If you know me, you know how important love and relationship is to me. You know that I am someone who loves friends, friendship and quality time spent with someone to whom I am deeply committed and connected.
Many times, love has found me… or was it love? I know the feeling of love was a part of the relationship, but was it truly love? You see, I almost always allowed my heart to rule my head. I let the feeling or perception of my deep feelings guide my willingness to engage and commit to someone. That’s not a good thing, if you’re not doing a “check up from the neck up”. So many times, I have hoped for the promise of a great relationship filled with love, but I ignored the signs which indicated that an actual relationship with that person was simply unwise or unavailable because they weren’t ready or we didn’t share the same values and goals. I’ve been in relationships where the “friendship” and love was undeniable and powerful, but there were mixed values or life goals. I could go on and on, but the right combination of things seemed to somehow elude… both of us and yet, we carried on in the hope the other would change.
I spent many years wondering… “Who is going to be able to settle on and accept this conundrum called Tim?”, “Who is going to accept me for me?”… and equally importantly, find me accepting the other person too; accepting them for the right reasons and not just because they were amazing and loving!
Choosing a relationship is confusing and scary because it’s such a dynamic process. Being honest with the other person while “you” are unveiled and vice versa can be dizzying because it sometimes happens at a very rapid pace. Even if you both choose to start out “slow”, the relationship will dictate the pace at which it will unfold and often, we succumb to it. If it’s right though, you will find a balance in the pace which will be comfortable for both of you. You find that comfort because you can be honest with yourself about what you feel and what you see!
The statement about choosing a relationship was once very true for me, but I am grateful to say, I think that is finally a thing of the past for me and for one very important reason. I think I finally value myself enough to choose wisely and to be honest with myself when I consider being in a healthy relationship, because I’m willing to act in the light of what I see; in both me and the other person.
In the past, I was always ready to set myself aside. What I mean by that is, I would ignore simple truths that I would see. I would not rise to question the obvious differences or be willing to make a stand in the light of what I valued. I was always so concerned about giving the other person the benefit of the doubt, because I saw that they were a good person and deserving of love. I also, selfishly, wanted the intoxicating feeling of being with someone. I can recall example after example, but in the end… they were excuses made by me.
At the end of the day, when you’re in a relationship and you’re serious about it, it’s OK and necessary to talk to your partner about your feelings and part in it! If they don’t value what you value or they’re not in the same place (relatively) and don’t see themselves moving forward in a way similar to you… then it’s time to be honest with yourself and them and then make a decision. Once you’ve made your decision (which may be to leave), it can be hard to let go and put the relationship behind because it satisfied many things for you. Unless it satisfies all the important things though, it’s wise to cling to your decision because after all, you saw enough to choose to leave in the first place! We are who we are which doesn’t make us bad, it just makes us unique. Two people can be great friends and love each other desperately, but that doesn’t make them right for one another.
I’ve always said “It just shouldn’t be that hard” and that’s the truth when you’re in a healthy relationship unless you’re both really expert at lying to yourselves and each other. When you meet the right person however, it simply isn’t hard because it’s easy to live with them and the truth at the same time! Hard questions aren’t that hard to share or face. This is the rest of your life… so you’d better do your best to be honest, get it right and make sure the person you’re with is the best for you. It’s great to find someone who makes your heart go pitter pat, but that gets old fast when you can’t count on their commitment when the going gets rough.
What’s worse still is when you find that special someone who understands you utterly, who makes you feel very loved and accepted and they find you the same. They struggle and simply can’t allow themselves to commit to you no matter how hard they try, because they’re fighting a conflict within themselves that’s obvious, but that they desperately want to deny… you aren’t right for them! You don’t match THEIR values or goals! You’re only cheating yourself if you don’t question it and they’re cheating you if they’re not honest about it. It might be easy to be with them at a love and friendship level, but that lifelong choice thing, that’s another matter entirely. Choosing to be with someone should be easy because “EVERYTYHING” is obvious. It’s obvious you’re attracted, it’s obvious you share passion for each other, it’s obvious you share laughter, but it’s also obvious that you both share the same values, goals and honesty too. Honesty about everything!
