I was sitting at the dinner table with my family the other day when they decided to start probing me for what seemed like hours about why I don't have a boyfriend.
“I'm just not ready, OK?” I exclaimed, slamming my fork down onto the perfectly positioned placemat. And then off I went, quoting a laundry list of reasons why I feel as though I'm not ready to entertain another human in my life romantically: I can't cook! I don't have high self-esteem! I'm emotionally unavailable! And c'mon, I can barely take care of the goddamn plants on my windowsill, let alone commit to something.
I stood firmly by my poorly executed word vomit of rationalizations. In that moment, I truly believed that I wasn't ready for a serious relationship because I am filled to the brim with flaws.
My former f*ck buddy and I are no longer having sex. In short, we're not having sex because I wanted him to man up and lock things down with me, but he wouldn't. He said he wasn't "ready."
And I believed him. In the year that I knew him, I watched him get too drunk, lose his phone, stumble around streets and get yelled at by police officers, leave his credit card at some bar, lose ANOTHER phone and haphazardly tell me he wants to be with me before later taking back the words.
He's definitely not ready to be with someone, I thought, as I watched his immature ass try and fail miserably to get his sh*t together. I mean, how could he possibly be ready to take me on if he can barely take care of himself?
But his propensity to lose sh*t didn't make him not ready to be in a relationship. It just made him … clumsy. Careless. Oblivious. How many clumsy, careless, oblivious people do you know who are in relationships? Yeah, I know. A lot of people.
I deluded myself into thinking it was his lack of readiness that was keeping us apart. But it wasn't. It was the fact that I wasn't the right girl for him, which means he must not have been the right guy for me, despite my once-firm conviction that he was.
It wasn't until my f*ck buddy told me he wasn't "ready" that I began to realize a universal truth.
People always make room for the things they love.
I'm a hot mess of a person, but if he'd seriously wanted to be with me, I wouldn't have wasted a split second thinking about whether I was "ready." I'd have picked him up, carried him home and squeezed him into my awkward, scatterbrained, semi-pathetic-yet-beautifully-f*cked-up life.
There is no such thing as being “ready” for a relationship. No one is ever ready to fall in love.
In our own way, we are each imperfect humans, bound to couple up with someone just as perfectly imperfect as us. If it weren't supposed to be that way, then it wouldn't be called "falling" in love. It would be called, like, "preparing" for love.
Despite what you think, the couples you know in happy relationships weren't ready when they met each other. You know why? Because you're ready when you meet the right person for you. When you meet him, none of your imperfections or insecurities or incompetence as a human being will matter, and neither will his. The excuses you've been making for yourself in defense of being single will fly out the window.
Maybe we make excuses because it's easy. Hell, it's definitely easier to say "I'm not ready for a relationship" than it is to say "I have bad luck" or "Boys think I'm ugly" or "I don't have time to date because I'm a workaholic." I'm guilty of firing back with "I'm not ready," when deep down, I know the real reason I'm single is because I simply haven't met the guy I'm meant to be with. (But oh, am I waiting). Time has yet to sync up with luck.
Still, I know that when I do eventually meet him, I won't be ready. I'll still be struggling with a lot of the self-destructive damage I've been struggling with for years. We are all works-in-progress. We never stop being works-in-progress, and we can grow alongside someone else.
Of course, we can f*ck up alongside someone else, too. A healthy relationship isn't a cure-all for all the pesky problems that you're secretly hoping will vanish once you've met your prince. I'm hoping coming to terms with the fact that I'll never be ready will change the way I approach dating for the better. Hopefully it will for you, too.
The next time my aunt pesters me about why I'm single to the point where I'm throwing utensils, I'm not going to tell her it's because I'm not ready. No, I won't sell myself short like that.
I'll tell her I simply haven't met the right person yet, and that if I could fast forward time, then I would.