They say you should never meet your heroes. That should probably also extend to cover dating your crushes. I’ve recently had a few dates with someone I first met two decades ago and who has carried a little torch for me ever since.
I am sure that with every interaction the image he’s built up of me over the last twenty years is slowly but surely being eroded, and the pedestal I was unwittingly on is being chipped away. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; from my perspective anyway.
I’m a fiercely independent, healthily quizzical (some might say cynical…) realist with an established sense of self. I am also not the same person I was in my late 20s when we originally met and I suspect this may be something of a revelation. Who could live up to the pressure of an idealised version of themselves though? Indeed, to quote F Scott Fitzgerald, There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams — not through her own fault, but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion.
But perhaps I’m being unfair. I’m not used to being the object of someone’s affection in this way; never before been someone’s muse and I think this makes me extra sensitive to reactions and responses; not the best combination with my already over-analytical brain. I know that usually I am a bit of an acquired taste, and am well aware of my own feet of clay, so I struggle with someone just liking me regardless.
Within my friendship group there are some very healthy relationships with couples finding the path to bring out the best in each other – the whole definitely being more than the sum of the parts. That’s the synergy I hope to find for myself in my next serious relationship. Perhaps I am also guilty of pedestalling (I’d hesitate to label it as self-sabotaging) and comparing each of my relationships to an ideal that no-one will be able to match.
I’m not one for making New Year resolutions, but I probably need to be a bit more open minded this year in my romantic escapades to prevent repeating previous mistakes or unfair judgments. While thinking about this piece I have had the last paragraph of The Great Gatsby buzzing around my head so will finish with that. With Jay Gatsby’s long-nurtured, obsessive love for Daisy Buchanan being pivotal to the plot, it’s not entirely unrelated.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further… And one fine morning —–
And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
F Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby