When we were in grade school to hear that someone was “going” together was no big story, it was hot news for maybe a few days, and then it faded away. In addition, grade school relationships that lasted over 4-6 weeks were few and far between. And when they ended they usually ended in a sly manner in which someone “dumped” the other one and all the kids had a good laugh. As we got older, we matured, but we didn’t fully mature. Our minds changed like the weather, our desire to “get our freak on” outweighed our desire to be in a relationship. Our fuse was shorter because we felt like we had our whole lives ahead of us to make it right. Experience tells us that in life you will be in several more bad relationships than good. In life, you will look back at relationships that you didn’t give your all to and realize that it could have been something significant. But truly everyone reaches a certain level of maturity in life when they realize that if you want your relationship to work, it will work. (I’m going to write a book about this, so don’t steal this instrumental.)
I believe that after you get out of college and you look back on the 20-something years that it took to get you where you are today, you are able to critically think about your past relationships. In our young years on this earth we end up breaking up for the most foolish or selfish reasons. You can’t seem to stay out of an argument with your significant other and neither of you are willing to compromise. You want to be with someone else. You want to be single and test the waters. You are focused on your career or grad school. (I think this is bull, because you shouldn’t be with someone who cannot withstand your progression in life.) And of course, cheating plays a factor in there too, as well as a general lack of trust.
The thing that it takes time to realize is that relationships take patience and determination. We watch a movie of people falling in love at first sight or at tops two hours and think that real life is supposed to emulate that. The fact is, that’s false. You will have to make a decision that you want to be in that relationship, and then you will have to make a concerted effort to be in that relationship. You have to realize that you are in control of your half of the relationship and the other person is too. Very few people who handle 100% of their 50% ever get bad results. I’ll say that again, very few people who handle 100% of their 50% ever get bad results. You cannot expect to give half of yourself to a relationship until something is proven and expect the other person to give anything more than half of themselves, leaving you with 50% output from the both of you.
Let’s take cheating for example. I think cheating is a childish behavior that everyone engages in. Some people find all types of excuses for cheating, there is only one, it’s a selfish act by a selfish person. No one can force anyone to take any action that they do not want to take. Therefore, if someone cheated it was because that person wanted to cheat. This is a perfect example of something that you can control. Another example is arguments. We can be honest with ourselves to know that we know our partners, and we know our pressure points. Even if you do not like the pressure point, and you vehemently disagree with your partner’s stance on an issue, have you not learned anything in this life if you have not learned how to agree to disagree? You can save yourself a plethora of arguments that will jeopardize the house that your relationship is built in, by just knowing and avoiding arguments.
We understand that we can prevent the pitfalls that failed us the last time. Knowing what to say and when to say it, and knowing what to do and how to do it, increases the chances of a healthy and long relationship. I think that going into a relationship both people should have the same goals and mindset. I don’t think it’s wrong for a person to say when they are dating, they are not looking for anything casual, but something meaningful with a future. (Do not say, “I’m hoping that marriage comes out of my next relationship. However, something meaningful is acceptable.) When two people meet that are on the same page about life and love, the possibilities are limitless. The other side of this coin, is when you do not meet equally plane people, you run into BIG trouble. She wants something casual and he thinks he’s found the Misses. Those situations rarely last or end well. However, equally plane people are able to grow together because they have a solid foundation.
Relationships are all about foundation and infrastructure. You have to think about it like you’re building a home. It’s a long term project. If it’s a short term project, then you’re better off just staying in an apartment until you’re ready to buy. You will buy furniture, hire interior decorators, someone to take care of the landscaping, you will have to paint the walls (several times to keep it exciting), you will make additions, and you will sometimes welcome new people over to live (children). But the first step in building this home is that you both are dedicated to making it a home and not just a place to stay. If you become personally vested in the success of your relationship, instead of “seeing where things go” you will succeed. Please take a note that I said, personally vested in the success, not just the relationship, but the success.
Side note, I’m seriously worried about anybody who isn’t.