Burst or Build

I am not particularly good at expressing my deep down wants. I tend to be more practical and I weigh all sides of big decisions. There is a part of me that has that “gut instinct” but when it comes to things like buying a house, picking out a ring, deciding on the person I am hoping to spend the rest of my life with, I don’t just jump in. I always thought I was impetuous but upon inspection, that is not the case. For me the feeling builds and when I listen to it, I begin to trust it.

I expressed my worry and disappointment in myself to Mr. Darcy. “Why can’t I just feel that this-is-the-one feeling? Maybe something is wrong with me? Other people say they feel it, but I don’t.”  He explained that it’s not that I don’t know what I want but that I am cautious when making big decisions and very pragmatic about my approach to them. For example, when I looked at engagement rings I was clear that I liked this one or do not like that one but that feeling of OH MY GOD THIS IS IT that people say they get? I don’t have that. I’ve spent my life tempering my deepest desires with a practical protection from being that vulnerable and raw. I get the why of it; I just feel like I am missing out on something.

I’ve talked to friends about this as well. Some people are more easily in touch with that flare of feeling whereas others are like me in that they know what they like but it isn’t this dramatic overwhelming feeling. What type are you?


31 thoughts on “Burst or Build

  1. It depends on what it is, but I’m typically the “not dramatically overwhelmed” type. Example: my wedding dress – I knew I was NOT going to spend a ton of money, so I found one I liked, that was flattering, and said ‘good enough’. But I’ve watched the dress show and people are crying and/or getting mad, and I think, really? Even my engagement/wedding rings – I love them and think they’re beautiful and would never trade them, but that’s it. I wasn’t crying or overwhelmed or whatever when I picked them out.

    Now, going to Italy on the honeymoon? That was a “this is it” feeling.

    All that to say, there’s nothing wrong with you just because you don’t freak out about something others freak out about.

  2. I’m a build.
    I’m a build and it drives other people crazy because I’m just not the type of person who jumps up and down about things.
    I picked three engagement ring settings and two stone shapes for Z to pick from. I love what I got, but sometimes I still think about (and admire) my other favorite. And I love my husband, but I never had that “he’s the one” feeling, I’m sorta of the opinion that it’s a myth. I’m happily married and I love our life but I understand that there’s a great possibility I could be just as happy married to someone else and living a completely different life. I think this makes me the exception to most of culturally understood “romance” rules, but it’s just how I operate

  3. I thought I was a “This is the one!” kind of girl. However, after being burned more than what I think is my fair share, I’m either becoming a “Let’s wait and see” kind of girl or I was always one and the silly hopeless romantic in me wanted something else. Currently, there is someone very special to me. I just don’t know how it will play out or how long I’m willing to wait to see what happens. There’s someone else too. I’ve known him for a very long time and I see him realizing the kind of friend he has in me. It would not be the same, but I know I would be very happy with him.

    I guess I’ll wait and see.

  4. I’m more like you, Sizzle. For important things, I have to build to the realization that something/someone is right for me. I’ve often wished I could have that feeling of certainty that seems to come with that “this is the one” feeling, but I just don’t think I’m wired that way.

    FWIW, I find that the “build” approach has worked for me. I’m happy with my husband, my house, my car and my career, all of which were chosen in that fashion.

  5. I’m not the jump up and down type at all. While I love my husband more than anything, and I’m happy with our life (and our baby on the way!), I don’t really believe in the concept of “the one.” I think there are a lot of people that can make us happy, and we tend to marry the first person that makes us feel truly happy. There may be others out there too, but the lucky first one “wins” 🙂 Like Melissa, I bought a wedding dress online (J Crew, clearance from $400 I paid $60). Never had even tried it on. It worked, it was cheap, I was happy. Not all relationships are hopelessly romantic, and I think that’s fine. My husband adores me, I adore him, and we’re a good match.

  6. Depends. I’m pretty impulsive when it comes to things. The house we bought is the first one we looked at. (We only looked at three.)

    People I’m still very tentative on… it takes a while for people to grow on me. And the trust in many situations just isn’t there. (I’m working on the trust/abandonment issues ATM — NOT FUN!)

