I was at a dinner for a friend’s birthday with a group of her good girlfriends the other day and the conversation turned interesting very quickly. We discussed a number of things, but the most interesting of all was a comment made by one of the ladies. Let’s call her Mbali. Mbali was dating a married man and emphasized countless times that she was the happiest she had ever been. Oh really now?
When we tried to get to the bottom of why such a beautiful, young woman would be content settling for being second best, she said something that I could certainly relate to. She said with him she felt under no pressure to have it all together. You see, like many of us, Mbali was not where she wanted to be in life and for the first time in a long time she had met someone who did not judge her for it.
Why women knowingly date married men is a discussion for another day. What I am interested in unpacking is our need to have it all together before we take the next step. When the reality is no one has it all together and few have achieved everything they have ever wanted. Yet we still hold back, preferring not to date, get married, have children, start that business because things are not perfectly lined up yet. In the case of dating, it is difficult to put yourself out there when you feel like you’re lacking in some way.
So when Mbali expressed that she felt accepted, the judgment I felt initially was replaced with empathy. I don’t condone what she’s doing and I strongly believe she could find a single guy who accepts her, but I do understand that aching need that we all have for acceptance. We’ll go to the dingiest, darkest corners to find it.
The truth is everybody has issues and try as we might hide them they show up in one way or another. The danger is in thinking that we need to get rid of all our issues in order to have a happy life. Mbali has convinced herself that an available guy would not want her so she’s sought solace in the arms of a man who is committed to someone else. So let’s not settle for mediocrity because we believe that we don’t deserve anything better. In life, you get what you think you deserve.
Picture: CAIQUE SILVA/UNSPLASH