter and kinder the other person is, the more difficult it becomes, but withholding the inevitable will not make it any easier.
When I broke up with the “right” guy there was a profound sense that I was a horrible human being, because I felt feeble as I tried to explain that nothing was wrong, but that it just wasn’t right. The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with us and we shouldn’t feel as though we have to force our own hand and stay in the name of forsaking guilt about acting on what is, ultimately, the best decision for both parties. So maybe there is a “right” person prototype and they’re wonderful and gentle and everything you thought you wanted, but it’s okay to realize that just because they call back and treat you with respect doesn’t guarantee they’re right for you.
Rachel Grace is a shameless book worm, red lipstick wearer, day dreamer and writer. In her spare time she can be found completing her uni degree, listening to Taylor Swift and cuddling her cat who detests affection. Rifle through her creative thoughts at cherrylipschocolateeyes.tumblr.com