Here’s a question I’ve had a chance to ask recently,
How does a relationship go for you?
Does that makes sense? I can’t think of another way to word it, without sounding overly-analytical (a charge I’ve been accused of more than once). But it’s an important question since obviously different people see relationships differently. This in defense to the oft-repeated instructions to ‘not think so much!’. I mean, how can I not? It’s like telling a person to ‘not breathe so much’ or something like that. Do I like, literally, count the breaths I take…or thoughts I have? Do I hang a NO ENTRY board across my forehead?
I have it quite figured out in my mind (never mind the fact that I don’t have one success story to back it up). A basic framework model of assessing relationships. True to my nature, it’s a checklist (a series of them actually). So here goes the one titled ‘Indications that it’s a great first date’:
- Don’t run away at the sight of each other
- Get beyond the first hello
- Are able to talk about things other than how both of you know the person who introduced you, what the weather is like and the latest movie/book/play
- Laugh (and not nervously)
- Lose track of time at least once (“I didn’t realize how long we’ve been talking!”)
- Want to meet again
These are the action points of the first meeting and if you should proceed further only if they ALL check off.
Let’s go one level higher and discuss the ‘Key Areas of a Relationship’:
- Comfort Level
- Shared Grounds (hobbies, beliefs, social circles)
- Complementing (as opposed to similar) Personalities
Each one needs to be constantly monitored for absolute level and vis-a-vis the others. All of them are important but the actual weightages can vary from relationship to relationship and over time as well. Conversations, meetings and incidents are opportunities to explore and validate each of the important areas.
Sometimes it gets confusing. (Hell, whoever said love was easy?) For example,
- Differing points of view can extend your Respect for each other’s intelligence and independence but what does that do to Comfort Level and Complementing Personalities?
- How does sex play out – If there’s too much Comfort Level, do Attraction and Fun suffer?
- Is Committment possible without Attraction or can it actually cover for the lack of it?
- Can Respect replace Shared Grounds? And vice versa?
- How important is Complementing Personalities? Can a relationship sustain if it is strong on the others but not on this?
- How do Fun and Committment offset each other? Or do they clash and inevitably get entangled with Respect?
That’s all the lists I’m going to put up on this blog (and if think they’re brilliant, remember you got it here first!). I can just see a whole lot of men I know shaking their heads in disbelief. Oddly enough, women are the ones accused of being ‘over-emotional’ and not practical enough.
Personally I don’t see any problem in being analytical about relationships. Being analytical is not mutually exclusive to being emotional. I can be and am, both. After all, your emotions are your most valuable resource – they dictate how you feel about what you do and hence who you do it with and how well you do it. Damned if I’m going to fritter them away without an eye on the balance-sheet of the relationship. Besides, don’t forget that I am a woman; I was born with a masters degree in Relationships and a Ph.D. in Emotion. 🙂