The process of seeking out a lifelong partner seems to be at least in equal measure the process of discovering, determining, and standing by your self-valuation. This can be especially difficult and painful for people who start out with low self-esteem, such as myself.
For a very long time nobody showed interest in me at all, and so I jumped at the first people who did. I knowingly disregarded red flags that no person who valued and respected themselves ever would, and it led to tragically predictable pain and heartbreak.
The process of ending a relationship the other person would like to continue, because you’ve outgrown them before you’ve even met, can be very difficult. The first time I did this took me weeks of mental preparation, consultation with friends, etc., The second time was quicker. The third time, quicker still. Not less painful perhaps, not really.
Over time, my standards and expectations for my partner rose to match what I perceived I could offer in a relationship (which still always trailed behind what I could actually offer), and this made the process all the more difficult, since the people I had to leave behind to find someone who was right for me were ever so closer to who I was looking for.
But there is no way to find a partner you can truly be happy with if out of desperation you compromise on your principles and disregard red flags to stop along the way for someone else.
Truly, seeking out a relationship is a test of endurance and fortitude like no other. And if in the end I fail, I will myself have become someone I can truly respect and be happy with.
After all, if I cannot be whole and at peace with myself, how can I expect someone else to accept and be at peace with me?