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Single-Long Term Relationships
Section 2: From Single to Relationship- Considerations
You’ve been such an amazing student that you’ve successfully met a woman that you’re sincerely interested in. The chemistry is there, the compatibility seems to be there, you find yourself holding conversations for hours and your time together is fun and exciting. Ahhh, the joy of new romance. I’m here to share some thoughts on transitioning into…dare I say it? Commitment.
If you’ve been single for a while, there are likely a few reasons why. Either you have:
A. Been a bit of a commitment-phobe and have chosen instead to be a pro at dating
B. Been reluctantly single and wanted to have a girlfriend really, really badly
C. Met some interesting women, but haven’t yet found that right connection that makes you want to take yourself off the market
I want to offer some thoughts to ponder as you consider moving into a relationship and as always, how to do it with class and integrity.
First of all, know that if you’re in the throws of new woman bliss, your brain is being inundated with some wickedly powerful brain chemistry. As you will read further in the Primitive Brain track, you are experiencing the release of neurotransmitters that are making you feel really, really good. Not that the connection you feel with this special lady is inflated or not genuine, but the novelty that a new woman brings is particularly potent. How do you think we’ve survived as a species? Your brain rewards you with these feel-good concoctions that keep you wanting more and more.
This is important to understand because women and men alike get swept up in the moment where logic and reason go to die. These sensations, often confused with genuine love, can influence behavior in some radical ways. From major life changes and decisions to seriously impactful financial choices, many couples in the throws of “love” are really experiencing the power of hormones and brain chemistry at work. With that said, I don’t want to rain on your parade and dash your excitement about this new person. I do want you to fully understand the forces at work here and take a step back to see a bigger picture.
If you’re a serial monogamist or have desperately wanted a relationship in your life, there’s a strong possibility that you may come on a bit too strong. I have a story about a good friend of mine. He’s what most would consider a “Whole Package”…kind, caring, talented, good looking, got his finances and his life in order with a robust social life. He dates quite a lot, but hasn’t been “in love” for quite awhile and associates his last real romance as the last time he was truly “happy”.
He met a great woman that he clicked with immediately and had a tremendous amount of excitement about. From witty to ambitious, beautiful to down to earth, he was head over heels…WAY too over his head. So much so that he started talking and planning about the future before he’d even sealed up the present. So eager to have another long term relationship and another spell of happiness, that he sent the budding relationship into hyper-speed….right out of his life. He unconsciously did the same thing he’s done with other prospects; he jumped into the future without first laying the foundation of the present. The worst part about it was that he had some awareness of this particular pattern of his and even predicted that it would happen again! This is a perfect example of what can happen when guys get so eager (the origin of this is really feeling a sense of inadequacy) that they push to fill in the holes in their hearts with a new woman.
Even though on the surface, it appears that he’s got his shit together, it didn’t take a Master’s Degree in Psychology for this woman to sense his desperation and feelings of insecurity. Like men, women respond to clinginess and neediness with caution and anxiety. Mental notes and red flags begin to appear, which is the opposite of the calm, relaxed (still passionate, just without anxiety) state that long term relationships are built upon. What my friend didn’t realize is that the last time he felt real happiness in his life was not because of the romance, but because it was the last time that he felt great about himself. His feelings of worth and value naturally attracted a great woman into his life. He had it backwards, as many do…start with the inside and the outside stuff organically follows.
Moral of the story…take it slow. If you like her today, you’ll probably like her tomorrow. There’s no need to rush. Though including references of the future can give her a sense of your interest, make sure that it’s tempered and that you’re paying attention to what’s happening right now. A guy who’s offering a Better Deal demonstrates his worth and value as he goes, naturally.
But I’ll be Missing Out…
For those of you who have been on the dating circuit awhile, you may feel a bit hesitant to take yourself off the map. Perhaps juggling several women and the fast-paced lifestyle that goes along with it has been your norm and thoughts of a long-term relationship conjure up thoughts of FOMS disorder….
Indeed, you may no longer have to remember which woman you took where so that you can keep everything straight; you may not have late nights of chasing women or the perception that freedom only comes with singlehood. What you may gain is another set of experiences…in the form of deepening your connection with another person with true intimacy, the comfort that comes with allowing yourself to be who you really are (and not just running game), let alone the great sex that goes with learning about someone’s turn-ons and body is another possibility for yourself.
The notion of “missing” is a strange one to me because you’re simply allowing yourself to have a different set of life experiences. Just because you choose to spend more time with a particular woman doesn’t mean that you’ll never have other experiences again. I have a personal motto that I aspire to live by and that’s to have a full range of life experiences and try not to duplicate too much of life. I think that one of the reasons men and women fear making a commitment to a single person is that they have a set idea of what this would look like. Images of “old married couples” or having a “ball and chain” to the “old Lady” come to mind. Who the hell wants this for themselves? Can we please collectively agree that these notions are not the norm nor are they something that everyone’s relationship will become?
You can have whatever kind of arrangement floats your boat. From open relationships to monogamy with excitement and passion, you get to ask for and seek out what works for you. I can hear the objections now, “But she won’t let me flirt/play/sleep with other women.” Maybe she won’t, but there are women who will. Or maybe, “I always get bored once I have a girlfriend.” Maybe that’s because you or she is not so interesting. Ever considered the fact that you’re the common denominator? I could go on and on, but the point here is that it’s time to abolish these old, decrepit notions of what relationships can or should be. If you’re willing to ask for it and put yourself in target rich environments where you can get it, then you do not have to settle for antiquated notions of long-term partnership.
Another story…different guy friend of mine, same story as the one above…great guy all around and a fantastic catch. He had not been in a relationship for a while, mostly because he became quite fond of the single lifestyle and what it gave him the freedom of doing; from going where he wanted to sleeping with who he wanted. Because of the level of confidence and comfort he exuded, it was no wonder that he wound up meeting a fantastic woman that he hit it off with. More complete than most of the others that he’d met, he found himself more and more drawn to her.
When they decided to become exclusive with each other, they put forth the parameters of a relationship that each would like. He explained his desire to be with her, yet still wanted the ability (with full honesty) to flirt and play with other women. She expressed the desire for the same and that the possibility of having new experiences within the relationship gave her a sense of excitement as well. Instead of compromising their true desires, they were willing to be honest about their wants. In speaking to them, they explained that even though they were really into one another, had either not wanted the same things, they would have moved on…not because they were inflexible, but because they knew that there were others out there who would be compatible with their true natures.
As it turns out, they wound up exploring those outside options less than they thought they would (having the option of doing so took some of the rebellious excitement out of it). They wound up enjoying a new experience of a deeper connection with one another. Had they not thought that this kind of arrangement was possible, they would never have had this new experience. Though this arrangement may not be your cup of tea, I use this as an example of a larger point….
Moral of the story…a long-term relationship can look like anything you want it to be. A man who offers a Better Deal knows what he brings to the table and is confident enough to go forth into new experiences with excitement and curiosity.
Now that we’ve covered some of the misnomers and common considerations, how exactly do you do a long-term relationship? Read onto the next section for some ideas…