Sunday, December 2, 2012
Yes. You, Too, Can Have a Happy, Fulfilling Relationship
It's been a few weeks since I have written here. Although I've been involved in a few relationship conversations online and in person, I haven't felt compelled to offer anything here. Guess you might say I'm feeling a bit jaded about the general nature of American relationships. The way dating is so often reduced to exchange and game playing. The way gender stereotypes and patriarchal commentary still seems to rule the day for so many, despite all the social changes in other directions.
If you think this is a post driven by personal angst, you're wrong. I'm actually in a happy, fulfilling relationship these days. Something I'd like to think happened because both of us have the kinds of skills and approach to it all that I've been writing about here.
Furthermore, I can think of several friends off the top of my head - ranging in age from their late 20s to over 70 years old - in happy, fulfilling relationships as well. It happens. People do it despite all the bullshit we all have to wade through to get there.
So, today's post is a series of short points attempting to skewer some of that bullshit. Maybe it provides some insights or points of contention. And maybe it's just for my amusement.
Anyway, off we go.
1. People don't owe you anything. Seriously, they don't. They don't owe you dinner. They don't owe you sex. They don't owe you respect. They don't owe you anything.
2. Stop believing that instant chemistry equals love and ever lasting romance. It's a bloody story. Fairy tale. Ninety nine times out of a hundred, that oh my god feeling you have with someone on a first date will lead to a few weeks or months of hot romping in bed, followed by misery, slow fade, or fast disappearance.
3. Stop believing you're so special that everyone should worship your every word, and cater to your every need. Even if you only think this 20% of the time, get to work so that 20% moves towards zero.
4. No one is always right. Learn to admit you're wrong. Or that you don't know. And get used to doing so.
5. Someone who listens well, and is measured in their criticism, is a hell of a lot sexier than the charismatic know it all over the long haul.
6. If you find yourself placing all or most of the blame for your dating and relationship struggles on others, wake the hell up! Because it's YOU that is the common denominator! Go. Get a mirror and stare into it until you can't see yourself anymore. And then repeat until humble, or until you blackout. Whichever comes first. Please, whatever you do, don't drink and stare.
7. Humor. You have some? Let it lose. You don't have any? Find some. Borrow some. Buy some. The one area where the exchange economy might be necessary. Cause if there's one thing lacking in the modern dating world, it's humor. I'll take a funny single person over a dour, hyper serious coupled person any day. I bet you would too, even if you're one of the hyper serious folks I'm talking about here.
8. Gratitude. The single most important ingredient commonly missing from modern dating and modern relationships. When was the last time you were grateful simply to spend a few hours with someone on a date? Not out of desperation, but because they showed up, and listened to your silly stories, and shared a few of theirs. Seriously, our lives are fleeting, and it's way to easy to loose most of it to selfishness, expectations, and other such nonsense.