I had one drink too many to make the best choice right now.
I asked what he was doing. He said nothing. He told me to come over. He said we would just cuddle.
After eight months of texting sporadically and his asking to hang out, I decided to finally give him a chance. I got to his house and realized what I was doing couldn’t end well.
Who goes to somebody’s house at 10:30 pm to cuddle?
That night began one of the most confusingly undefined relationships I have ever partaken in.
He told me the first night, “I do not want a relationship. This is like no strings attached. You know? Like the movie?”
My naïve and secretly romantic mind automatically thought of the movie and how at the end, the two main characters ended up together; so there was hope for a relationship?
Three months, feelings, his mixed signals and a few frustrated conversations later, he repeated to me: “I do not want a relationship.
I really just want to focus on me right now. I am working on me and I do not think that is the time to be in a relationship.”
My initial reaction: rejection. Secondary reaction: sadness. Tertiary reaction: he is wrong.
By nature, I am an argumentative individual.
I hate rejection and I hate being wrong. I told him I disagreed. I said that when you are focusing on yourself and self-improvement, it is the best time to be in a relationship.
The conversation eventually ended, as did our three-month hot mess of — I don’t even know what we had. As much as it saddened me to know that we weren’t going to work out — because unfortunately, I really did like him — his words led me to think.
He did not want to be in a relationship because he wanted to focus on himself. This wasn’t the first time I had heard that.
There are people who feel they need to be at their very best to be in a relationship, or that they won’t be able to focus on themselves if they are in one.
I am not sure if it is because I am bitter he did not want me or if I just naturally like to argue, but surprise surprise, I still disagree.
Here are five reasons it is best to date somebody when you are a work in progress:
1. You have a constant support network.
Being in a relationship when you are working on your goals means you have an automatic cheerleader backing you up.
If you are trying to lose weight, your partner would be there to eat salad with you and to ask you how your gym session went.
He or she would be there to point out the small progress points you made.
He or she would be there to tell you to get back on the wagon when you fell off.
If you are trying to find a job, you would have someone to celebrate with you when you get an interview and drink with you when you don’t get the position.
If it’s a good relationship, you have somebody to support you in all your endeavors and even get his or her hands dirty (job-searching, going to the gym with you, apartment searching and financial advising) to help you reach your goals.
2. You will motivate your significant other to be his or her best.
Even during those three months of friendship/benefits/talking, his desire of self-improvement encouraged me.
I started my low-carb eating again around the time we started talking, but his dedication to the gym made me want to work harder.
I was like, if he is going to get really fit, I am not going to be the fatty standing next to him.
There were times when he would actually give me words of advice in regard to fitness, but it was normally just his existence in my life that pushed me to be better.
Dating a work in progress forces you to think about your own goals and make plans to achieve them.
No one wants to be the unambitious one in the relationship.
3. If your significant other likes you when you aren’t at your best, imagine what will happen when you are.
I know I am not at my best yet. I am amazing in many senses of the word, but I have a lot to improve on. I always think that if I could find a partner now who likes me for who I am, he will be in for a treat when I get even better.
And, if I can find someone who likes me for who I am, well he must be a keeper because he sees the good in me even where I don’t see it myself.
He sees the potential and knows that I am worth the wait. Why wouldn’t I want that man in my life?
4. Your significant other will see you as human.
The start of relationships are always artificial. Everyone is trying to be perfect.
Girls can’t show up anywhere without a perfect face of makeup and an outfit he will like.
Men pretend everything is all good, all the time because heaven forbid they show they have any emotions.
It’s a horrible game that gives the illusion that the other has his or her life together.
Dating someone when you are a work in progress helps drop the smoke and mirrors act and allows you to show the real you.
You can share when you have failed and since they are your biggest fans, they can help bring you back to where you should be.
The point is, people see you for who you really are: human. They know you are a work in progress and you don’t have to hide it.
The best part is they most likely will stop playing the “I have my life together” game because you aren’t playing.
When I was talking to this man, there was a day when he asked me how my workouts were going.
I could have played this game of having my life together, but I had just skipped two workouts and overeaten carbs.
I told him the truth, that I had been failing at my fitness. He told me it was fine, I could just pick up where I left off.
Being that he was his own work in progress, he knew what it meant to fall and need to get back up.
He didn’t like me any less because I failed. That is a beautiful thing.
5. Nobody is ever perfect.
Saying you do not want to be in a relationship because you are focused on yourself is like saying you believe there is a point where you are good enough.
There is a measurable goal that defines success in your mind. This is mindset I don’t believe in general.
If you get a new job, does that mean you will never strive to be better than that job?
If you build your muscles to the size you want, does that mean you will stop going to the gym? If you buy a house, are you set for life?
I have always lived my life believing that I am a constant work in progress. I am always focused on myself.
I have big goals in life and significant other or not, it won't stop me from reaching those goals.
At the same time, my desire to improve won't stop me from potentially dating someone who might be exactly what I need.
Dating and self-improvement cannot be two exclusive entities; they should work together to help create two extremely amazing people.
It is unfortunate that things did not work out between me and this man. I really did care for him, and still do now that we are just friends.
Many of my close friends think he is a jerk for continuing to see me when he knew I had feelings for him.
A conflict had to come up before he reiterated that he really did not want any relationship with me and cut me off.
But, it isn’t all his fault. I wanted something I couldn’t have; I heard what I wanted to.
I thought that my feelings for him good intentions would be enough for him to realize I like him as a work in progress.
And it wasn’t like I was trying to marry the man; just dating would have worked. But, as persuasive as I may be, I could not change his feelings about me.
Whether it really was his need to focus on himself or he just wasn’t interested in me, it didn’t matter because that isn’t my decision to make.
But, I do have my own opinion, and as a current work in progress myself, I want to tell all the people focusing on improving themselves that I encourage you to get back in the dating scene.
You might just find another work in progress who is looking for someone just like you.