The Exception

We watched a romcom over the weekend based on a dating/relationship book that sprung from a cutesy (but very true) line on an episode of Sex and The City, which I never saw. Based on the rather roundabout route the idea for this movie took from conception to the big screen, the likelihood of it being anything more than a time suck that steals hours from one’s life was rather small, and the premise itself ensured that it would be more sadly true than funny. But I found a few things worth pondering hidden between the painful reminders of what it is like to be single/unmarried when you would rather not be.

1) That the idea of soulmates should not be taught to our children – our daughters especially. One of the story lines followed a young woman determinedly pursuing a married man based on the faulty  idea that one can simply find the person you were meant to be with (who means for this to be is never made clear or even discussed) via chance and regardless of whether this person is already in a relationship, the universe will bend to your greater destiny.

This is, of course, bullshit. Sure, the characters (and probably you too) can recite anecdotal stories of two people meeting while married/committed to others, running off and living happily ever after for decades together. But as a male character points out at one point in the movie – they are exceptions in a world where nearly everyone is always the rule.

2) Which brings me to the “rules”. We allow our teens and young adults to teach each other how to date/mate, and most of what they have to say to each other is wrong and reinforces nonsense and fantasy.

3) Living together is not the path to marriage for most couples and there are very few couples who forego marriage completely who go on to live out their days together (and please don’t remind me of the handful of rather public figures who buck this trend – they are exceptions and most people are rules. In your real life, how many common-law couples of decades do you know? I know three and two are same-sex and don’t have the marriage option – they would be married if they did.)

4) The reason most people are single is that they believe the chase has something to do with love. It doesn’t. If it’s love, there is no chase. Or they confuse what the movie calls “the spark” with real feelings.

5) If someone is “into you”, they are always available, kind, concerned and interested. They are never too busy. They call back, show up and generally can’t see or hear from you enough. That’s actually what being the “exception” is. It’s too bad that it’s so difficult for so many to understand that being this kind of “exception” is better.

This is what I have learned:

  • Know what you want.
  • Ask for it.
  • Walk away when you don’t get it.
  • Trust that in doing so you are opening yourself for someone who gets you as you are.

You can be the “exception” if you remember that the “rules” as played by most people are not interested in promoting long-lasting, healthy relationships.

2 responses to “The Exception

  1. you’ve nicely captured why i generally recoil from the Rom-Com genre… it sets expectations that are unrealistic, and by which we want to ground our personal relationships. had a friend give me a book “The Rules” when i got divorced. It repulsed me, and may have been the primary reason i didn’t date for quite awhile after the divorce. If people were playing by those rules? Not gonna be my kind of game…

    But your observations? Dead on target, lady! That first one – “know what you want”? Very challenging, and takes some time. But that’s the foundation. i’d rather die alone than settle for less. It’s a no brainer for me…

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