Letting Go of Mr. Right
I stopped believing in “the one” when I was 19. I stopped looking for a relationship and started focusing on myself and my dreams and goals that didn’t involve a relationship. I asked myself what I wanted and went for it. At the time, I was attending a Christian college that was well known for the girls who went there for their Mrs. Degree, and most of the students there were serious about meeting someone and settling down. I can count on one hand the people I know from college who are still single.
I soon regretted my choice in school because of the cultural pressures of the “ring by spring.” I had offers, but I chose to stay single, which was highly criticized by people around me. One of my favorite responses came from someone I turned down. It was my last semester, and he told me I needed to find a guy before I graduated. His theory was that I wouldn’t find one once I left. I rolled my eyes and let it go. I wasn’t looking for a guy.
I’ve had two boyfriends in the last six years. I broke a promise to myself to stay single, because I wanted to give it a shot. Neither one was right for me, and both relationships ended with me cutting ties and walking away with a renewed resolve to stay single until….The “until” has evolved, but there is always an until. I’ve had offers, I’ve had a few dates, and I’ve turned many men down. There is no doubt I turned down some great guys I may have had a great relationship with, maybe even “the one.” The problem was, it wasn’t the right time.
I knew that I wasn’t in a position in life where a lasting relationship was right for me. Their timing happened to be at a point of change and decisions that needed to be about my physical, emotional, and mental health. They might have been good boyfriends and we might have worked, but not then. I wasn’t ready to have a healthy romantic relationship, and my healthiest decision was recognizing that. In that moment, it would have been easy to hope one of them could save me. They believed they could, and to an extent, they were good for me. However, I trusted my instincts.
From romance novels, to princess stories, and most romantic movies on the market, society has ingrained in women the idea of men saving them. It was tempting to let that idea sway my decision and to let a guy “fix it.” However, I knew that was not a solution to the problems I was facing; they could not “fix it.” I was the only person who could help me, and it had to come from within. I did not want a guy in the picture affecting my happiness, health, and decisions.
I was in the process of a medical discharge from the Navy due to a PTSD diagnosis stemming from sexual assaults, stalking, and harassment during the two years I had been in the service. I didn’t think highly of men and trusted them with a wary caution, if I did at all. My healing and recovery had to come from within, and a romantic relationship would hinder this.
I was in an influx of change, emotionally and mentally, as I tried to sort through this. I had changed because of my experiences; I was figuring out who I was again. The worst thing for me would be a relationship. I didn’t need to add a guy to this equation. I couldn’t let a relationship be part of the process and needed to build a stable foundation for myself without the impact of a relationship. I didn’t want a relationship to be my new focus or the hinge on which my happiness hung. I couldn’t have a relationship with healthy boundaries and expectations if I didn’t have a healthy relationship with myself.
I don’t think that I gave up the “perfect” guy. I don’t worry about if I will find a guy. I don’t worry I missed my chance. It’s not my priority. There was a relief lifted from me in letting go of the burden of finding Mr. Right and focusing on other things that I find more fulfilling. Learning self-love has been my best path to healing. I may not always know what that means, but it’s one choice I am proud of recognizing I needed to make.
I may be judged for it, and that’s OK. Despite how many women in our society are choosing to stay single, marrying at a later age, or focusing on other things, it goes unnoticed. Even when we are wives and mothers, we are so much more. Yet we live in a world that weighs our value on the basis of whether we can attract a man, keep him, and become mothers. We live in a society where we are judged for the choice to stay single, where an assumption is made that there is something wrong with us if we are. I have been told, “Someone like you must have a boyfriend,” and I’m here to shout, “No, I mustn’t!”
What I must do is make decisions that are right for me. It may be hard to believe, but being single can be a healthy choice. If this ever changes and Mr. Right shows up at the right time for a relationship to be a healthy venture, I will give it a chance. What I refuse to do is let society force me to put that on a must-do, pressure-filled checklist as a miscalculated measure of my success, worth, and value. I won’t let society or any guy tell me that my relationship with myself is less important than my relationship with someone else. Being in any relationship is a choice, and it’s my choice.