my friend ross wrote me about the relationship thing and said that the good relationships were those based on mutual respect and love. that relationships based on shared interests often fail because one person’s interest in the uniting activity changes, and then they can’t relate. i totally agree with those statements. he went further to say that a teacher had remarked that week that men want respect and women want love. if a woman respects her man and a man expresses love for his woman, all is right. and i mostly agree with that. i think respect IS love to men. but i also wonder how women are supposed to express this respect. and doesn’t the experience of love vary widely for different women? for instance, if a man says that he loves me, i am highly skeptical. words aren’t love to me. action is. i see proactive interest as love (my therapist explained it slightly differently today, but i will get to that). so, i agreed with ross, but i want more detail. today i got it with my therapist.
the universal rule for a successful relationship is one of two things. first, find someone that has the same expectations for a relationship as you. by expectations i mean things like “we will do everything together” or “we will do a few things together” or “i want you to attend all my events” or “i want to share my experiences with you when i get home from my events”, etc. OR, two, you find someone that has different expectations than you but is willing to give you what you need, as you are willing to give them what they need. i realize that isn’t a very specific rule AND it means one most know, consciously, and in a manner that one can articulate, what one’s expectations are. which is no easy thing. not to mention actually finding that person. but i have been much more freaked out this week NOT knowing what to look for, than facing the possibility that i won’t be able to find it. i am very plan oriented and now i have a plan. these are action items i can work on while i try and find this person.
my original expectation of andreas was of a purely sexual relationship. though he expressed having the same expectation to start with, that changed at about the 6 month mark. i did not change that perspective until month 14 and i think the change may have been more a product of having been together so long, and having our experiences together increase to a point, i had to admit, more was going on. my expectations still didn’t change for like 6 more months. but i think it was too late then. it was too late for me to bring new expectations in. oh well. live and learn.
with Patrick, there were no discussions about expectations until couples counseling. but by then, i think the damage had been done. there are plenty of blogs about that.
so, what are my expectations? this is how my therapist explained it…i want to be known. i don’t need to attend everything with my partner. they don’t need to attend everything with me. but they DO have to want to know about my experiences and how i felt about the event. they have to be curious about me. they have to want to know me. that is my expectation. when i first started seeing andreas, on saturday night, i would go to Elysium, he would go see improv and then we would either meet for a snack at denny’s, then go home and have sex or i would go denny’s, then his house and we would have sex. i loved that. that was perfect for me. the quality time together was sharing our evenings, in retrospect, and then knowing each other sexually. this doesn’t mean i want to live such a separate life from my optimal partner. i would rather do things we both enjoy. but i would also like the freedom and agreement, to enjoy things separately. i expect communication, to be willing to process things and work it out. i expect respectful push back. there are some other things too. but the “interest and effort in knowing me” seems pretty key.
next task, how to explain this and then determine the answer with prospective partners. suggestions welcome!