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Is There Really Such A Thing As A "Perfect Match"?

If you're waiting on the perfect one, this is just for you.

Love & Relationships

I'm somewhat of a pop culture head. I'm pretty sure that's why, whenever I hear the phrase, "perfect match", the first thing that comes to my mind—well, it might surprise you. Ready? It's the song from School Daze. Some of y'all might remember when Jane (Tisha Campbell) licked the scalp of Julian (Giancarlo Esposito) while the song, "Perfect Match" played in the background (couldn't find the actual movie footage but you can listen to the song itself here). Yeah, it's kinda one of those things that you can't un-see once you've seen it. Along these same lines, the next thing that usually comes to mind is the movie The Perfect Match starring Terrence J and Cassie. If you didn't catch it when it came out in 2016, basically the premise of it has something in common with the characters in School Daze—both couples idealized one another, so much, that they initially thought they were "perfect" for each other. Yet, once more layers started to get pulled back and reality started to really set in, they ended up having to accept that, when it came to being the so-called perfect couple, nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, I intro'd this point by referring to two fictionalized accounts. But y'all, in real life, I sit in counseling sessions all of the time that consist of two people who are either extremely disappointed or flat-out pissed off that their partner, the one who they initially thought was perfect for them, has turned out to be any and everything but. And because they are so hurt by that, almost to the point of believing they've been betrayed, they figure that the appropriate response is to the end of the relationship so that they can make room to find true perfection.

Hmph. I'm hoping that I don't need to tell you that anyone who's looking for the perfect person is going to be on that quest, for the rest of their life. But what about the ever-so-romantic—and I'm rolling my eyes, even as I'm typing this, by the way—phrase, "They might not be perfect, but they are perfect for me"? Is that worth looking for? Eh. It depends on how you look at the word "perfect".

And that's actually what we're going to dive into today—figuring out if there is such a thing as a perfect match when it comes to romantic relationships. Let's look deeper by addressing five main points.

Perfection Is Hella Overrated

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If you're out here looking for your perfect match, take a moment to ponder a particular definition of the word. To be perfect is to be "excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement". Aside from this being an impossibility for any human being (short of Christ himself), this definition alone is why I encourage people to desire a relationship that is healthy (functioning well), not perfect. Why? Because one of the most beautiful things about a healthy relationship is it consists of two people who are invested in helping the other to grow, evolve and mature into a better version of themselves. If the relationship was already "perfect", where would there be a need for any of this, since there is nothing that needs to be improved upon?

If that sounds absolutely crazy to you, let me try and approach it from another pop culture reference standpoint. Any of you who are old school Sex & the City fans will probably remember the episode when Carrie kept trying to create drama with Aiden when they first started dating (there's a clip of it here). Why was she being a relational drama queen? Because—get this—things were going too well for her (Carrie really was a pretty neurotic mess in hindsight, y'all). While that might sound dysfunctional AF (and it is), there are a lot of people who are a lot like this, just on a lower and more self-aware scale.

"This" in the sense that they don't want to be bored in their relationship. They want a few challenges. They look forward to a-ha moments and emotional roller coaster rides. Smooth sailing freaks them out. Perfection seems suffocating.

So yeah, let's start with one reason why a perfect match is a ridiculous notion is because most of us don't want something that doesn't require any improvement on some level. We merely want something that isn't toxic or counterproductive. And when it comes to that resolve, being in something that is healthy will suit us just fine. Next point.

Know What Else Perfection Is? SELFISH.

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Something that is needed, for any relationship to flourish, is maturity. And a part of what comes with being mature is having the kind of emotional intelligence that portrays a healthy level of empathy. When a person is empathetic, not only does it mean that they can identify with the thoughts and feelings of another person, but they are intentional about doing it. When someone expects perfection, whether it be from their partner or their relationship, it means that, whenever their partner makes a mistake (or sometimes even just a poor choice because that is not always or necessarily one and the same), the person leaves no room for forgiveness or even hearing their partner out because wanting perfection is wanting no room for improvement, remember?

Not only that, but desiring perfection means you are only caught up in what you expect rather than what the reality of something is. Well, that is until you are the individual who is needing the forgiveness, a listening ear or a shoulder of support.

Example. It's been more than a dozen times when I've helped a couple work through infidelity. The person who initially gets cheated on is always like "this is the unpardonable sin" (yeah, if you're a Christian, you don't want to get into how the Word says that husbands should love their wives like Christ loved the Church and the Church are people who are unfaithful to the godhead on a regular basis—Ephesians 5). But sometimes, I'm able to encourage the one on the receiving end of the cheating to stay, only for them to do the exact same thing later up the pike. Suddenly, when they are the offender, now there are explanations, justifications and the longing for compassion.

