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      The perfect man


A young, ambitious and adventurous girl is in a relationship with a boy 7 months younger than her. She believes he really is the perfect man for her. He is funny, kind, compassionate, clever, loves to cook (and is really good at it!), and is just weird enough that she can feel completely comfortable being weird around him too. He is learning her first language which is spoken by about 23 people and has no use whatsoever because all its speakers speak English anyway, but he’s doing it for her. Because of this effort that he puts in and his polite and graceful presence, all her family loves him and has practically already given him their blessing. He has ambition for his life, and his family is adorable.

He is the perfect man, except for the fact that they’re 22. They're not 30 and ready to get married and live in a house together with kids and a dog. She wishes she didn’t meet him until age 29, not to already have found him at 19. She wishes that now, during her twenties, she could have her fun and her experiences with weird quirky guys who are perhaps even more commitment-phobic than her, and she could travel around the world without having to feel bad about not Skyping or emailing regularly, be completely her own person and nobody else’s, and then, once she’s gotten that out of her system, she could find him and give him the stable happy family that she in fact also wants down the line. Just not yet. Not now. She’s twenty-two, for f’s sake.

Having said that, he has strong ambitions for his career too and definitely doesn’t want kids now. He just wants her, forever. And that’s the problem.

The other day, she was talking about finding herself a flat in London for when *hopefully* she gets a graduate job, and when she told him she wanted to experience living on her own or with friends instead of with her boyfriend, because she's only twenty-two, he seemed disappointed but said he understood. He said he would have loved to live rent-free in a South Ken flat with his rich girlfriend, but if she would rather live alone in a two-bedroom flat than have him live with her, he can rent a shoebox in Shoreditch and live off beans on toast… He’d be okay.

Several times during their relationship, whenever they have rows that are so serious that they almost break up, he tells her that if their romantic relationship were to end, that would be the end of their friendship too. It breaks her heart because she can’t imagine her life without him. Sometimes she tells herself that he can get over that, and that he’d rather be friends than nothing, but most times she admits that he’s probably telling the truth.


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