Hotter than a fantasy, lonely like a highway...

By 2:05 PM

There's something about getting older and watching your friends either a) get married, b) pop out babies or c) do both to make you start to think about your own life and desires. On top of that, I've started reading "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert, if I didn't need things pushing me to question placement and position.

After much deliberation and musing with a dear friend, I've concluded it comes down to asking 3 questions.

  • 1) What does a relationship mean to you?
  • 2) What do you want/expect from a relationship?
  • 3) What do you want or are willing to give to your partner? What are you bringing to the table? And what are you willing to sacrifice/draw the boundary of limitations or threshold of  willing sacrifice?
And sometimes how well a couple deals with/adapts to change as Liz says,
"marriage is making a very big promise to love someone you haven't met yet..."

I believe these are probably the 3 hardest questions I've ever had to brow beat in my life. Another friend, much older, had told me to make a list of what I want/don't want from a relationship to make decisions. Imagine how much easier answering these questions would've been now.

Question 2 people generally have an answer to... be it superficial or depth. That's how arguments and complaints start after the honeymoon phase of the relationship departs. Everyone, whether they admit it or not, enters with expectations. Additionally, whether they are willing to admit it or not, even if these expectations are put aside for the sake of the relationship it eventually builds some sort of resentment for your partner or with yourself. Kind of like waking up one morning and wondering "What the hell happened? What am I doing here with this person?" There's actually a scene in Gilbert's book where she constantly finds herself either on the floor or in the bathroom, unhappy with her life yet unable to pin point what exactly was going wrong and her partners just going in essence "stop being stupid and come to bed." After a couple years of marriage, she realized she and her partner were not compatible. She spent a great part of the relationship hoping her ideals would eventually match his - he wanted the traditional family, kids, picket fence and she wanted to travel the world and see what life still had to offer. At 30, she found herself happy every time the pregnancy test showed negative whilst she and her husband were trying for a kid. I mean, I'm not quite done with the book yet and I'm still not sure about how I feel about her leaving her marriage. She felt selfish about leaving, to some extent I see it as selfish too... When you take vows, it has to count for something. But then again, when you take vows you're also vowing to play your part of the agreement. What happens in a contract if someone fails to perform their promises, the contract becomes void.

However, looking around at the married people I know. I find myself questioning how happy these couples really are and whether the role of the woman  ultimately involves a lot more accepting of "This is just the way a man is" (and in fewer --- in my opinion cases "This is just the way a woman is")than a fair balance of roles and duty fulfillment. In these cases, I wonder --- why haven't you left yet? And what makes some people ok with leaving, as painful it may be, and others not? I'm not a divorce advocate but I'm not a stay and suffer advocate either. Is it truly possible to turn things around and get it back on track - for relationships in general - married or not? And how does one go about letting their partner see the hurt without offense to inspire change and resolution?

My friend jokingly said, "Shellon, you have to keep in mind Elizabeth Gilbert is a white woman in America who thinks she can get back all her money not a black woman in the Caribbean that feels that leaving means leaving all that you've invested and ending up with nothing." So... maybe it's a cultural something. Maybe not.

But yea, I've been ping ponging those questions back and forth coming up with my own answers. Honestly, I haven't come up with anything extremely conclusive. However, I've figured what it doesn't mean to me and what I don't want. For me, I think it means appreciating moments of being alone (personal space) while never having to be lonely. (I don't see the point of getting into a relationship to be lonely & have to find someone else to do stuff with on a regular - that kinda hunt is for single folks) Ultimately sharing your life with someone toward a mutual goal, and being a supportive base for separate goals...helping each other to be a better person and the best version of themselves.

And what do I have to give? To say everything is a vague statement, not to mention a tad cliche. I'm still uncertain but it's safe to say anything I'm willing to request, I'm willing to give. However, that's not to say the person you're with necessarily would want the things that you want or have similar expectations. Knowing myself though, I believe I'm willing to make reasonable compromises... 

All in all, they're some pretty good questions to ask but very difficult to answer. I don't think many people even bother to ask these questions and I'm willing to bet many more don't have a real answer.

