That’s right everyone; I’m getting something right! Or at least it seems that way….
After a very long but amazing day, I’m sitting here at 11pm frantically typing this post because I cannot get this one thought out of my mind, the thought that I am doing this whole relationship thing right. Maybe everyone must care about someone once and have it not turn out before they realize what the truly important aspects of a relationship are. I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost family, and I lost my ex… so maybe now I realize what I am doing and how to make it better.
The thing is this. Today I went to a gun and ammo show. I’ve never been to one before, never had any reason to go. In my mind, for my entire life, guns seem like an unnecessary possession. I don’t live on a farm, I don’t believe in hunting for the sport, and I have no interest in learning about guns and how they work or who can shoot with the best aim. None of my friends are really into weapons of any kind, and I guess since I’m a girl, I’m all too happy to just be naive about the entire gun industry.
But I went today because I knew it would be special for T. I wanted to do something for him that would show that I truly cared about him and that I am open to learning new things and trying new things, within some realm of limits of course.
Last night I was nervous about the entire thing. I wasn’t sure I would feel comfortable walking through aisle after aisle of guns and knives just to look and enjoy myself. But I was the one who mentioned it in the first place, as a sweet gesture to him, and I was not going to be the one to cancel last minute. And you know what? It wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever done, but it definitely wasn’t awful! I learned a lot about T and about my own abilities to remain calm and enjoy myself in even strange situations.
Besides, this whole day has me thinking; now that I’m getting into this relationship world again, I am starting to realize that there are things that I am doing so much different than the first time. And I think, regardless of what happens in the meantime, I am happy to be recognizing that I have the ability to learn and grow from my past hurts and pains. Here are some of the things I have realized thus far:
- A relationship isn’t about having every little thing in common. It’s not about trying to change yourself to please someone else and it’s not about someone else changing to please you. Change shouldn’t be expected, it should only come naturally (if it does come at all). Exploring another person’s interest is one of the greatest ways to learn about that person and to expand your own horizons. It’s okay to try new things every now and then.
- A relationship isn’t about talking to the other person every second of every day. It’s not some horrible thing meant to keep you from your family or your other friends. It’s important to not lose sight of your career and your responsibilities either. If you are in a truly good relationship, the other person will make sure your responsibilities are taken care of and they will make sure that you both have time apart to spend alone or with other people whom you would seriously miss otherwise.
- A relationship isn’t about an image. I don’t find myself sitting here trying to impress my parents or my friends with every little detail of my relationship now. I don’t push to have some title identified for this relationship, and to tell you the truth, I don’t need one. The only thing I need to know is that I feel happy and he feels the same. All the other people will either like it or not, but I don’t need to seek their approval around every corner.
- A relationship isn’t about give and take. It’s supposed to be about give and give some more. Doing sweet, spontaneous things for the person you care about is one of the best feelings a person can experience. This reminds me of Christmas: I have found it is better to give gifts than to get gifts. It makes me happier to see others happy than it does to feel my own happiness.
- A relationship is about being open and honest. You may not agree with every little thing that is said and done by the other person, but you need to be able to talk it out rationally. You should spend time learning how to read their attitude and demeanor to tell when they need a friend or when they need you to not push any one specific subject. I admit, I’m still working on this one a LOT, but I am learning that I am who I am and that’s just the way it’s going to be. He either cares about me or he doesn’t, but neither way it works out is anything my “fault”.
- A relationship isn’t about escaping reality. A relationship is about growing and learning. You don’t need to be comfortable every second that you spend with the other person. You don’t need to perfect everything about your relationship; sometimes the flaws remind you that there is true feeling involved. Something so perfect and fluffy ends up just being fake.
- A relationship isn’t about sexual intimacy, or even intimacy at all. Try this once: Hold a random conversation with your significant other. Note what you talk about and how you two converse with one another. Hopefully you will find that you talk to each other similar to the way that you would talk to a friend. If not, run! Additionally, spend some time not talking at all. Can you comfortably sit in silence and watch a show or movie, read a book, or take a nap with the other person? Do you feel anxious when you realize that you’ve “wasted” your day doing these simple acts? A true relationship involves the simpler things in life. You don’t always need to soak up every minute of your time together with activities and movement or speech. It’s okay to be together and be silent all at the same time.
- A relationship isn’t about forcing the other person to grow. Sure, this normally comes about after some time, but if you’ve got to convince the other person to try something new, it’s probably not a good idea. Yes, it’s okay to ask them to do something new, but if you nag at them until they concede, you’re not actually winning the battle. All you’ve done is lost a piece of their trust.
- A relationship involves the words “are you okay” and “thank you” a lot more than you realize. Sure, it might seem paranoid to constantly ask someone if they are okay as they cough, cry, etc. But at the end of the day, it means the world to them that you just asked! And it’s NEVER a bad thing to say thank you. For lunch, for a movie ticket, for a day spent together in pjs at the house. Be grateful for every minute you have because you truly never know when it will be gone.
- A relationship isn’t about finances. It doesn’t matter who makes more money or who has the fanciest car; you take turns driving, you take turns paying, and you take turns sharing the financial burdens of having a social life. You should never ask the other person to borrow money, and you should never feel pressured to lend the other person money either. Real relationships (at least until you’re married or pretty close to married) do not rely on financial factors.
- A real relationship isn’t about distance or time spent apart. It’s not your fault if you have to work or if you aren’t feeling well. It’s okay to not see each other every day or every other day. It’s important to see each other as often as is necessary to maintain a relationship, but it’s not your fault if plans fall through or you are honestly too tired from other responsibilities to be there with the other person at any one particular time.
- A real relationship isn’t about the end game. I like T, I really do. I love the kind of person he is. Am I in love with him? No. Not yet. Maybe not ever, though we are heading in that direction. And here’s the thing; this is how it’s supposed to be. If you find yourself making promises for the future and using the words I love you too soon, you’re going to be in a failed relationship. Maybe this doesn’t always hold true, but from my experience it does. Someone who promises you the world way too soon isn’t at all prepared to offer you the entire world when that time comes around. It’s also important to note: It’s not bad to not be in love with your significant other. I mean, if you’ve been together for years, this is a different story. But if you’ve been seeing each other for a handful of months, love isn’t a necessity. Love grows and is built over time with comfort and repetitive support. Don’t push that four letter word. When you feel it say it. But don’t be afraid to not feel it, especially at first.
That’s it for now. I should have been in bed long ago. Maybe I’ll add more later?