If David and I weren’t dating, we wouldn’t be friends. Our personalities don’t mesh as friends. We have different interests, we enjoy different activities, we have different perspectives on things. But in spite of all this, we mesh so well as partners.
One day in Korean class, 선생님 asked us what was most important to us in finding a partner. Everyone gave the typical slew of “personality,” “education,” “looks” answers. As we added those words to our limited vocabularies, she wrote a new word on the board: 가치관. She loosely translated it to “values” and went on to elaborate that there is another level to relationships that really makes them stick. You could like the same bands and the same bars and complete each other’s sentences, but if your values are misaligned, you wouldn’t work out. You couldn’t work out. You have to want the same things, believe in the same things, be going down the same path.
David caught me at the right place and right time. If we had met anytime earlier than we did, I wouldn’t have given myself to him. Even though I had constantly wished for a boyfriend, I was never ready for one. There was always still more I wanted to do for myself, and just myself. I wasn’t ready to stop being selfish yet. And he wasn’t ready for me either. Any time earlier, I would’ve caught him taken, in a once-a-monthly sexual, mediocre relationship, and then lost, trying to get over the loss of the other half he had attached himself to for a year. I’m a very impulsive person, and I rely too much on my instincts to be swayed otherwise. If I had met David any time earlier, during any of these times, my immediate instincts would not open my heart to him at all. I would’ve found him physically attractive but nothing more.
But we didn’t meet earlier. We met at the perfect time. I had finished fooling around with the world, with random boys, with random interests and was finally ready to settle down, with graduation and the real world looming. And he had gotten over his ex and was ready to open his heart again because he lives to care, to love.
I’m scared though. I’m scared that even though our values are the same, they might not be in the same place. Whenever we get to talking about the future, all signs point to him staying in the Midwest where he grew up and leading a normal, stable life, but even before that, going to dental school nowhere near New York City. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to find a job in television, in New York City, where it is the complete opposite of normal and stable. This is what I want now, even though in the future, I do want the normal, stable, suburban family life outside of New York. But I don’t know where and how all of my wants right now factor into my future. David’s current path is definitively going toward the future he wants. My destination, on the other hand, is the same as his, but I’m going the opposite direction. I just want to be able to satisfy my whims until I’m ready to turn back around on my own. I’m scared though that he’ll just go on ahead of me, without me.
I love him. I love him so much. It never occurs to me that we have nothing in common because we just love each other. Isn’t that the only thing we need to have in common? But that’s why I’m scared, because our values are there, we both want the same things, but I’m the one who might eventually fuck this up because maybe I’m not quite there yet on the whole figuring-myself-out thing.
I told David that if we broke up, I don’t think we would stay friends because we would have nothing to talk about. There were no external experiences we would share, so we would never even cross paths. We would never be in each other’s lives again.
To this, he replied, “Then let’s just never break up.”