As passionate and sexually charged my marriage was, my relationship that came after was safe, comforting and well, boring. We were matched on a very popular dating website, not the one where you have millions of questions to answer, but one that yes, you must pay for. He lived about 1.5 hours from me so we talked a lot at first and our conversations were, okay, pretty much middle of the road stuff. So after weeks of talking and getting to know each other what would any respectable woman do? Invite him to come stay for the weekend. There was a comfort level, yes that word again, and an ease about him. Even though he stayed over there was no sex involved and it didn’t happen for quite a long time. Safe Choice was the nice guy, the shy guy, the one who writes love letters, makes you CDs of love songs (back in the day), leaves love notes in your lunch bag and has no problem opening the car door for you. He treated me like a queen. The living distance between us did not become an issue because he had the luxury of working seven days straight and then having seven days off. One of the perks of being in the medical field. Needless to say we spent a lot of time together and after about two years he transferred jobs and moved in with me.
Safe Choice was perfect in every way except for one. I wasn’t truly attracted to him. We were polar opposites but not in a way that you could bridge the gap or was interesting. I loved him dearly and appreciated him for everything he did for me, but physically I wasn’t attracted to him. I know, I know, some people live very happily in sexless marriages but not this girl. I like it, I want it, but I have to want it with someone I am attracted to and no matter how much I tried to convince myself I couldn’t. He was also extremely shy and I am well, let’s just say, very, very outgoing. I’m not looking down at being shy, but living with a true introvert is not easy for someone who likes to socialize and he would cling to me at any type of social gathering, something which I found to be a burden. But he was so sweet and thoughtful and I let that overrule any negative thoughts I was having. I was settling.
We spent six years together. He proposed after four and I accepted. I kept putting off getting married, and I think Safe Choice knew all along I wasn’t into him. He told me I broke his heart. He wanted me and would do anything for me, but I couldn’t love him back. This was the only time in a relationship I actually admit that I settled. I settled for the comfort and the reliability. In the end he actually pulled the plug on the relationship. I was devastated, lost twenty pounds from stress and cried more than I ever thought I would. Two months after our breakup I experienced another huge loss, the true love of my life had to be put down. My beloved beagle. I adopted him as a senior and he was with me through my divorce and breakups. Safe Choice loved him too and was with me the day we had to say goodbye. Yes, he was that type of guy. That summer we talked a lot, but we just couldn’t make it work. Sadly, I realized I had no interest in making it work.
The most valuable lesson I learned was to not settle, whether in relationships, career, even friendships. Being comfortable and protected in a relationship is important, but so is attraction. Yes looks fade, but you have to want to physically be with that person. I know love ebbs and flows, but if it really isn’t there in the first place that is a huge red flag. You can’t force it and as sad as I was when we broke up, I regret making him feel unwanted for so long. But I am also thankful that we never got married and that I did not, ultimately settle.