Sometimes I ask people, "When and how did you know that he was the one?" One of my nearest and dearest (and newly engaged!) girlfriends told me that her now fiance was really the first man to ever court her and go above and beyond. My mom says she knew that my dad was the one when she never wanted to be apart from him.
These are circumstances and feelings that I don't know from. Lately I've been piecing together what I do know, and it has dawned on me: I have a fear of commitment.
I'm the most unlikely candidate for such a phobia. I want to get married, preferably before I'm 30. I am incredibly supportive of all of my friends who are in relationships. In fact, when someone recently suggested that I am jealous of my attached girlfriends because I'm single, a close friend was quick to say, "That's not true. Nobody is a bigger cheerleader for love than Teddi." And that made me so proud on so many levels.
Yet, I think back to my most committed relationship and realize that it was clouded with doubt. I never took him as a date to any of my family weddings though he was always invited, and when he asked me to accompany him to one of his family weddings, I politely declined. I did take him to my sister's Bat Mitzvah, but I did not let my mother include him in the formal photo album. (And thank God.)
We were together largely in part because it made sense, but more largely in part because it just seemed like the right thing to do. It was love at first sight but it wasn't the end all be all, and we spent a lot of time living off of the glory of the former and trying like hell to fight the latter. I realize now how young and stupid I was; that I almost succumbed to something so major because it "seemed like the right thing to do". Only now do I understand that I didn't really understand any of it.
Nowadays, it takes so much for me to even talk to a guy, much less go on a date or give anyone a chance. In the three years I've lived here, I've introduced one guy to my family, and looking back, I'm not sure it was the right thing to do. Not because I didn't care about him (I did and do), and not because they didn't like him (they did), but because I wasn't ready, I just didn't know it then. I am very hesitant to let anyone get too close.
I've never been courted and I've never been with someone whom I didn't want to be apart from. At this very moment, I can't fathom being with someone that I would put on the same love level as the people who mean the most to me - my mom, dad, and sister. Everyone has different ways of knowing, and I think that's how I will know. I used to worry about this, but now I just wonder. Hence my post title.
In the words of Bethenny, the shop is closed and the lock is double-bolted. I tell my father that he has set the bar far too high. He says that he was not this good at 25, and my mother agrees. He tells me to look for someone who is smart, sweet, and makes me feel right. I tell him I don't want to look.
He says that's even better.