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That Special Someone-Or-Other

I have been seeing a guy for about six weeks. Things started out strangely because we met on a night when my then-boyfriend stood me up. We got along wonderfully, and I dumped the stand me-upper. Things progressed rapidly. Right away, he wanted to be exclusive. Then, he wanted me to move to another city with him. Finally, he said he loved me and wanted to marry me. Well, he and I spent part of this past weekend at a friend’s wedding, where he proceeded to tell me that he couldn’t see himself getting married for a while, that he wasn’t mature enough to be married, etc. I got the hint. The thing is, I haven’t heard from him since the wedding. This is strange, because we had been talking or seeing each other every day. A mutual friend told me that he said we were spending too much time together, and he wasn’t really ready for a girlfriend anyway. How does someone go from “I love you” on Saturday to not wanting you by Wednesday?

--Loved And Left

Him: “Hi, I know you’re a complete stranger, but I think we should spend the rest of our lives together.”

You to your friends: “I think what’s-his-name’s ‘The One!’”

This was the relationship version of anonymous sex. You probably prefer the term “love at first sight.” Unfortunately, there’s no such thing, since you have to know somebody to love them. This doesn’t stop smug couples at dinner parties from staring into each other’s eyes and announcing, “We just KNEW.” (Cue stampede to the vomitorium.) They “knew” nothing. Their collective hormones started doing the Mexican Hat Dance, and they got dragged along. They just happened to get lucky in getting lucky: falling madly in bed with somebody they could fall madly in love with, who also happened to be ready for a relationship. You really can’t blame them for calling this “love at first sight,” which makes them sound adventuresome, as opposed to “two people who know nothing about each other rushing into a relationship,” which makes them sound like idiots.

If only couples would brag, “After we each wandered the desert for 40 years, hacking away at our massive character flaws, we felt ready for a little company. Upon careful consideration, we thought we could probably spend a few years together without ruining each other’s lives.”

That approach does require a lot of work. It’s much easier to go with the notion that love is “the answer.” To everything. From hairy backs and high interest rates to ear mites, visible panty lines, and a spastic colon. Supposedly, no matter what’s wrong in your life, love (not back wax, credit counseling, or proctology) “is all you need.” Great in concept. In practice, it’s kind of like trying to close up an open-heart surgery incision with a single Bugs Bunny Band-Aid.

For best results, husband-hunting should not be conducted according to the rules of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. It is tempting, when somebody tells you you’re “all that,” to take them at their word, not ask them, “All that what, exactly?” It’s especially tempting if you’re somebody (like you or this guy, perhaps?) who’s looking for somebody else’s love to “complete” them. You know what? If you’re incomplete, do yourself and the rest of us a favor: Stay home and hunt for the missing pieces instead of trying to foist those you’ve got onto somebody else.

Copyright ©2003, Amy Alkon, from her syndicated column, "The Advice Goddess," which appears in over 100 papers across the U.S. and Canada. All rights reserved.