Monday, April 15, 2013

Of Luck and Chemistry

In Guys and Dolls, one of my all-time favorite movies, music, and shows, Sky Masterson, the main character describes how he'll "know when [his] love comes along." He states, "[My love] will come as a surprise to me, mine I leave to chance and chemistry." Sarah, the other lead character says, "Chemistry?" "Yeah, chemistry."

One of my qualifications for being jealous of a couple is how they look in pictures. Since I have been with a lot of guys who hate being in pictures, I was thrilled when Hank was so willing to have his picture taken with me. That's what I get for dating a 40 year old man instead of a 30 year old child. Get over it, You-Know-Who-You-Are.

So my Facebook account holds over 1,000 pictures, many of me with Hank, of us looking blissfully happy-which we are.

A friend commented the other day on one of our wedding pictures, that we are lucky. He has posted similar comments in family pictures and pictures of our adorable boys. Facebook is a dangerous place to draw assumptions, which you probably know. However, he is right. We are happy.

So, are we really just lucky? I like to think we have made decisions that have lead to the happy consequence of being happy. When are we getting lucky (in a non-sexual way) in relationships? I have been co-dependent, a girl who likes to sulk, and make my partner beg me to tell him what's wrong, and needy. Ugh. I hate that girl. Fortunately, my first husband broke me of these habits early in our marriage for reasons I won't go into. Except the co-dependency which I broke on my own because it just wasn't working for me, and it never does.

Hank entered therapy after a couple rocky relationships, and learned to be more honest, open, and to talk to me when he had a problem with something I did, do, or may do in the future.

So I kind of think it's not luck so much as our willingness to learn from past mistakes and not make them again.

But I don't have an overall answer. I thought I could marry my last boyfriend. I thought after my first marriage, what I had with him was as good as it got. My first marriage was the "Great Love" of my life, and I thought you only got one shot. As Lisa said, "Whatever else you can say about [him], you know he loved you." And that was true.

But when I decided I would rather be alone forever than marry the next guy, I met Hank and he was amazing. But a lot of random events fell into place for me to find him, including a minor set-up by the same Lisa, Facebook, and Anthropology Social Night.

What if these things hadn't happened? What if Hank had been turned off by the annoyed face I was sporting that night? What if I had decided he was too old before giving him a chance? What if Lisa hadn't been one of his students, or he had met someone before me, or I had gone ahead and married the now ex-boyfriend? Would we REALLY have still been so "lucky" in love?

As I've said before, everything does NOT happen for a reason. But there is a right place and a right time, and I think that may be a little of the luck side.

But there's also the way you choose to handle certain events, chosen and thrust upon you, that take you to the right place.

Did you see that Gwyneth Paltrow movie, "Sliding Doors?" In it, she lives two parallel lives. In one, she catches an elevator and comes home to find her boyfriend with another woman. They break up, she meets another man, and cuts and dyes her hair, which I think is just the mechanism to help us determine which of her lives we're currently viewing. In the other life, she misses the elevator, doesn't catch her boyfriend THAT day, but eventually does, and in the end she meets that same guy from her alternate life, in another way. This gives a "meant to be" feel to the movie, but I don't think that's the point. I think the point is, by making certain decisions, she was lead to happiness in both lives. Let's not forget that her boyfriend also made choices that affected her.

I don't believe in the "one and only." For example, Hank and I would not have been right for each other at most other stages in our lives. But maybe if I had been single and he had been single, we would've met other people that would've made us almost as happy as we are together.

So if you're unlucky in general, like me, you are not completely out of luck, because it only takes a little luck, as long as you are in the right place at the right time. Learn from your mistakes, grow as much as possible, and you'll be there. And, trust me, if he's not there, you don't want him. When you are both in the right place, and it's the right time for both of you, that's chemistry, baby. Chemistry? Yeah, chemistry.