Fully Evolved? Or Evolving?

Do we really want a fully evolved man?

Or a man who can evolve?

In a recent post-break-up pow-wow with one of my besties, we found ourselves rehashing all of the times he hurt her, didn’t show up for her, or frankly (through the eyes of a best friend) didn’t quite measure up.

And it got me thinking about the term “measure up”

We all have checklists that we measure our partners against. They need to be:

  • Kind
  • Good looking
  • Smart
  • Funny
  • Ambitious
  • Thoughtful
  • Adventurous

After spending a good hour examining her ex-boyfriend's apparent shortcomings against her laundry list of “desired partner traits”, my friend came to the following conclusion, “He was just a boy – I need a full-evolved man”.

Most of us want our partners to come neatly packaged and “fully-evolved”. We've been led to believe that somewhere out there “the one” is waiting for us - a soulmate, the yin to our yang, the missing puzzle piece - a perfectly formed match that will slot right into our lives, our families and our long-term plans.

This belief, that we have a perfectly formed match out there, has a lot to answer for. Not only does it seriously limit our dating pool, it makes us question and doubt the relationships that we’re in.

When the ‘niggling’ arises (as it does in all relationships), we second-guess our partners. We start thinking; “Maybe there’s something wrong… maybe they’re not the one?” Better yet, we start cross-checking the missing traits to our desirable laundry list, often coming to the conclusion that they’re not kind enough, fun enough, thoughtful enough etc.

Sure, the qualities and traits that people come into a relationship matter. But do they matter as much as someone’s willingness to change, grow… even evolve?

I’ve certainly dated, and seen friends date, people who are “perfect” on paper but who lack the impetus to adjust, adapt or compromise. In these cases, the list of qualities that the person ticks off at the beginning of the relationship matter a lot, because frankly, what you see is probably what you’re going to get. If they aren’t good listeners… they probably won’t become good listeners, if they're not affectionate… they probably won’t become affectionate. 

And yet, if we look closely, even seemingly perfect couples rarely slot right into each other’s lives without a little niggling, jostling and negotiation.

In fact, it’s often through the process of compromise and accommodation that we feel valued and connected in our relationships. When we take on board each other’s feedback, make sacrifices or adjust ourselves for the sake of the other – we build something together.

So perhaps we’ve got it around the wrong way…

Perhaps the question shouldn’t be are they “fully evolved”, but rather are they willing to evolve?