Yay 2012: The Paradox of Options

The other night I lamented to my friend D, over beers and corn dogs at a Brooklyn bar, the fact that I ever sincerely believed I might wind up marrying one of my exes.

“How could I have talked myself into that?” I exclaimed, dodging bocce balls.

“I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” he replied. “I mean, that’s basically your starting point.”

I laughed, cause it’s funny, cause it’s true. And it was especially funny, and especially true, because of what had happened just the day before: when I had an extended, if joking, conversation about marriage with a man who I had met–through a friend, in my defense–hours earlier.

You can imagine the dialogue: “You’re twenty-eight? I’m twenty-eight! Let’s get married!”, followed by a discussion of variously significant details: how many kids would you like? City or country? Wedding or elope? Etc. What, this doesn’t sound familiar?

Fascinating. Well, it does to me. It’s only happened a couple of times, but both with men I’d met just that day, and neither of whom I ever saw again–much less met at the alter.

But it won’t surprise you to know that, both times, too, there was part of me that could totally imagine getting hitched to the guy. (You know the perfect stranger to whom I’d just been introduced.)

Because: once you’ve established banter and attraction and mutual interest in a shared third party, what else, really, is there?

I mean, besides whether they want kids and where they’d like to live–both issues, by the way, I’m pretty sure remain unresolved in many a long-term couple–what else do you have to know?

In other words: if you really want to, you can make it work with just about anyone. (Really, I think, anyone. But, preferably: anyone you wouldn’t mind having regular sex with and talking to for a few consecutive hours.) I believe that. Being with anyone is gonna be work; it’s just a matter of whether you’re both willing.

And yet, I also believe–or rather, have, rather arduously, not to mention conspicuously, learned–that it can be hard to find a person with whom you share that kind of chemistry, basic as it seems, and have it all work out. (The more I think about it, the more “all” is just code for “timing.” Which means that I’ve been blogging about relationships for two years and have nothing more to show for it than an ancient cliche. Glad we had this talk.)

Moving on. Because what I really want to say is this: and yet. And yet: in spite of how many possibilities there, rationally, ought to be, there often seem so few. And not in a negative, god-I-just-can’t-meeet-anyone-screw-you-perpetually-crappy-timing sort of way; I mean the other side of it: the wow-this-person-is-so-amazing-how-can-I-ever-let-them-go thing. You know that thing?

Pretty sure we can relate on this one: it’s called infatuation, and few things are more fun. I mean, what tops that rush of opening yourself up and getting to know someone new and feeling like your connection is so rare that it’s worth whatever it takes?

So here’s the truth: I’m pretty happy right now, and it’s a lot harder to make sense of feeling good than it is of feeling bad. Also, generally, more boring. But it’s 2012 and I haven’t blogged in a while and I wanted to share that quote from my friend D at the beginning and I’m not really ready to write about anything else that’s going on.

But I did want to say this, cause I think it’s interesting, and maybe you do, too: when it comes to romantic partners, there are endless options out there. And yet: sometimes, there’s nothing better than feeling–in spite of yourself–that there’s only one you want.