I would guess that everyone has one or two people in their lives who have potential to be the ideal mate but for one reason or another the romantic paths never converged long enough for anything to truly develop, leaving the individuals with pangs of what ifs and if onlys. As a person who still stupidly believes in “the one” I can allay these regretful thoughts with comforting platitudes about how if it was meant to be it, it would be. Still, I can’t help but wonder if there were risks one or both individuals were willing to take or if they possessed a stronger will to make it happen, it would.
Maybe the one who never quite got away possesses some untouchable, unicorn-like quality only because the relationship didn’t come to fruition. Perhaps if it had, the mystical luster would evanesce and the relationship would crumble, leaving the disjointed lovers in the same position they were before they started, but without the hopeful anticipation of what could have been. So is it best to always wonder about love that could have been if circumstances would allow, or to come crashing to the realization that the only reason the unrequited love lingered for so long is that you never got the opportunity to experience the person’s deal-breaking pit falls?
I guess in reality if both parties care about each other enough to form a relationship that is destined to last, circumstantial limitations, although challenging, would not be the deciding factor in the success of a relationship. In reality these missed opportunities may not be anything more than an unobtainable white whale who gives you some level of romantic purpose to prevent from being completely discouraged and disheartened during inevitable dry spells along the journey to the perfect love.
I’ve found that when I am in a happy relationship my white whale(s) seldom crosses my mind and I realize that my hopes of us ever making things happen parallel silly fairy tales designed to cultivate romantic ideals that are never realized in a world where practicality and sensibility hold far more weight than quixotic dreams of prince charming. However, as the relationship starts to head south and I find myself navigating the waters of singlehood, Moby-Dick resurfaces and stirs up the lingering delusions of happily ever after that I’ve built around him.
Perhaps it isn’t that this individual isn’t the perfect man so much as he is the perfect way to keep the faith.
Though in all likelihood the relationship may never become anything more than what it is, but until the perfect one comes along, it sustains my belief in love with the idea that if a few pieces fell into place, he could be the perfect one. Only time will tell if any of these possibilities could legitimately become a reality or if it’s best that they remain nothing more than a what if.
I don’t know that anyone else needs these possibilities to uphold their faith in romance, but I can’t imagine I’m completely alone in this. Relationships are messy and disheartening and I think idealized views of potential mates are the only thing that keep us in the game sometimes.