There is nothing worse than dancing around an elephant in the room, and lying about it only makes it worse because someday you’re going to have to deal with what the elephant leaves behind. You see, life brings both good stuff and crap too. A couple’s willingness to engage in good and bad together, while sharing an abiding respect is what defines the basis of a good and lasting relationship.
If you value a good career and financial stability, choosing someone who is entrepreneurial and frequently lives on the bleeding edge of financial ruin because they’re a risk taker is probably not a good fit; no matter how incredible they are to you. Sometimes, our partners are completely honest with us… they want or don’t want to have kids. If raising a family is something important to you and non-negotiable and your partner doesn’t want to have kids, you have little choice no matter how great the rest of the relationship! Staying is keeping you from being with someone who values the same things you do and it keeps them from achieving their life goal too. Choosing not to stay doesn’t make the other person bad for you, but does make them a bad CHOICE for you! If however, your family choices are negotiable, and foregoing a family life is something you can live with… well I guess your choice may not be so difficult. As long as you’re willing to be honest with yourself about what your partner shares with you, you can make healthy choices. If you choose to leave, they will respect you because you’re valuing and respecting them too!
If someone pursues you after the relationship has ended, it’s easy to be tempted back because, after all, it wasn’t all bad. It’s sometimes hard to honour our choices because let’s face it… being alone sucks! But hanging about and playing with the fire of a past flame keeps you from moving forward and finding the right relationship for you. I’ve struggled with that too, but I’ve learned my lesson after having been burned by playing with that very fire. Fortunately though, I was not scarred because I feel I’ve learned from my experience and now have the ability to be honest with myself and make hard choices when necessary.
I’m not saying that you can’t feel completely connected to someone who is different to you, but you have to be certain that difference is something you can live with; because giving and committing your heart to someone should be about a forever choice! “Every rose has its thorn” might be true, but if you can’t live with the pain you feel from what is otherwise something quite beautiful, it’s better to leave it alone.
Too many times, I held onto hope while waiting on the other person. I waited and hoped that that the depth of our love would conquer our differences, but each time, that hope found me disappointed and ultimately… alone! Sometimes, I chose to end the relationship and sometimes it was the other person or a mutual decision. Thankfully though, it ended because continuing to live in the expectation or hope that I or the other person would change our mind would have resulted in frustration, anger and likely bitterness or resentment.
A very good friend of mine offers “Granny’s” advice.” “It’s better to be alone than wish you were!” Damn straight! It’s scary to choose someone, but it’s worse when you hold onto someone when in the back of your mind, you know you shouldn’t be there. Because you think the world of them however, or because you don’t want to be alone, you choose to remain in something that’s not right for you. That’s just the wrong reason to be in a relationship and more… it’s really selfish!
It can be hard to be honest, but when you’re with the right person, they will accept what you have to say, knowing that it’s probably hard for you to share, but because they value integrity and because of their self-respect and integrity too, they listen knowing that you have their best interests in mind.
I have waited a very long time to find someone who sees me as I am, who finds me devilishly handsome, makes their heart go boom, accepts all of the idiosyncrasies that comprise me, who accepts and shares the goals and values we both have and who, in the light of all of those things is willing to talk honestly and openly about our life. That is someone I can make a commitment to because that is someone within which I can place my trust.
The hardest part of being in a relationship when it first begins and then throughout is being honest. It can be hard to be honest with yourself and then with your partner because sometimes, the message isn’t easy. Of course, there are many other parts too, but it all starts with honesty! Without it, you can never have integrity, honour or respect. Often, when we find love, it feels easy, but without honesty and respect, it’s shallow and baseless! Finding a great love, a love in which you share, values, goals, respect and above all, honesty… that’s not so easy, but it’s so worth waiting for!
I’ve spent the last 3 years of my life more or less on my own. I’ve shut down my small business and joined a large software company, moved my home after 42 years and started another part of my life. I’ve had to undergo a lot of scary stuff and become very honest with myself about who I am and where I’m at! I’m not willing to toss all that aside for the first bit of “feel good” that comes along.
When you find the “right” person for you, you’ll know, but only if you’re willing to be honest… with you! Here’s hoping you find the right person for you!