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Ideal vs. Real: What Do I Want Out of a Relationship?

by Tiffany Shavon JulesPEP Young Women's Leadership Council

As I was approaching my birthday this year, I started to think about when I made the conscious decision to compromise regarding my romantic relationships. During middle school, I remember making a detailed list of the qualities that I wanted in my future mate. Of course, at such a young age, my list included a few items that were unreasonable which I eventually removed. But compromising is completely different from slight editing. At what point in my life did I start compromising on my concept of my ideal mate?

I think the answer to the question can be found during the years between graduating from college and starting graduate school. Like most young people who just finished college, I was lost regarding the next steps for my career and romantic life. During this time, I dated several men who came extremely close to my revised criteria for my mate. But for some reason these relationships did not work. After a couple of lonely years, I came to the decision that I wanted to be more open and started dating men who do not neatly fit into my fantasy of an ideal mate.

So the week before my birthday, I started getting mad at myself for giving up on my ideal mate so easily. I have always hated quitters, but I have to admit to myself that I am a quitter as well. I quit looking for my ideal mate because I gave into family and societal pressure that a twenty-something year old woman should have a significant partner at this time in her life. So how do I resolve this issue and get out of the mindset of a quitter? To be honest, I have absolutely no idea where to start. But I am happy that I had this conversation with myself, so I do not end up in a serious romantic relationship which is full of regret.

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