I was asked if I had a boyfriend the other day. I said no – audible gasp from co-workers. The gasp did nothing to make me feel comfortable about having to answer that question in the first place. They were genuinely concerned about me and have made it their mission to find me a man. When pressed to say why I didn’t have a man in my life I just said I hadn’t found anyone who made me want to make space in my life. Which is partly true, the other reason being I think I found someone…but we moved to different countries and now I don’t have the strength to look for another guy who fits the particular puzzle that is me.
Relationships are really like building a puzzle. Initially it’s a two piece puzzle, like the giant shapes you get for babies to get them used to shapes and problem solving. So you walk around being made to feel like one half of a puzzle and you are told you need to keep looking for the other half that makes you whole. Now this already gets my goat, but despite all my efforts I remain on the look out for the right puzzle to come along.
I thought I had found my other half a few years ago. But it didn’t work. Then there were a few more almost fits…but there was always a moment when I realised I had been trying to force our puzzle pieces together. It’s like when you build a 1000 piece puzzle and you come across two pieces that look like a perfect match! Brilliant. However when you try and put them together it’s a bit of a struggle, but you keep pushing them together because they looked right and really they must fit. Sometimes you fool yourself into thinking you made a good match and you carry on with the rest of the puzzle, but at some stage it becomes apparent that you forced them together and actually they both have other partners that fit perfectly. So you suck it up and part them and either you have their partners ready or you wait patiently until you come across their match.
Like relationships, sometimes it seems as though you and your partner must be a perfect match, but there are those times where you just know that what they did unnerves you to your very core, or that you are subtly changing yourself to fit into their life better and they are doing nothing to change themselves to fit into your life. That’s when you should ponder whether your puzzle pieces are really a good match or just a forced fit.
Which is not to say that we do actually have a perfect match, or that the piece we think is our perfect match isn’t also another’s match. Sometimes we do find a perfect fit and sometimes we are just fine as a single piece. I also think our puzzle shape changes and that we meet another shape that fits perfectly right then, but for some reason your shape evolves and theirs doesn’t, or they evolve in different ways and are no longer compatible. Or you and your partner change shape together and learn to keep their shapes together through the tricky times and the good times.
I want to find a puzzle piece that shifts and grows with my puzzle piece. All the past mis-fits and almost fits were just practice, a way to show me the signs of a forced fit. So I can know when it feels like a good fit.