It’s actually Sunday when I’m writing this – the first week on the job was pretty intense. I suppose I could schedule the post for this coming Friday, but what fun would that be?
Lately I’ve been talking to a lot of people about romantic relationships. It seems we’ve all been struggling with love on some level, and trying to connect with someone while still maintaining our own identity can be really difficult at times. I’ve thought about it a great deal, had many discussions with T-Wizzle on the topic, and I’ve decided to do something a little different with this week’s Hot Tip. It’s actually five tips on how to make relationships work, as conceived by me. Feel free to expand on these or offer revisions in the comments.
1. Determine whether you’re a provider or nurturer. Regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, people tend to fall into one of two groups: provider (the one who works and provides the financial structure for the family unit) and nurturer (the person who nurtures family members and offers emotional support). It’s been my experience that we get into trouble when we try to force ourselves to be a nurturer when we’re really much more comfortable as a provider, or vice versa. In relationships, this can also show up as insisting that the other person take on a provider role because we believe that we are a nurturer, for example. Figure out what you are, and be okay with it.
2. Honor your flow as well as your partner’s flow. Whenever I say “honor your flow” to people, they look at me as if I’m insane. What I mean by this is “do what feels right for you.” Part of honoring your flow, though, requires that you take responsibility for your actions and be prepared to handle the consequences. Sounds a bit heavy, I know, but if you’re coming at a relationship with an open, loving heart and mind, this isn’t that difficult.
3. Don’t make yourself wrong, and don’t make your partner wrong either. As I recently wrote here, we’re not here to get things perfect. I try to come at life from the perspective that we’re all doing the best that we can in any moment, even if that seems hard to believe sometimes. No one ever wants to feel wrong for things they have done or not done, said or not said. In a relationship, you owe it to yourself and your partner to understand that their behavior is not an indication of your worth as a person. Sounds easy to understand intellectually, but emotionally, it can be tough.
4. Accept the present. In relationships it’s so easy to get caught up in the future. “How serious is he? Does he want to move in with me? Will she be the mother of my children? When will we get married?” and so on. If you’re constantly thinking about the future, it is damn hard to be in the moment while you’re sipping Frappuccinos on your third date with Cindy Lou.
5. Enjoy yourself. This is closely tied with #4. If you’re really in the present moment, all the pressure is off. You can just be yourself and have a good time. Maybe Cindy Lou isn’t the right woman for you…but the barista with the cute smile might be.