Compromising Positions

A sex ed blog with more

Relationship Goals

I met a German couple while traveling in Philippines, and it made me so happy to see them interact. I often wonder how partners manage while staying in hostels or cheaper accommodations: very little privacy, constantly surrounded by others, in very hot and humid areas. I have terrible heat rash right now, and don’t sleep super well in the heat. I don’t want to be cuddled or touched or held because it is too. damn. hot. and I feel gross, like all the time. So, I’m impressed. These two were so kind and caring. They were able to joke and laugh with and at each other, be sweet, be honest when a partner needed a shower or when trying to find a machete to buy was a stupid idea (a hilarious and multi-day issue, might I add).

We went island hopping for a couple of days, and I really appreciated how they continuously checked in on each other. I never felt excluded or uncomfortable, and I could really tell how much they enjoy each other’s company. They would be doing different things (like one would read or snorkel while the other would climb palm trees or explore an island or fish), but every so often they’d have a quiet little chat; likely about nothing super important, maybe about what they’d seen or share a quiet joke. And there were many times throughout our 5 days together that I thought ‘I want that. I am so happy for them. They have such love between them. Do I have that?’

So now I am really thinking about what ‘relationship goals’ really means to me. Is it a general concept? Several specifics? An achievable ideal? A pipe dream never to come true? In the last couple of years I’ve come to view romantic relationships in a healthier way, I think. Now, I believe that we are with our partners when we need them and want them in our lives, and it’s okay if and when that shifts.

Each person I have dated long term is significantly different from the last, based on what and who I need at the time. When I was young, I was worried that I would never know romantic love; and more than that, I was afraid that I would love someone who did not love me in return. Thank goodness I’ve had 4 loves in 10 years to prove me wrong.

Potentially unpopular opinion: the notion of one true love or soulmate is bullshit, as evidenced by anyone who has been in love with more than one person in their life. Some people are able and interested in romantically loving more than one person simultaneously, while others choose only one romance at a time, and still others prefer not to be romantically involved. Who these romantic involvements may be is entirely a matter of circumstance: have we met? Do we like each other? Are we both at a time and place in our lives when we could date? Have we chosen to spend a lot of time together? These are all important things that make a difference. We may have hundreds of romantic soulmates all over the world that we’ve never met, simply because we have always been in different places at different times.

I have come to realize that I have several BIG relationship goals for myself.

  1. I am my first priority. I am very good at putting others’ needs first and taking care of others, but I have recently come to realize that I need to love up myself first and then share it with the world.
  2. Lay as much of my shit out as early as I feel comfortable, but don’t be a dick about it. I heard a friend say ‘You’ve got to let the crazy out a little at a time, so then they already really like you before they know all of your demons.’ I think that’s super problematic. First, I think honesty is important, especially about big things; I would be upset with a partner who didn’t tell me something that impacts their regular life because context allows greater understanding. Second, I don’t like referring to history or emotional responses as ‘crazy’ because it makes light of potentially serious and damaging stereotypes about neuroatypical individuals. Third, surprise baggage can pop up at any time and it is just as valid as known reasons for certain responses.
  3. I need to feel taken care of, while maintaining my independence. This does not need to look a certain way because my ideas of being taken care of and independent are likely to shift.
  4. Emotional intelligence is so, so important to me. For example, when I say ‘here is my insecurity’ the necessary response is ‘where do you think that comes from?’ or ‘why do you think this is bothering you right now?’ or ‘have you felt this before?’ NOT something like ‘well, I haven’t given you any reason to feel that way.’ It’s not about you, it’s about ME, and maybe you’re affected.
  5. I process externally. I NEED to talk about things to understand them. It means that I ramble and my method of getting from point A to point B is often filled with twists, turns, and loops. So, don’t pay attention to what I said at the beginning or along the way. Ask me questions to help me reach a conclusion, or be a sounding board for me to figure myself out, and then focus on point B.
  6. When my emotional needs are met, I am a much happier and nicer person. I will not stand for being treated like garbage, or being told that my emotions are invalid or too much. I have a big personality, but I am not too much. I am enough, and I am amazing (and it has taken too damn long for me to reach this point of certainty).

I am very interested to hear others’ relationship goals. How have they changed? What have you always known?

One comment on “Relationship Goals

  1. Nikki
    May 2, 2017

    I love how you’ve beautifully articulated all of your thoughts on this! ❤

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