Maybe I have been holding out hope that the people of my generation would “wise up,” and learn from mistakes of others, thereby stemming a disastrous trend.
What I’m talking about is the constant rush people are in to make a relationship long term and committed, rather than allow the process to work over time.
I took a break from this site for about ten months, because I was adjusting to a new college, and focusing on my sport of choice.
But when I compare the relationship questions from my previous stint, to the relationship questions now, I’ve noticed a severe spike in the amount of scenarios that girls are describing where they have children, and they are dealing with a relationship that is falling out, or has failed.
Meanwhile, they have now altered their lifestyle forever, and even with the failed relationship, still have to remain in contact with someone whom they typically don’t want to talk to, for the rest of their life.
Other questions that are related to this trend are girls and guys who in describing their issue, are revealing they are trying to “change” or even force by way of ultimatum, their partner into remaining with them.
I find this baffling. If I was to talk to these same people, one on one about a political issue, or a philosophy stance, or anything else they already had their own ideas on, and then tried to force them into changing their view, can I really expect they would do it? What if I employed an ultimatum?
I write that scenario, and you’re all probably laughing. But how many of you are finding yourselves in the former scenario as oppose to the latter? Are you seeing the similarity?
I’ve said this numerous times, and will continue to say it. You cannot change others, you can only change yourself.
Can you debate someone on an issue which leads them to look at it from a different angle? Sure, that has happened, and it will.
Can you provide people with information that will influence their decision? Sure, that happens.
But you can’t make someone love you. You can’t make them want the same things as you. We are individuals, and as such we have our own individual ideals. Even the best couples in the world don’t see things exactly the same way. They probably see some things the same way, but not everything.
The difference between successful couples and those that fail is that those who have success allow the process of bonding do its work. They don’t intervene on the process; they don’t make demands of one another.
But the absolute first thing they do, they ensure that their partner is ready to take next step.
They start off from the courtship/dating stage, and only advance when both parties reached consensus.
And they repeat that process until they no longer need to. I would even go so far as to say successful couples include those that realize they can go no further, and end it before it goes beyond their control.
There are two parts that are essential, that being communication and honesty.
I’ve noticed some people seem to be hiding in conversation with their partners, and not speaking up when they have a problem, or don’t want to go further in the relationship. At that point, they are not participating. The response I am seeing from people in these situations? Plausible deniability.
Instead of discussing the issue of their partner being mute or not engaged in the next step, they treat the luke warm answer as a true agreement, and proceed.
Then they find themselves hurt and damaged, and wonder what went wrong.
I’ve had numerous chats with people after answering these kinds of questions, and what troubles me the most is that they all admit to seeing that point where their partner was shying away, and they didn’t say anything.
And it appears the reason for this is that they feel outside pressure (be it from parents, friends, or outside peers) to appear successful. And apparently that is defined as being in a committed relationship, possibly with children.
Another reason given, people seem to fear being single, and having to start the process over again with someone.
If one person in the relationship is not happy, then both people are unhappy. The two are intricately connected, and unless the issue is genuinely attended to, is going to lead to the end of the relationship. I’d say unexpected end, but if you take the time to know your partner, nothing ever is.
When in a committed relationship, you cannot gloss over the details. True, not everything that goes on warrants discussion, but if you truly are in a committed relationship, you should be able to gauge what needs to be discussed, and what doesn’t.
Just like you should know when your partner is engaged in the conversation, and when they are staying out.
This isn’t a form of communication that you can demand. It’s built over time. You can’t rush the growth of it, and the only thing that can be done facilitate it is to be open with one another. The more open each person is the more each person will know when they need to discuss an issue further.
If one person says “We love each other,” and the other person is not showing the same enthusiasm when that comes up, that’s a sign something is wrong. It’s not a sign you can bank on their continued loyalty to the relationship.
Having kids does not mean your relationship is committed, nor does it mean the partner thinks something other than what they are communicating.
Again, these are all scenarios where one person is rushing something along, and the other person is disengaged, and allowing themselves to go for a “ride.”
Both parties are guilty of creating a bad situation, yes. But their crimes here are much different.
In conclusion, before you rush your relationship off the next step, start engaging your partner in conversations about what things would look like at the next step. This forces them not to sit idle as you begin turning the wheel. If you ever want to reach that next step they have to agree to turn the other one.