i’ve been thinking about how we know what we want out of a relationship. an intimate partner relationship. or rather, how you know what you are looking for in an intimate relationship. there are the classic things people talk about: love, fidelity, honor. and i have thought about things like sexual compatibility, similar values or agreement on child rearing (not that this is something interesting to me, it’s an example). and then, do they change? do we want one thing when we are young and another thing when we are older (cause i am just older, not old). andreas is pretty much the opposite of patrick. i mean, they are both clever, creative, sexy men. but andreas is an extrovert and patrick is an introvert. patrick is scientific and andreas is creative (though patrick could be creative, we threw great dinner parties, and andreas can be technical, he was a web guy). andreas leads and patrick follows. andreas is a brunet and patrick is a blond. but what about relationship related stuff? andreas communicates, patrick didn’t. does that mean that my relationship with andreas has been better? because andreas communicates? patrick and i were together a long time, so, i can’t say that one relationship is better than the other. andreas has tried pretty hard. i never sensed that patrick tried. of course, that could be simply a matter of not being able to see patrick’s tries. he was an introvert after all. maybe he tried but i just couldn’t see it. which feels like it doesn’t count when you are in it. but i can’t ignore the possibility now. if i just free think, i think things like, i want someone that is excited about what is going on in my life. who wants to hear about nursing school and how i think i might have my insurance finally worked out but it also looks like congress isn’t going to continue funding the program. and that things like this make me really excited and really scared. i want someone i am sexual compatible with (hee hee). i want someone that thinks, while sitting at their desk, “i wonder how heather is doing right now? i wonder if that awful teacher X is driving her up the wall?” i had someone say that to me once, only it wasn’t teacher X, it was coworker W. they told me that they thought about me and worried if coworker W was making my life miserable that day. they worried about me. even though they knew i could handle it (which, in the end, i couldn’t, but even i didn’t know that). that felt awesome. uh…i like having similar values, but, having the same exact beliefs is kinda boring. i like to debate. is that a really important one though? i want someone that likes attending my events. even if they don’t love the event, they like going because they see how i like it. andreas and i are very different in our styles of living life. he isn’t a schedule/plan guy. i try to go to bed at the same time every night (which i didn’t manage to do tonight obviously). does that really matter? what really matters? is it just a sense that the other person will work with you on it? that some things are important to you and some things are important to them and you’ll negotiate what works for both of you ultimately? is that overly anal? when i think about my marriage with patrick, for me, it was about sensing engagement. sensing a desire to engage. at least that was the best i could explain it at the time. is that what i am looking for in all my relationships? cause my relationship with andreas feels different than my relationship with patrick and i don’t think things like “i wish andreas and i did Y like patrick and i did”. i feel like it is important for me to understand what i am looking for, and i can’t explain it to myself. i know i want a sense that my partner thinks of me. i know i want sexual compatibility. i know, every now and again, thinking of me might mean giving me a present. not for the present, but for the thinking. for the surprise (which is not a request, i am free thinking here). i want someone that doesn’t think exactly like i do, but is willing to talk about it. (i think this matters, i am not sure). and they would be ok with the differences. the problem seems to be, how do you look into your everyday life and say “this is what i need”? is that even possible? and does what a partner DOESN’T have/do matter once they are a partner? i mean, one can’t be everything to anyone, so what really matters? or am i just talking about love? am i trying to define love? love is NOT just being there for you when you need them. (that comes from my history and is sort of random, but i can’t leave it out). seems like love is very individual. my mom has called me on the first day of school for fall and spring. that felt like love to me. she remembered i started school that day and cared enough to call and see how it was going. so what is the feeling that gives me? what do you call that? it isn’t just about dates, it is about things that are important in my life. right now i think that feeling is the basis for love for me. i think it goes up from there. i don’t think that is the only thing i look for. but i think that is the base. is that a trip from my childhood? perhaps. doesn’t that fact matter? it might if my partner, who loves me, has a hard time with things like that. i mean, seriously, that can’t be the only way to define love. so here’s a question…is the key to finding love successfully finding someone that defines love like you do? or can give love like you need it? even if it is a childhood trip? that doesn’t seem fair. seems like you might be missing out on a bunch of people that would be darn good people to be in love with just because your love signals are different. unless that is what love really means. poop. this is complicated and i am already 41 years old. all of this goes both ways too. i mean, if i have expectations, so would my partner. i am really annoyed by not being able to articulate what i need in a relationship. what love looks like to me. i should work on this. when i don’t have homework.