By Tracy Clifford
“We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. And it isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems—the ones that make you truly who you are—that we’re ready to find a lifelong mate. Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person—someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.”
I will find that special person who is wrong for me in just the right way.
Let our scars fall in love.”
― Galway Kinnell
I came across this passage today, and it struck me as both beautiful and true. Especially the part where Galway Kinnell says, “if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong.” I’m twenty six years old and I’ve never believed in soul mates or the idea of there being one “right” person for everyone. Maybe it’s because I’m a child of divorce, or just because my personality is too practical. It seems to me that life, and especially love, is a process of elimination. Through your experiences, you find out the things you don’t like and the parts of a person’s character that you can’t tolerate. You endure a few breakups. You learn from them. You let the knowledge you gained in those relationships arm you for the next ones.
But like Galway Kinnell says, we are all “wrong” in some way. I would like to think that I am kind, caring, loving and hardworking. I would like to believe that I am all the things my partner is looking for. But I am sure there are times when I’m not. I’m sure there are tough days when he feels I’m not exactly what he wants me to be. I know I feel that way about him at times. I’ve often felt that you are attracted to people who possess some quality that you lack. If you are too hard working, and too conscientious, you might find yourself attracted to someone less high strung. Someone who is not at all interested in the rat race. That type of person might enthrall you, especially in the early stages of love. The things that first attract you, later bother you, because you would never be “that way.”
As the author says, it takes many years to grow into your “wrongness.” To truly understand what your weaknesses are and how they affect not only you, but other people. How many times do you approach a prospective and current mate and say, “This is the problem I want to have.” I know for myself, I fight against the weaknesses in both myself and others. I refuse to accept what is wrong in my relationship. I want to find a solution at all costs. But I think Galway Kinnell’s overall point is that when you know yourself really well, you know when another person’s weakness truly compliments your own, in a way that doesn’t destroy the relationship, but nourishes it.
I do believe that our scars are what make us fall in love — especially when you fall deeply, passionately in love. You’ve found someone who makes that scar less visible, who has found a way to heal your wounds and hurts in a way no one has before.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on love. Do you think “there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong?” Tell us in the comments below. Thanks! Tracy
Be sure to order my new book “Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship.”