    I don’t think there is a “one” person who is perfect. Nor do I think there is one ring, one dress or one anything. I think a lot of it has to do with whim. I never held a lot of stock in getting married as a process. I know my friends who felt the same way didn’t have any of the “moments” but if you buy into the princess myth, you seem more prone to it. (Also prone to Bridezilla moments.) Shurg… to each his own.

    At the end of the day, you just need to make sure that whatever you pick is what is really making you happy.

  7. oh man, it is so reassuring to read this post (and all the comments!) because i was pretty sure there as also something wrong with me for not having that “it’s/he’s THE ONE!!!!” feeling. i love chris and feel completely sure that we could have a great life/marriage together… but i never had the “omg this is IT!!!!” feeling, and like shaba, i recognize that there are likely many other guys i could have a great life/marriage with. it made me kind of sad that i was missing out on that excitement – not to mention that *certainty* – but now that all the comments are so similar, i’m wondering how much of that feeling is perpetuated by women feeling like they’re *supposed* to express it, even if they don’t feel it?

  8. I think it depends. Most of the time, I am very practical and research everything before taking action. But sometimes, and moving to Seattle was one of those, I just know it’s what I need to do. That doesn’t mean I’m happy or something, just that I know it must be done.

  9. Do you know for certain that Mr. Darcy is “the one”? If so, then you’ve been decisive about the important thing. A ring is just a ring, it will be beautiful no matter what, but the guy is where you should be picky and decisive!

  10. I don’t think it’s possible to feel “this is the one” about every major decision. There are so many things that factor into big decisions, that the gut doesn’t always come through, and that’s totally fine. I very gradually arrived to the conclusion that I wanted to marry my now hubby, but never had a “he’s the one” moment. If anything, I’m more comforted by the fact we’re gradually growing into our husband/wife roles rather than deeming each other to be “the one” from the get go.

    I’m guessing you already realize this as an event planner, but during the wedding planning process I had to learn to be OK with the fact that there wasn’t always a “right” answer for every decision that needed to be made. Sometimes we just had to pick a “good enough” answer and move on. Though I wouldn’t advocate that attitude in choosing a mate, I think it’s applicable for most other decisions in life, like engagement rings and wedding dresses and such.

    Have I ever suggested you start reading http://apracticalwedding.com? It’s a fantastic community of ladies who are not-quite-engaged, engaged, married and divorced who talk frankly about the realities and emotions of getting engaged/married/divorced and planning a wedding. You might have to dig through some of the archives to find some posts that will speak to you, but I guarantee you would find some value. Here’s my all-time favorite post there to get you started: http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/10/reclaiming-wife-the-road-not-taken/

  11. I’m totally like this, and I am betting a lot more people are, too. Nothing seems to “smack” me until after I’ve made a decision, after I’ve lived with it. Then, it’s of course this was right. But at the time I just analyze the crap out of things until I’m comfortable enough. 🙂

  12. As far as the ring goes, maybe you need to look at a different kind of jewelry store, and consider having something made specifically for you! Think about it — you have a wonderfully unique style and personality, why should you settle for something off-the-shelf made for the mainstream? My husband and I ended up at Greenlake Jewelry Works (now located in Northgate area) and had custom rings made when we couldn’t find what we wanted anywhere. We ended up with gold bands carved with salmon swimming around, which was very meaningful to us and our relationship. We opted for matching bands, with no stones, and were amazed at how reasonable the cost was, given the skill and time put into such a custom piece of art.


    Take a visit there, and think about what your interests are, or what you and Mr Darcy enjoy together, and how it can be expressed artistically in a ring.

  13. No my dear, you are not the only one. I can promise you that. First off I don’t believe in such things as “the one.” That’s a load of crap. Nor do I believe a life partner must be your only “soulmate.” It’s what Disney fairy tales are made of and well, we all know pixie dust isn’t real. I didn’t even want an engagement ring because I don’t like bulky things on my fingers. I barely wear jewelry as it is. All I thought was necessary – for me – was a wedding band, and a small one at that. Matt didn’t even propose to me. We just agreed that this was a good time/year.

    There are no set things in life. You go by what you want, not the so called standards or common traditions people have set before us. Matt and I did what we wanted and let me tell you, we got a lot of backtalk from family about it. In the end? We didn’t give a crap and you know what? We’re so happy we did – and continue to do – what we want.

    It’s ok if you over think stuff. And want to make sure of things. That’s who you are. And I’m betting A LOT that Mr. Darcy loves you for it.