Perhaps, when it comes to relationships it's half and half a compromised reality of acceptance of what it isn't and a love and appreciation for what it is.

What do you think?

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  1. Cristofre Martin2:27 PM

    I might work on number 3 more ... because I think it is a two pointed
    question. What are you willing to give ... can mean what do you offer
    ... but also what are you willing to sacrifice? IE. what can you
    give in to? Where is the threshold when you say ... wooooo ... that is
    unacceptable, off limits, or you can't do that.

    The other HUGE HUGE HUGE issue ... is how does a couple deal with change over time. Cause shit really does change
    I think part of that is just personality and how adaptable a person can
    be, but at the same time change can be something that a couple who have
    already established the rules can find difficult to deal with. How does
    one shoot at a constantly moving target?
    I think to that sometimes ... sometimes ... the changes that happen can
    make people non-compatible. Not by a problem with one person in
    particular but that ... some changes can so dramatically alter the
    answers to your three questions.   So sometimes people just have to agree it doesn't work anymore and there is nothing wrong with admitting that.  However, as you point out ... so times that realization happens after the point of no return ... either because of family, money etc.  That can be a difficult realization.

  2. Link Douglas 52:50 PM

    I like your style of writing #justsaying. Most people I encounter seem to forget this one: 3) What do you want or are willing to give to your partner? What are you bringing to the table? Its sad because its hard to mention it at times harsh or conceited. Also I was brought up to believe marriage should be a 'till death thing' but in reality bad choices, due to several factors, can be made and things just can not work out. Yet at the end of it all I must say "RELATIONSHIPS ARE DANGEROUS..... STAY AWAY!!"

  3. Tfountaine3:09 PM

    1) What does a relationship mean to you?2) What do you want/expect from a relationship?3) What do you want or are willing to give to your partner? What are you bringing to the table? And what are you willing to sacrifice/draw the boundary of limitations or threshold of  willing sacrifice?A relationship is a union between two people that works to enhance their lives through a spiritual and mutually gratifying connection.I expect reality to come out of a relationship, meaning all that encompasses life as we know it. Pain, pleasure, joy, sorrow, ups and downs, but with a healthy balance.I'm willing to  give my partner anything that doesnt compromise my dignity, self respect or health. 

  4. I will absolutely agree with you
    shelli,that’s the same views I possess “Ultimately
    sharing your life with someone toward a mutual goal, and being a supportive
    base for separate goals...helping each other to be a better person and the best
    version of themselves.” I am not in
    support of compromising so much to the extent of losing who you are and letting
    go of your happiness. What makes a person find joy and satisfaction in life should
    not be totally in the hands of his or her partner but  they should only contribute to their
    happiness. Apart from taking time to understand each other, I think what causes
    a lot of break ups and failed marriages today is when CHANGE occur. People
    change when they experience things or become enlightened some way or the other.
    After the honey moon phase this is the period when people change and who you
    once knew at that phase is not the same person anymore. It is important to let
    your partner know how you are changing while you change.

    my opinion, a relationship suppose to make you feel free and not held down. But
    at the same time you share a life together and become selfless and supportive.
    Sounds messed up and confusing I know, but that’s the mystery of TWO becoming
    ONE. You should be willing to do the things you do to support your partner not
    because it’s your duty or responsibility but because of Love. Love should never
    be something forced uncertain or have an ulterior motive. It should be pure, kind,
    selfless. Living life with that person should be effortless and natural.

    lot of people have the misconception that when you are married or prior you own
    the person which I think causes a lot of tension. I for one want a life where I
    can be 100 percent me, and being myself should encourage motivate and allow my
    partner to be the best he can be and of course vice versa. I don’t support
    divorce but I will not and shall not let my wedding RING transform into
    Suffer-RING. Happiness is a choice and people should refuse to be unhappy. Caribbean
    women and men should draw the line somewhere. I am not saying everyday should
    be a bed of roses, a little difficulty is good. But if you love, value and
    respect yourself, no one will dear make a mistake and treat you the way you shouldn’t
    be treated.