Today was my friend K’s birthday. (Happy 31st girl!) She took the day off and wanted to hang out this morning, so we went to see a movie. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of great flicks out at the moment, so we chose to see Dear John, which is based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name. Now, I would have enjoyed it anyway just because, well, hello, Channing Tatum! (He may not be the world’s greatest actor, but come on! Check out those pecs! Yummy. Where was I?) Oh, so we chose to see this movie, and I am currently 2/3 of the way through the book too. The movie is similar to the book, with a few significant differences, but it is pretty much your standard Nicholas Sparks’ film–lots of schlock, lots of trite lines, boy meets girl, boy loves girl, boy and girl have agonizing relationship, blah blah blah. Your typical sappy chick-flick tear-jerker. (Yes, I cried. I cry at marshmallow commercials. So sue me.)
Anywho, maybe it’s the last five days worth of wedding-related relationship-required postings, but I started thinking. The girl I went to the movies with just got out of a relationship. Well sort of, anyway. They had been together for two years. At one point they took a three month break but then he moved back to town and moved in with her again. Just before the holidays he took off for Texas. Personally? I think it’s a good move. She is a bit older than he is, he is still trying to figure out what he wants to do with his life while she is well into her career, priorities are just different, you know? Yet they are still clinging to one another–they text a zillion times a day and aside from the fact that he is halfway across the country you’d think they were still together-ish. I can’t do that. When I end it with a guy, it’s over with the guy. I can’t do the we’re-not-together-but-I’m-not-dating-anyone-else-because-we’re-still-involved thing. Did it once, with the first love of my life years ago in college. And it took me forever to get over him. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good guy that I hear from every now and again. He’s married with a son, and I’m thrilled for him. It’s just that back then there was a year that it should have been over and never was because things were all angsty like they are at that age. Where was I again? Oh yeah.
So I almost had it a few years ago. Or I think I talked myself into thinking I did. Guy that said he loved me, drama ensued, etc. Yes, it’s over. I called off the wedding and kicked him to the curb. Best thing I ever did. And then I enrolled in graduate school and got my master’s degree. I needed something to occupy my time, and that seemed as good a thing as any. Why not spend $40,000 to get over a broken heart, right? Since him, I haven’t dated much. Tried to date a guy that lived out of town that I went to school with, but it never worked out. Had a few flirtations, but seriously haven’t really cared much about dating the last few years. Do I want to? Sure! But I need to get my own life straight first–a job, financial stability, you know. That kind of stuff.
I don’t feel as old as I am chronologically. But as the years advance closer to the age where having children of my own is not something that I can do (and trust me, that’s not that far off) relationships and their quality start to take on a different meaning. The truth of the matter is that with my last serious relationship I think I talked myself into it more than I actually believed we had anything serious. I was 30 at the time, it was an opportunity, we started dating, and it just kind of evolved. I think that I wanted to be married, wanted to be in a relationship, and wanted to be with someone so I talked myself into a relationship that shouldn’t have been. Retrospect is always the best insight, and there was never anything healthy about that relationship, and very little that I can consider beneficial that resulted from it. When I get involved again, I don’t want to have to talk myself into believing anything.
What does this have to do with Nicholas Sparks? He perpetuates the Cinderella myth. The idea that there can be a Prince Charming, a perfect fit. Sure, you lose the glass slipper for awhile or you might get some glass in your heel with use but the ideal of a man charging in on a white horse is there. The soul mate. The yin for the yang. And for those of us that want to believe that can be for us, those of us like myself and my friend K who have settled in the past for Mr. Right-Here-So-Might-As-Well instead of for Mr. Right, watching movies and reading books like those by Sparks just fuels the belief that there is a John Tyree out there, a soul mate, someone who matches us. We just have to wait and find them.
But waiting just isn’t any fun.