That's the thing about perfection. It can have you out here being so focused on how much it can benefit you that you don't realize the painful boomerang that it creates when you fail to meet perfection's expectations. And that's why I say that it's a selfish way of thinking. You're not always going to do things perfectly, so don't expect your partner to.

Perfection Is Also Fleeting, Temporary and Non-Committal

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Everyone's love journey is different. I'll be the first one to say that. But whenever a person tells me that they're considering marrying someone who they've only known for a short period of time (by that I mean, they met them in six months or less), I am always—and I do mean, always—encouraging them to pump their brakes. Now I will say that although some scientific research says that six months is all that it takes in order for a person to know if someone else is marriage material, and I've even written an article on here that says many think that 13 months is how long you should (seriously) date before getting married (check out "Experts Say You Should Date This Long Before Getting Married"), I really believe that all of this needs to have the disclaimer of it only applying if you previously knew the person before you actually got into a relationship with them.

While there are some of us who reveal a lot of who we are (perhaps too much; that's what my peeps tell me about myself—LOL), straight outta the gate, more folks lean towards only revealing their good side, for at least 3-4 months or so. Some call that side a person's representative. And so, if that's all that you know, it can be very easy to think someone is perfect for you, when all that they're showing is, well, perfection. Then, you jump fully in—only to find out about a year later that they've got all kinds of bullshishery going on. Not necessarily vile, dangerous or even "bad" stuff; just things that don't complement you well or things that you don't want to deal with long-term. I actually have someone close to me who is going through the regret of marrying their partner in under two years, realizing that they didn't really know them very well at all.

That's why I say that, when it comes to romantic relationships, more times than not, if two people claim they are with someone who is perfect, they are also signing themselves up for a situation that is gonna have a shorter expiration date than what they actually bargained for or emotionally prepared for. Because until "the representative" goes away, oftentimes all you're seeing is a grand illusion. And once that bubble pops and reality sets in, it can cause you to see that you wanted someone…totally different.

Besides, Two Imperfect People Cannot Create a Perfect Match

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I'm just gonna go ahead and put it out there. A lot of people are relational hypocrites. What I mean by that is, they want the kind of partner that they themselves are not. As I said earlier, this reveals itself, most often, in those who seem to think they should be forgiven for all of the things they do wrong while they tend to take on the "one and done" approach when their partner messes up. I really do say it all of the time in my sessions—if you're not good at forgiving others, you're someone who doesn't need to be in a relationship because, the reality—no matter how ugly, uncomfortable or not preferred it might be—is no one is perfect and everyone ends up disappointing us, at one point or another. That said, you're not perfect, by any stretch, so it would be ridiculous for your partner to expect you to be that way. By the same token, why would you put that kind of "perfection pressure" on him?

A healthy and thriving relationship isn't about looking for someone who is perfect. Emotional intelligence and maturity teach us that it's more about looking for the kind of person whose strengths serve to be a good complement for us and whose weaknesses are ones that we can truly handle.

I will die on the hill that, a perfect match leans on the side of being totally ridiculous because, how does that even happen when the two folks in the relationship aren't perfect themselves? Since they need to consistently improve, how could the connection not require the same mercy and grace? Anyone who declares they are a "perfect match" should revisit the word "perfect" often. Because again, if you are professing that your relationship cannot stand to improve, you are just fooling yourself. Everything and everyone needs improvement. That's not a bad thing. That's just the truth.

A Wonderful Complement Is a Far More Realistic Goal

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Now that perfection has been broken down, all the way to the floor, does that mean that absolutely beautiful examples of love don't exist? I am absolutely NOT saying that. I know some people who, while I don't refer to them as being a "perfect match", it is extremely evident that they complement each other exceptionally well. I'll even go so far as to call them "soulmates" because I don't romanticize that term.

The Hebrew word for soulmate is "beshert" which translates into meaning things like "destined", "inevitable" or "meant to be". And yes, some people, I believe, when they allow God to lead them in their lives, they are brought to the mate who best suits them. That doesn't mean their soulmate is their perfect match, though. Actually, from the way I see it, it means God has brought them to someone who will best improve them as they do the same for their partner. A soulmate or bashert is about an amazing complement (check out "If He's Right For You, He Will COMPLEMENT Your Life") NOT a perfect match.

So, while this might've burst some Disney and chick flick bubbles, I actually think that is a good thing. Perfection may be a goal, but, at the end of the day, it's an impossible one. Don't waste your very precious time looking for a man who is perfect when you aren't. Open yourself up to the possibility of connecting with someone who is good, who is holistically healthy, who strives for improvement and will complement you best. That guy? He's better than perfection because that guy…is real.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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