Many people think it’s perfectly normal to make all these fantasies about what kind of person they want to marry and what qualities they must have. She needs to be a cat-lover. He has to be a great cook. She needs to love football. He has to have the same taste in music. She needs to love video games. He needs to be like Mr. Darcy. She needs to be perfect. He needs to be perfect. But isn’t this a little unfair? This probably isn’t even fair at all. She can’t be perfect. He can’t be perfect. In fact, nobody can.
When you ramble about your ideal lover, who are you really describing anyway? Maybe you aren’t sure that you’ll ever meet that person at all, but you continue to hold on to that tiny ounce of hope that he or she is out there somewhere, dreaming about you the same way. Nevertheless, you are trying to describe someone–a person. However, this kind of characterization that happens in the minds of many, in the lazy lunchtime chatter, and in the glossy pages of Cosmopolitan is much more than a mere description of qualities. Beyond this, what’s deeply unnerving is that the tendency of most people who continue to hold so high a sheer notion of an “ideal lover” is to impose. They impose on their “ideal lovers” how they should dress, what job they need to have, what hobbies to enjoy, even to the extent of how to look–which is something no one can even choose or control. An even more daunting thought is that most people don’t even realize that they’re not just harming themselves through their own deceptions. They unknowingly tread upon the personhood of others by underhandedly forcing their own self-interested ideas upon them.
“And what about simply setting standards for yourself?”, many of you would protest. That’s a fair point. There is no doubt that you and I would surely like to be married to a good husband or a good wife. Perhaps we’ve simply set those “standards”, no matter how rigid or demanding, to assure a good marriage and a good life, right? But has anyone ever stopped and considered if these “standards” have any real moral or ethical bearing on who should be considered a good husband, good wife, or even just a good person; because isn’t that plainly what we’re all looking for? Just a good person to spend the rest of our lives with?
You see, we shouldn’t fall in love with just the mere qualities or characteristics we want in the people we choose to love. In that case, we’d be falling in love not with a person, but with nothing more than an idea. Rather, when we love, we must never forget an important thing that allows us to love other people in the first place: Freedom. It is not only careless, but, even more so, dangerous to fashion for oneself an “ideal lover” in mind because it is crucial to respect the freedom of the people we love and most especially of those whose love we hope to receive. So what if she’s a dog-lover? If he’s lost in the kitchen? If she doesn’t like sports? If he only listens to showtunes? If she hates ‘Fallout’? Or if he’s more like Mr. Collins? She’s not perfect. He’s not perfect. And that’s completely fine. The perceived imperfections a man and a woman see in one another give ground to an even truer love–for authentic love is one that is free and not tied down to trivialities like individual inclinations and personal preferences. When we begin to respect the freedom of the persons we choose to love, that’s when we discover what true ideal love is. Only then do we truly become ideal lovers for other people.