Friday, 3 February 2012

On Being Levelheaded

B.C. Beach by foundimagination
I'm thinking ahead to a future meeting of my next serious relationship.

(Man, you've got to love it when I write a sentence that is that terrible.)

I just mean, I'm thinking about how I might approach things the next time I'm starting a relationship, or the next time I find myself dating someone.

My parents have been married since the 60s, and I'm sure they'll both tell you that just like life, their marriage has made them both happy, but has also taken work, and probably still does.

But something else my parents would probably tell you is similar to a story I've heard from some of my other friends' long term married parents, and it's more a story of choice than of lust.

What I mean is that I feel like in my previous relationships I've met someone, felt that initial powerful connection, slept with them and been madly head over heels in love with them and therefore wanted to be with them forever.

Without actually knowing them.

Whereas I feel like that can't be the basis of a long term relationship anymore and I know that wasn't how my parents' relationship started.

My Mom has talked to me before about how their deciding to get married wasn't a surprise; they'd talked about it and both knew this was what they wanted and how she knew that Dad had the qualities and behaviours she wanted in a husband.

(Plus, she really liked his voice. And she realized she was nervous when he was running late on a date, and this nervousness made her realized she liked him.)

In some ways their courtship and engagement could be seen and broken down to being almost business like. They were compatible. They liked each other. They had things in common. They got along. They suited each other. It was a good match. And so on and so forth.

There was none of this Hollywood style "love at first sight, I can't resist him/her, my breath was taken away, I've found my soulmate" type of thing.

And I think maybe I'm ready to try a relationship that's not based on that "googly eyes, heart pushing out of my chest cartoon style" thing.

Because I do love the rush of being madly, deeply attracted to someone and falling passionately into BEING with them, but I want something more than that.

And I don't think I used to believe that there *was* anything more than that.

But I want to spend the rest of my life with someone who is a best friend. I really really do.

And when I look at my friends who are happily married, that's what I see. I was talking with my friend at work the other day and she was showing me a video of her husband, on the really snowy day we had a few weeks ago, skiing his way to work. And you should have seen her eyes sparkle.

"You're really in love with him, aren't you?" I said.

She smiled and nodded and told me that she's constantly reminded of that.

My other friend at work who tells me stories of her husband and kids always has a smile on her face when she talks about her husband.

I don't know if that kind of solid friendship based love can come from a lust filled beginning.

Now that doesn't mean I don't want to be attracted to my next partner, I do; I think it's terribly important. It just means that I don't want to be run over by the feeling.

I want to be able to step back and see if we are compatible, if we have things in common, if we suit each other, if we'd be a good choice for a relationship.

It took me nearly a year and a half to buy my new car. I had to psych myself up to spend that much money for one thing, and I had to do the research and be sure it was something I wanted to do.

And yet, I've slept with guys I've barely known.

Maybe I won't take quite as long to choose to sleep with my next boyfriend as I did to buy my car, but I want to take my time and think and see and grow.

It takes a long time to get to know someone and it should take a long time to get to know if you love someone and want to be with them long term.

It'll be interesting to see if I can figure out how to be different this time around; how to be more like the people whose relationships I admire.


Jonathan said...

You know, there's a pretty good argument for not thinking so much :)

Of course, this is the argument trotted out by people who already found somebody they like...

Victoria said...

Totally easier said than done! :)

Kate said...

I made the same choice with my smiley guy - we went out numerous times as platonic friends for 3 MONTHS and during that time I went from the small notion of "this guy is nice and cute and boy do we have a lot to talk about" to "oh my god, if he doesn't kiss me soon I think my heart may just pound out of my chest"... It took 3 MONTHS for me to get to that point. In the past I had slept with guys so quickly and fallen head over heels in total lust and broken up with them in less time.

This time it feels different. This time it feels..... right.


Victoria said...

Awwww, that's really cool Kate :)

Jules said...

Well, advice from someone who waited 38 years, and shagged like a randy little bunny in between times before settling down, is this:

I think you know when the right person comes along. We all look for flaws in people, and you never have to look hard - but some people allow you to focus on the bonds that people build, and the good side of a relationship, without calling into question the very obvious faults that are almost always present. These people - may be saints, may be sinners, but to me, in relationships, in friendships, have always stood out.

Just remember that these people maybe are not like this to everyone, its always the bond you form with them. And that has to pass muster with your friends.

I did not expect to get married, I was happy with life on the road, but the girl I met as a very random occurrence, instantly became my closest friend. There are no headtrips, no games, everything is spoken about and decisions are made together. Contrast this with a domestic violence charge with my previous girlfriend and maybe understand I held very little stock in this stuff.

If you dont want to settle for second best - then wait. But keep your eyes open, have fun in the mean time and make sure you keep good friends.

Victoria said...

Well said Jules, thank you. And timely too... you have no idea.