Hi, I’m Philippa Perry. What’s troubling you? (Caller) Hi, I’m recently out of a relationship that was, on the face of it, really, really good but not quite right for me. I understand that the relationship is best finished, and that’s great, and I have met somebody else.
I’m not sure whether it’s too soon or not, but I’m trying to make headway with this girl that I’ve met. She’s really, really nice. She’s a little bit younger than me, she’s seven years younger. She’s pretty much, when I look at her, an ideal woman.
She looks stunning, she seems a really caring kind of person, she’s got a young son and I’ve met him. He’s a cracking little fella. The only issue I do have though is that I feel that she’s got a lot of insecurities and I think it could be a real big falling point for us.
I myself have insecurities and I think the two of us together could be quite difficult to manage in the long term. I want to try and find a way forward but I don’t quite know how to do it, so I’d love a little bit of advice.
(Philippa) Thanks for phoning in because I’m so glad you’ve given me the chance to talk about this. I’m worried that dating is becoming less like fun, and more like a job interview. You’ve recently split up with someone who wasn’t quite right for you.
No one is quite right for anyone. Relationships don’t work like that. It’s not shopping, where we go browsing for stunning looks or ready-made, cracking little families. No. And why isn’t it shopping? It’s because no human beings are fixed entities.
We impact upon each other and we both change in the process. When we first meet someone, those feelings of obsession and excitement are mostly based on projections and pheromones and fantasy. The real business of relationships happen when we begin to influence each other.
This is when two oddly-shaped pieces begin to morph so that they fit together. This is when real attachment starts. You’ve found someone who you describe as insecure. If this means “needing reassurance”, why not give it? And if you need that too, why not ask for it? Perhaps you’re both looking for a substitute parent in a partner.
And you know what? That’s what we all look for in a partner; someone with whom we can learn to feel safe. Note that I said “can learn”. No, no one will ever be quite right for you because perfection, which is what it sounds like you’re looking for, isn’t love.
But if you take the risk of throwing out your ambiguity, and committing yourself to loving someone, imperfect as you both are, you may find that it works the other way around, and that love is perfection.