How do you know when you’ve met the “right one?” Our romantic culture promotes the idea that each of us has a Mr. or Ms. Right out there – the one perfect match who will light our fire and laugh at our jokes and generally be our just right soulmate. In old musical comedies, an upbeat musical score and starry-eyed looks might accompany the appearance of Mr. Right from the object of his affection.
For most of us, reality looks rather different. We find someone we like – a lot, in fact – but if we hang around long enough, we discover that he isn’t perfect. He has a bad habit or two; he snores or belches or sings off key. He’s special, sure, but he’s not perfect. We find ourselves feeling ambivalent. There are few dreamy songs celebrating romantic ambivalence.
We face a dilemma: how special is “special enough?” How do we decide whether we are settling for a relationship we don’t really want (on the one hand) or setting such a perfectionist standard that we are likely to be forever alone (on the other)?