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All or Nothing at All

I've been sifting through my romantic history, such as it is, because of reasons (did I mention I'm back in therapy? I'm back in therapy.) One of the things I realized is that my standards are not actually too high, it's just that I rank being in a relationship in a different order of importance than other people do.

Sometimes it seems that the dominant paradigm ranks things in this order of importance:

1. Being in an awesome relationship.
2. Being in an okay relationship.
3. Being in a shitty relationship.
4. Being by yourself.

In this ranking, being by yourself is the WORST THING EVAR and being in a shitty relationship is, hey, better than nothing and maybe if you just Work On Things with your partner, you can work your way up to an awesome relationship, right?

This is how I rank things:

1. Being in an awesome relationship.
2. Being by myself.
3. Being in an okay relationship.
4. Being in a shitty relationship.

Back in high school, I briefly dated a geeky young man who faintly resembled Adric from Doctor Who. He took me to see Ferris Bueller's Day Off and we made out in the back of a MARTA bus. Because of him, I learned an important life lesson--if you spend all your time talking about What We Mean To Each Other, you don't mean anything to each other and you need to bail. He also taught me that going out with somebody because they're Better Than Nothing only works if you rank Nothing as the worst of all things.

Because Nothing, as any recent escapee from a crappy relationship can tell you, actually has a lot going for it. The bed is yours. Your time is free. You can come and go as you please and don't have to Mother May I with anybody before you do it. Why would I give that up just to be In A Relationship, if that relationship is worse than being by myself?

And, no, I'm not holding out for any kind of perfection. I know that when two people get together, there's always going to be those thousand little compromises. But I'd rather be with someone who makes those thousand little compromises worth it, who makes time shared more delightful than time alone, who adds to who I am and who I can be, instead of subtracts from it.

So maybe I am holding out for Better Than Nothing. It's just that, the way I rank it, there's such a thing as Worse Than Nothing, and I'd rather avoid it.

Today I took pleasure in tunafish and noodles for dinner.

Today I learned some things I didn't know before about filing for an F-1 visa.