  14. I am absolutely NOT a “the one”-er. I’ve never been that way, not with my college choice, my career choice, my where to live choice, my ring/wedding dress/venue choice, or even my husband choice. And I’ll say, I have/had the right almost all of those things now (that career one trips me up sometimes).

    I’m a thinker to the core, a mull-it-over-er from every angle. There’s just no way to pick “the one” that way.

  15. I’m pretty much with you, Sizz. When it comes to things, however, it could be that I’m really particular about some items. But I feel like that’s reasonable when a) something’s expensive and b) I don’t have the space or desire to acquire a bunch of stuff. It’s hard with cameras/electronics to ever feel that rush of “this is the one” when they get upgraded so often. I probably hold off too long looking for perfection.

  16. I love watching shows like Say Yes to the Dress. I get to see brides who genuinely well up with tears when they’ve found *the* wedding dress. Me? Not so much. It’s a dress. A dress I only get to wear once. A dress I only get to wear once and spend more money on it than any other single piece of clothing I’ve ever bought. WTH? I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, future mother-in-law and maid of honor. They got excited and emotional and I was not. I did not buy a dress that day. Instead, I went back by myself and found a dress I liked. It was me. Simple. White. Sophisticated. I bought it. Without pomp and circumstance. To this day, I’m very “meh” about wedding dresses. So, yeah, I’m with you – I knew it was a good, logical decision, but didn’t feel this overwhelming emotion when I made the decision.

  17. I am quite picky and decisive, and the only doubts I tend to have are…wow, I made that decision quickly. Some people shop and shop and shop, looking at tons of options. I tend to find the right thing for me quickly and know it right away, and if I keep shopping around, I get bored, frustrated, and or begin to doubt myself (I really don’t enjoy shopping very much). My fiancé and I started dating in January, moved in together in Sept, and got engaged at the end of November. I just know he is the right one for me, and I don’t need to keep looking. It still blows my mind that it all happened so quickly, but that is just the way I am. (When I bought my house, it was only about the 5th one I looked at, and I just knew it offered what I liked). For the engagement ring, my fiancé did it all on his own. He was told only 1 in 5 guys shop without the woman, and I really love that he did it. I’m not even sure what I would have picked out, and I absolutely love it! (And I didn’t have to shop for it!)

  18. I’m a mix of both, really, depending on the circumstances. With relationships, I was always a build…and then Matthew came along and I KNEW. WE knew. Everyone’s different. 🙂

  19. I wonder if to some degree, the trick is taking a tiny step back to dull the thinking part a little and let the feeling part come in (I mean with picking the ring). When I was choosing my wedding dress, I didn’t feel any of those sappy feelings until I sort of accepted that I wasn’t feeling them – told myself it was okay to not cry – and then of course I found a dress that made me cry. I don’t know if you’re looking at rings on your finger or in pictures, but maybe try to channel the feelings of how it will be to look at it on your hand and KNOW you’re in love and engaged. Maybe that’ll spark some instinct. I flip flop with this stuff – sometimes I’m a total instinct truster, sometimes I’m a terrible over-thinker

  20. definatley until i felt the feeling like omg this is it, i didnt believe in it. now i spend my days looking for a similar feeling with someone else. so i spend my time wondering, if im holding myself back. but i know what i want. i want the no doubt, this is it, butterflies and electric feeling that THIS IS IT!

  21. Such an interesting topic. I am more in touch. Steven is more like you. But I think my “more in touch” is actually a form of my impatience in not wanting to research things, and belief that everything will work out for the best.

  22. When I met The Rock Star, some 11 or 12 years ago, it wasn’t angels singing a heavenly chorus as a rainbow/sunbeam fell around him. No, it was more a calmness of spirit and a, “Yes. This is right.”

    I can’t speak for him, but every time I have wanted to give up and walk away, he does something so absolutely perfect that it’s like I’m being told, “No. You belong here.” and there no longer are any other options.


  23. I’m seconding Alice, and saying that I’m so happy to read your post and these comments and feel not alone. I’m currently weighing the options while engaged in a long-distance relationship. He’s decided I’m “the one,” but I’m taking a much more weighed out approach to it all, and I’ve wondered if not having *that* feeling has meant that it’s not right. Glad to hear that’s not how it is for all.

