If you’re past the phase of the ‘fling’ in your life, and are looking for an actual meaningful relationship with someone you can picture a future with, then the rules of engagement [should] change along with the circumstances.
A relationship is not a part-time commitment. You are either in, or you’re out. And if you’re in, there are some promises you’re making by default by committing yourself to another human being:
“I am fully ready to do this.”
Self-love is a recurring theme in my articles (and the entire foundation of my book) for a reason. It genuinely is true that if you’re not in an emotional and mental state where you’re comfortable with yourself and your life, it’s going to be increasingly difficult to give your energy to another person and relationship.
You’ll feel like you’re scrambling to pick up pieces of paper off the floor as more of them fall from the ceiling. You won’t know where to give your attention, and will ultimately be overwhelmed and drop them all.
Pick up all of your own pieces of paper, make sure they’re [at least, relatively] organized, and then worry about the rest. You can’t pour water out of an empty cup – you need to develop yourself, first.
By willingly entering into a relationship, you’re telling your partner that you are ready to fully commit yourself to them in the capacity that they deserve. If you can’t do that, it’s best to stay single until you can.
“I’m willing to prioritize you.”
A relationship should not be your entire life, but it is a major piece of the puzzle. Prioritizing someone doesn’t mean putting your hopes, dreams, desires, family, and friends aside – it means giving them a place among the ranks of the most important things and people in your life.
If you don’t feel strongly enough about the person you’re dating in order to do that – then why are you dating them?
“I will put in the work for you.”
Great relationships are not about give and take, they’re about give and give. Too often we become complacent and comfortable after entering into a relationship because we figure since someone has committed to us, the goal has been accomplished, and we can stop trying.
There is no excuse for the ‘honeymoon phase’ of a relationship to actually end. YES, life gets in the way. YES, you face challenges. YES, we all have bad days. NO, nothing is ever perfect.
But that shouldn’t stop you from showing appreciation to your partner on a consistent basis. Lack of effort over time will easily create resentment that eats away at the relationship.
“I’m going to communicate with you.”
Lack of healthy communication is an enormous downfall in relationships these days. We are so used to shooting a text or sitting side-by-side on our phones that we have lost sight of how important it is to truly create an emotional bond with the person we’re dating.
Communication isn’t just about creating a bond, though, it’s also about expressing your wants, needs, desires. The things that make you tick – the things that make you happy, or unhappy.
Too often we are hesitant to actually tell our partner what we need in a relationship, and then the whole thing goes to hell because they never give it to us (how were they supposed to know?)
I am not suggesting we become demanding or focusing only on our own needs, relationships are a two-way street. But, it is important to remember that you are valuable, too. What you need, matters.
“I’m willing to walk away.”
Yes – the willingness to walk away from a relationship is just as important (possibly moreso) than the willingness to stay. So many people get caught up in a negative situation for any one of a million reasons, but end up staying because they don’t want to leave.
Maybe it’s comfortable. Maybe they’re codependent. Maybe they don’t think they can do better. Maybe they don’t want to start over.
The fact of the matter is that being with the wrong person will make you feel more lonely than being single ever will. I understand that sometimes marriage, kids, shared property, and other circumstances arise over a long term relationship – but just because that makes it difficult to leave, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
For those of you just starting to date someone and you’re seeing red flags, are feeling uncomfortable, or simply just don’t feel the attraction – the longer you hold on for the sake of comfort, the more difficult it will be to walk away.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that strength means holding on to something, but sometimes, it means knowing to let go of what can’t be fixed.
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