Ugly Truth 32: Relationships Are Conditional

“Your love is as stable as you are: It’s not about how good a person makes you feel, but rather what good you can do for them.”
-Criss Jami, Killosophy

Dear Readers,

As we move through life, we may find ourselves in a state of change where we have no choice but to suddenly evolve. If you know me personally, then you know my walk has been anything but traditional, and not without mistake. Which is why coming to grips with myself and getting it right – maybe for the first time – has provoked in me a momentous life change. A change for joy, love, truth and choice. I have known since childhood that I have a capacity to fall in love with women, but nothing could have prepared me for this.

When we are young we are taught to hold ourselves to certain standards based on the words and actions of others. This conduct is often instrumental in the way we build our relationships with others. If you question your self worth, then it should come as no surprise to you if you find yourself in a relationship that is dysfunctional or toxic. Likewise, once you define what you have to offer with maturity rather than control, your relationship dynamics will change considerably.

You see, I met a girl. For the first time her stability and strength reflected my own in a way that was not only hardly comparable to anyone I’ve ever known, but also dawned on me a revelation of self that has fundamentally changed me for the better. She has revived in me things I feared would stay sleeping forever, and yet it is not in the fleeting flowery sense of an unlasting infatuation. My love for her was born from a place of enormous respect, a trait I learned is a condition of the way I love and am loved in return.

Along with respect came a list of relationship conditions that have so satisfied my life that I thought it pertinent to share with others the beauty and importance of what it means to love someone with responsibility and intention. This is not to be confused with unconditional love, but rather explores the primary concepts of the lasting relationships that we all hope for. When done correctly, unconditional love will naturally result from that free from doubt or coercion.

Mutual respect is so important and so complex that it is my number one condition. Respect includes outlining those standards I mentioned earlier, which can vary considerably from person to person. My standards include one’s ability to work hard, protect, provide, practice humility, contribute and reciprocate responsibly in all areas of life. Respect also lends itself well to admiration, which includes exceptional skill sets that I do not possess, but am greatly impressed by, such as being personable or bilingual. Alice has gifted me with all of these things and more.

When I met Alice, we were looking for nothing serious. We took our time to place boundaries and build friendship where most people dive head first into romance. This is not easy, but oh so worth it. The importance of friendship is that it carries you through hardship when the relationship goes through periods of suffering. We used this time and space to discuss everything – and when I say “everything” – I mean everything. We devoted many words and hours to discussing common goals and interests, likes and dislikes, what we were looking for in a partner, bottom lines, dreams, desires and deal breakers. We discussed living situations, finances, sex, children, religion, politics and why we felt our previous relationships had failed. We laughed, cried, learned each others love languages, and walked each other through an aggressive phase of validated fear without ever letting go of hands. We discussed our flaws openly, and kept judgment from creeping in. We built a framework to protect ourselves from the thoughts and opinions of others, both positive and negative. We do not ask the other to sacrifice fundamental parts of her being, mismanage priorities, or engage in dramatic behavior. I say all that to say my third condition of a healthy romance is communication.

If you can not communicate effectively with others, you are going to have a very hard time within your romantic endeavors. We teach others how to treat us. As such, communication requires a self awareness and vulnerability that most people are not willing to engage in. If you find this quality in someone, do not take it lightly. Likewise, if you have not developed this part of your personality free from dysfunction, or find yourself to be inherently uncompromising, you have no business being in a relationship and an ethical obligation to stay single.

In my discussions with Alice, I soon learned how important trust is to her. Trusting someone means so much more than being faithful. It is the belief that your partner will hold you with care and concern no matter what happens. It requires an err of caution, and a mindfulness for the other person when dealing in raw emotion. It means occasional reassurance and reinforcement through action. The more I got to know Alice, the more my heart grew to know a conviction so severe that I would rather die than hurt her.

Next is laughter. Alice has this inexplicable knack for positive energy and joy. The first time we met her smile completely grabbed me. I genuinely adore this character trait as her ability to be incessantly playful protects me from my own dark moods. Her laugh is infectious and my new favorite sound.

As important as humor is to me, my love for this character trait is not one dimensional. Alice’s playfulness is matched by her capacity to pull back into modes of deep thinking and feeling. Her complexity allows her a great range of spirit that I deeply share and admire. We laugh to tears one moment, and attend to the next with great strength and seriousness when the situation calls for it.

Lastly, chemistry! Physical affection isn’t everything, but boy is it important. If you have ever found yourself on a date with no chemistry, you know it can devolve into an awkward nightmare pretty quickly. Likewise, when you meet someone who can communicate with your body in a sexual and compatible way, it can be a mind altering experience that makes you question the universe and grasp the meaning of life. I knew from the moment Alice touched me that I never wanted her to stop. She has an appreciation for beauty, an attention to detail, a hyper focus in strength and tenderness that I didn’t even know I needed until I received it for the first time.

So, there you have it! Eight carefully thought out conditions of what it takes to be in a healthy relationship thanks to the most beautiful person I have ever met. I hope to learn from her for many years to come. If you find yourself falling in love with someone, do yourself a favor and take your time.

Respect. Admiration. Friendship. Communication. Trust. Laughter. Capacity. Chemistry.

What do you require in a relationship?

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