During my younger adult life, I always wondered, and of course hoped that I would meet the perfect man. For so long, and even during my first marriage, I would often hope that my partner would be more ideal, more of the picture I had in my head of what a perfect man should be.
It took a long time, and some failed relationships, for me not to just accept, but to accept gracefully, that there was no perfect man. The ideal only existed in my head. Not only did I accept this, I actually started to question my role in the quest for the ideal.
After some painful and embarrassing reflection, I saw in multiple instances in my past where I would have been the catalyst for deriving somewhat tarnished behaviour from my partner. Things, for which I would have blamed them, could have occurred so differently, and possibly more ideal, if I had behaved differently, if I had reacted better, if I had been more constructive and less destructive.
Being single helped me to discover and uncover different and new truths about myself. I realised that instead of concentrating on meeting or being with the ideal man, I should work on being the ideal woman…the ideal me. The woman I had become was not the woman I wanted to be or was meant to be. She wasn’t necessarily the woman I always even liked.
The mistake I made and the bad habits I had gotten into were at dear prices. The battles I thought I won along the way were not even worth it. Therefore, the onus was now on me to improve who I was as a person, and then as a partner.
I did the work I felt I could have done, given everything I was dealing with, and I finally felt like I have made some improvements. What I realised as a result of all of this self-realisation and self-reflection, is that being a better mate tended to bring out the best in your partner.
I am recently re-married to an amazing man. He used to ask me, I believe jokingly, how come I’m so perfect. It is a question that quietly and repeatedly embarrasses me, knowing how many mistakes I have made in the past, and how many I am probably destined to still make.
But recently, soon after our marriage, I realised something new…Yes, I may have tried to make improvements in who I am and who I want to be and who I no longer want to be, but that may not necessarily be the sole reason for who I am to him.
Being a better partner has come from being with an amazing partner. When you are with someone who trusts you, you become more trustworthy; when you are with someone who respects you, you give respect freely; when you are with someone who puts your needs first, it is effortless to put their happiness first…and the list goes on.
If we all try to be good mates, we can only hope that those with whom we share our lives are moved to do the same. There are no guarantees of this result, but it’s our best plan.
So to answer to my husband’s question is simple….I am by no means perfect….but you truly bring out the best in me.