  24. I tend to get a gut feeling about pretty much everything, and listen to that feeling. The problem is that sometimes, it’s really hard to make my brain be quiet enough to let that gut feeling bubble up. 🙂

  25. Don’t go looking for “the one” feeling, go for the “this is right for me feeling.” I’m sure you know when you put on a dress or shoes and feel great. Or a eh, notsomuch outfit that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable all day even though you like it. Same thing with a ring or wedding dress. I agree with the others, DO NOT listen to salespeople, go with your gut (and budget!). Richard Simmons is too busy to come and inspire you, so dump the pressure and just be at peace that you’ll find what pleases you. Enjoy trying on all that pretty, sparkly stuff!

  26. You’re not alone on this one.

    I bought the first and only wedding dress I tried on. It was beautiful. My mom loved it. It was perfect for my Fall wedding in London. We didn’t cry. I didn’t say, “OMG! This is the one!” I pranced around in it for a few minutes, and then thought, yes, it’ll do just fine. Which sounds like I didn’t care about it, but to be honest I really just wanted to get married and was not that bothered about all the other “wedding” stuff. I looked pretty in it, but I’m sure I could find many more dresses that would have looked lovely as well.

    But, I did get the “this is the one” feeling with my engagement ring. I still do! My now husband knew it was the one as well because I couldn’t stop smiling and looking at it sparkle when I tried it on in the store. So I guess I’m a combination of both. I don’t force myself to get that gut feeling, but I definitely appreciate it when I do.

  27. i’ll throw in – and this is all just my experience, my 0.02, as it were.. i’ve never really understood the whole “let’s pick out engagement rings” thing. i mean, it makes sense, its a big investment and all that. i’ve got girlfriends that collected pics and gave them to their then boyfriends or whatever. i guess i kind of feel like the ask-er should intuit the style of the ask-ee and just sally forth. i think, in my pragmatic optimism, that the asker will get it right (enough) and then plans for whatever ensue. i know that is old fashioned and dumb, but, probably because it never happened like that for ME, i just don’t get the pre-engagement talking and picking and all. i would throw up waiting for some surprise. that would be a million times worse!!

    my now hubby surprised me and weirdly i guess he was looking for a ring and all that.

    the wedding dress was weird. nothing like all those shows i (still) DVR. in fact i tried to exchange it about 2 weeks before the wedding. but i went with the original which i know wasn’t the most flattering thing but it made me feel happy when i put it on in an “i’m a cupcake” kind of way (which i liked). even though in every picture now i see how my dress was like 2 inches too short. oh wellz.


    i second a practical wedding also. and houses, ug. its tough.. what to do. if you are able to buy i think it’s good if you know you just stay there for a while. i just, again, never get the “we are buying a house” or whatnot but not married (and seem to want to be) as opposed to “we are partners” and we don’t want to get married.

    i’m a downer. i’m shutting up now. have a nice holiday and stay warm. also your cats are scary in that card!!! eek!!

  28. Ugh, I go back and forth. Like when I picked a college? I just knew. And when I picked out my apartment? I just knew. But when I had one job offer on the table and a final interview with the President at another company on the table? I am not sure what made me take the offer. I think it was that I gelled with my boss, but I fear I was maybe partly just tired and wanted it to be over.
    You know my beau is a special case. I can’t say I have that “this is the one” feeling just because of the way it all happened, but I also cannot imagine at this point ever being with anyone else ever again. EVER.
    Oh, and a friend already sent me a dress from the Anthropology bridal line and it IS perfect…provide I can get the back adjusted for my linebacker shoulders…assuming the day comes. Hee hee.

  29. I don’t think there are many people who can say this is the one (about anything) with any amount of certainty. Hubby and I always get the first thing we both like because you know that if you look at other ones, you’ll still think the first one was better. Why not save the time!

  30. I’m just like you. I’ve always wondered about that “I knew this was it!” kind of remark. I’ve felt it, but with situations, moments, not necessarily with people or things. I’m a thinker, I weigh things and make planned out and properly thought through decisions; impulsive I am not. And sometimes I wonder if I will ever feel that “this is it!” or “he’s the one” feeling that people talk about, or if it’s just not my way, if it’s just not in me. Which, I guess is ok, it’s just that it makes you wonder if there is something more… I feel you, oh do I feel you.

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