Optimization is Hard

Today I came to the realization that optimization is hard.  The desire to make every aspect of your life as amazing as possible is not hard to ignite, but taking the actual steps to do so? Brutal.

I’ve come to this realization because of the conversation I had this morning with the guy I’ve been seeing for the past four months.  We had briefly discussed where our relationship was going (or wasn’t) last weekend, and I wanted some clarification.  This was not easy for me to bring up again since his conversation had previously leaned towards staying uncommitted.  I expressed that I did not want to waste my time simply “hanging out” every weekend if it wasn’t going to go anywhere, and he expressed that he felt that he was too young to settle down.  Which, of course, leaves us at an impasse.

This has forced me to sit down and think about what I actually want out of a relationship.  What are the things that, for me, make an optimal partnership?

I want to be secure in the knowledge that I am someone’s first and only choice, not just an option, because they will be my first and only choice.  I want someone who can love the goofy side of me, the serious side of me, the emotional side of me, and all other sides that choose to surface.  I want someone who I can be proud to show off to my friends and family.  I want someone who is unselfish with their time and affection.  I want someone who will support me in everything that I want to accomplish, and who will share in my excitement over things both monumental and inconsequential.  I want someone that I can walk demurely down the street with but pounce on the second the door is closed.  I want someone I can bare my soul to because I know that he will show it respect and understanding.

There are so many things I want out of a relationship.  And I know that listing even just that small number of criteria might make me seem stuck-up or demanding.  However, I feel that I deserve those things because I know what I bring to the table.

I am the girl who will support your dreams unconditionally while still offering a critical eye when needed.  I am the girl who will wake up in the middle of the night to pick you up at the airport if you need me to.  I am the girl who will cook you breakfast and pack you a lunch with a note slipped in the paper bag.  I am the girl who will clean your apartment one day out of the blue just because I know it will make you smile.

For me, doing all of those things for the person that I love is easy and it makes me happy.  And what made this morning’s conversation suck so much was that fact that there are so many parts about this guy that fit into my optimal partnership.  He makes me laugh, is SO affectionate, makes me feel like the sexiest woman alive, and can carry on a serious conversation for hours.

And yet.

There are things that are NOT optimal.  Which brings us to the question: what is the line between compromise and settling?  Choosing to have an optimal partnership requires you to have healthy compromises.  If you are simply settling for someone because they are “not all bad” or “better than the last one” or “I don’t want to upset the status quo” then you are selling yourself short of what you deserve in a relationship.

Optimization is hard because it requires you to not settle.  It requires you to take a stand for what you want and actually take steps to attain it.

For me, it would be so easy to keep things going the way they are.  I love hanging out with him and the way that he makes me feel.  It’s been so fun to have a secret little thrill when his name pops up on my phone and to have a go-to plan every weekend.


Right now, our relationship is not optimal.  If I were to continue to hang out with him and not actually expect a commitment from him, this would be a compromise for me that crosses the line into settling.  I know that in the long run, I’ll be miserable.

And so, with full commitment to the Optimization Operation, I have to let him go.

Which sucks.

I hope that if you are reading this, you have found someone who meets your optimal relationship goals. And if not, I hope you know what you’re worth and refuse to settle for less.

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