You can’t always get what you want

First off, thanks for the birthday wishes, girls! I had a lovely weekend spent with great friends and family. (And, yes, too much wine.) Anyway, on to my post for the day; the topic of which is:

Why do we always want what we can’t have?

It’s the question that haunts many — otherwise rational — human beings. It keeps us up at night. It has us hitting our heads against a proverbial (or, maybe not so proverbial) wall. Sometimes it’s a life situation we wish would happen that we’re fairly certain we’ll never see come to fruition. Maybe we want a new job, a fancier car, a bigger house.

Maybe life just has other ideas for us.

In the case of  people who seem to find themselves single more often than they are not (I being one of them), what we want is usually a certain person. Often, this person is one of the following:

1. Already attached

2. An ex that left us broken

3. Someone who has a different lifestyle from us that makes it impossible to be together

4. Or…someone who is just not interested in being with us

I’ve wanted them all. But, alas, I could not have them.

It hurts.

It hurts and it sucks.

It hurts, it sucks and it’s bittersweet. You know how us romantics love to use the word bittersweet. It makes the pain seem a little more . . . bearable. A little more like it’s happening because the ending of the story requires you to go through some rough patches before you can reach the beautiful place where you get the thing (or person) you want. Where you’ll, for once, be able to stop wondering “When is it going to be MY turn??” and start realizing “This is it, for real this time.”

During these rough patches, you tell yourself that you’re learning lessons. “Everything happens for a reason” becomes your mantra.

A friend of mine is going through, what I would classify as, a VERY bittersweet situation right now. Without going into too much detail, I will say that she really cares for someone who, in turn, seems to really care for her. But, they cannot be together. They cannot be together because their beliefs and cultures are not the same. However, in each other, they have found something real. They’ve found attraction on multiple levels. It’s so sad for me to think about, because I know how much it hurts not to be able to be with someone who you care for beyond measure. To know how happy you’d be with this person. It’s hard to think past them when you know that they are everything you want. And nothing that you can truly have.

It’s torturous when you can’t get someone out of your head. When you know that they shouldn’t be in there in the first place, but you refuse to fully let them go. My friend who is going through the above situation is having a tough time with this, and I really don’t blame her in the slightest. You remember The One? It took me exactly a year to the day I last saw him to get over him completely. To stop having him be a thought in my head every single day.

What I do know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that when someone comes into your life that you click with, that you’re interested in, that you’re attracted to . . . the person you’re holding onto slowly starts to fade away. You no longer think of the old person as you lay in bed, because you have someone new to think of. You stop looking at your phone in the morning, wondering if there will be a random missed call or text message from the old person. You smile when you see a message from the new person.

To answer my original research question (Why do we always want what we can’t have?), I will give this answer.

Because, it’s better than wanting nothing at all.

We tend to hold onto these people and these unrealistic hopes, because at least then we know that we are capable of feeling. And, when you feel, at least you know that you aren’t numb.

This post has gone in a completely different direction than I originally intended for it to go, but I think I’ll just keep it as is and see what you all think. Do you have your own answer for why we always want what we can’t have? Mine seems a little . . . obvious.


9 Comments (+add yours?)

    Oct 19, 2010 @ 17:18:48

    I find myself constantly attracted to boys who are already attached. I think subconsciously (or not) I find myself being lured toward them because of:

    1. The fact that they’re attached means they do well in relationships
    2 . At the current moment in time they aren’t ridden with commit-o-phobia which is always a good sign.
    3. They are making someone else really happy and I want that same thing.

    But, I then look at all the failed marriages around me and I think to myself the following:

    1. One day I too will find that perfect love and those feelings of a new relationship are ones I can look forward to. Those already in long-term relationships and are hitched have passed that phase of it. And that first giggly-lusty-googly-eyed stage of a relationship is often my favorite part.
    2. There is at least one decent man out there for me who will become my better half. I just need to stop waiting and do something about it.
    3. I’m so frigging thankful I didn’t marry the last b-friend I had because we talked about it so often and we dated for so long we just assumed it was the next step. And to think if I had done it on my terms and not on fate (or God’s terms – which ever you believe) it would have ended up tragic.

    So, I sit here patiently searching for Mr. Perfect For Me.
    Good Luck and Keep Your Head Up,


    • manderz1784
      Oct 24, 2010 @ 07:04:28

      I’m completely in agreement of your points and I think that, for the most part, I feel the same way. I love the initial excitement of a new relationship. The butterflies, the desire to learn as much as possible about this new person…it’s a great feeling and I can’t wait to feel it again.


  2. audrey22
    Oct 19, 2010 @ 20:25:53

    Wow, this post is exactly what I’ve been asking myself over the last couple of days. Even today my coworker and I were discussing a mutual friend’s engagement and wondering when we’ll be able to celebrate our own engagements. It seems like I’m ALWAYS wanting what I can’t have, from a guy to a place to live. But your answer pretty much echos my feeling on the topic “It is better than wanting nothing at all” and also for me the grass is always greener on the neighbour’s lawn. I guess its just one of those things,


  3. jo
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 03:06:09

    sometimes i think maybe we feed off the drama. the highs and the lows, the overanalyzing and the whole he likes me, he likes me not. it’s tring and frustrating but who am i kidding? sometimes i feed off those emotions too.


  4. G/W
    Oct 22, 2010 @ 18:28:31

    I always go for guys that are perfect for me and would never go for me. So many of my body image problems were related to that- I felt like there were enough “perfect” guys available… they just didn’t like me because I was fat and undesirable. As the weight started dropping off, I realized that there was more to it than that.
    And you’re right, we do always want what we can’t have. I’ve noticed that I have that problem and a lot of other single bloggers have that problem too. We tend to put our eggs all in one basket (no matter how frail that basket looks) and even if there’s a one percent chance of anything happening with this person, we’ll still concentrate solely on him until he’s impossibly unavailable.


    • manderz1784
      Oct 24, 2010 @ 07:08:59

      Ooo I can echo your sentiments! I’m having a bit of a skin issue right now that I’m worried is going to leave me permanently scarred. The first thing I thought was “Who is going to love me looking like this?” However, then I realized that I have always had problems in the love department, so that isn’t really a good reason to say I’ll never find anyone. There must be more to it…
      And YES on the eggs in one basket thing. I just cant help it! Once I like someone, I really like them and there’s no turning back. Poor guys I fall for, haha.


  5. Trackback: Lonely?? | Wild oats.

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