I have given a lot of thought recently as to what I truly expect from a serious relationship. In my post-divorce years, the idea of marriage gave me the sweats. I was still pretty young though, and had a lot of learning to do. All I knew was that making a commitment like that was not in the cards for me any time soon. The past 8 years have provided some pretty significant learning experiences that have all shaped my ideas and expectations. Do I expect that they may continue to change? Of course. That's all part of learning and growing. I just think it's important to have a goal and at least an idea of what is most important to me so that dating might feel more fulfilling, and less like a game show.
These past few years I have aimlessly wandered from one relationship to another, not really holding the "other" to the level of commitment that I was giving, or even offering up much of a voice in what I wanted or needed to feel satisfied. I don't have a whole lot of regrets, but I have reached a point where I no longer want to invest my time in someone who is never going to reciprocate. There are so many other, and better, ways to spend my time.
Surprisingly, the easy part of this process has been determining the final goal, or outcome, for lack of better terms. However, as I thought about how I would get to this goal, it became increasingly more difficult. Some things just cannot be predicted, and I believe that to be half the fun of the adventure we call dating. I know to at least pay more attention to early warning signs (it takes LOTS of practice to recognize those) and to jump ship when things just don't feel right. But I do not want to make up so many rules and regulations that I miss out on a good opportunity just because someone doesn't fit into my "plan".
There is no timeline in place. No ticking clocks, or any other motivation to speed things up. I'm perfectly content to let it fall into place whenever it is right. My only intent in writing this was to present a question to myself, really think it through, and attempt to put it in words so that I have a reminder when things start feeling murky.
So I present to you my Relationship Manifesto*.
I would like to be married. Not to have a wedding (been there, done that), but to make a promise that I will choose to love that person and pursue them every day for the rest of our lives. I will promise to dream, laugh, listen, protect, comfort, smile, forgive, forget and adore them, and make my best effort at building an extraordinary life together. I will expect for the same things in return.
Will every day be easy and extraordinary? Absolutely not. That's where forgiving and forgetting comes into play. Not every day will each person be able to contribute equally. I'm open to a little give and take. In general though, I need to be able to give, and receive, those things mentioned above in order to really be fulfilled from a relationship. I will keep these things in mind as I continue to build relationships with others, and hope that one day I will meet the person who shares the same ideas.
What is your manifesto? Have you ever given much thought to your views of a significant relationship and what you would like to get out of one? It's not easy. And if you haven't done it in awhile, I challenge you to at least evaluate where you are in your intentions.
A written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives or views of the issuer.
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