Recently, I had two very similar conversations with two girlfriends regarding their relationships. One has been with her boyfriend for almost two years while the other is barely four months into her relationship. What struck a chord in me was that both did not seem satisfied with what they had and yet, for various reasons, are not willing to look beyond the horizons for something that might make them feel more complete.
The first one reminds me of an article from the Washington Times that I had received in an email recently. The article talks of how some people in the world are “maximizers” – people who constantly look for the best in whatever they seek – and “satisficers”, who are those who seek the “good enough” options and not the best.
My friend is a satisficer. She loves her boyfriend, but not as much as she feels she should. She wonders if this is the best that she can have and if Mr. Right is actually out there waiting for her. Her current boyfriend adores her and for this reason alone, she is staying with him because, as she says, “having a man who loves you more than you love him is a safe choice”. She is tired of having to go out onto the circuit and getting burnt again. Hence, although she fears that she might be shortchanging him in terms of the amount of love that she can offer him, she is staying put.
The second one, on the other hand, feels that she cannot connect with her current boyfriend as well as she did with her previous beau. Her current, she says, can’t stimulate her intellectually and their conversations are often stilted and limited. She knows that comparisons are useless, afterall the previous let her down badly, and yet she cannot help but wonder if there are men who are better suited to her out there. In her case, she is sticking to her man because she would rather give it a shot first before condemning this relationship to the rubbish bin.
After hearing all these, it really makes me wonder: Why is the search for love so tedious? Is there really someone in this world for everyone? And does it mean that if we had thought that someone is Mr. Right but it didn’t work out, he was actually Mr. Wrong and the real Mr. Right is out there lurking somewhere?
In a way, I can empathise with my girlfriends. After going through all the s*** that the world has to offer you, sometimes all you need is a pair of loving arms to hold and comfort you. Even if that sounds selfish, you are willing to forego the endless search for Mr. Right because, afterall, there is already someone who is there for you in good times and bad. There really is nothing wrong with being “satisficers”, unless you cannot reconcile the psychological dissonance and are left constantly questioning “what if?”
Will we ever, then, be contented with what we have? Or will the choices in our lives make us question the value of what we have? Perhaps this columnist, writing in The Straits Times, got it right when he says that happiness is not about the better things that you can get in life but “the most efficacious way to gain happiness today is for people to focus on the present”.
Leave the future to unfold in the future and live in the present, is what I have learnt.
As for my girlfriends, should they decide to continue their search for Mr. Right, I will applaud their bravery to leave behind the comfort zone and do what they believe is right. And if they should remain committed to their partners, I support their efforts in keeping their relationships alive.