Relationship problems can be so complicated, especially when the other person has their own set of baggage, not to mention your’s. However, before you get involved, it’s helpful to know what you want first.
I think some people think of relationships as one big mystery in life. They seem to have everything else in their lives figured out pretty well, but it’s the damn relationships that they just can’t get a grasp of no matter what they do. I think relationships are just like any other challenge we’re tackling— you need to know what you want first.
Know What You Want
What are your goals and objectives? Are you looking for a long-term thing right now or a short-term casual, just-for-fun thing? Are you looking for sex ASAP or do you know you’ll get attached to anyone you sleep with so you really can’t handle a casual thing?
Are you truly in the right mental space to be dating right now? Which was the subject of my last post. Make sure you are being really honest with yourself and not just wishing you’re ready to move on, when you haven’t really yet. Or doing casual sex because you’re horny or lonely or both, when you can’t really handle a casual thing and then end up getting hurt later.
For example, I have dabbled in casual sex. For a while I may have reveled in it. It was fine, it was what I did. Good. OK. However, there came a point when I stopped. And I’m glad I stopped when I realized I needed to stop. I was with this hot Korean dude and by the end I felt like he was using me. I had become quite smitten by him and was hurt that he was able to callously have this satisfying one-way sexual experience and not at all be worried that I didn’t feel the same way. I guess that’s when I realized it wasn’t casual anymore— I actually cared, cared enough to be hurt— and maybe my time of casual stuff was over. At least for the time being. So I stopped. I also decided to stop having casual sex altogether. Probably because that last experience tainted me and also because I realized I had changed.
Don’t Judge Yourself either. If it’s a casual thing you’re hankering for, go for it. If you want to get married yesterday that’s fine too. Just be sure you’re sure about what you’ve decided because you won’t be happy unless it’s what you are looking for. Don’t let other people’s expectations of you affect your decision either.
Communicate What You Want
Once you are clear with yourself on what you want and are ready to handle then you need to communicate it to the other person. If you are dating more than one person at the same time then go ahead and tell them that’s what you’re doing. It can make you seem more desirable—that you’re testing out the waters— and people will appreciate that you’re being open and honest with them.
For example, several years ago I fell into a routine with this one guy. He was a nice companion for me at the time, but we also didn’t have the exclusivity conversation either. He didn’t ask what or who else I was doing with my time. I didn’t tell him I was seeing other people— I’m not sure I even had the time to— but I liked that our relationship wasn’t exclusive. Essentially we both hadn’t decided to really commit to each other yet. And pretty soon it was clear to me that he wasn’t able to prioritize me the way I’d want a real partner to and I moved onto someone else. But honesty was still the base of our relationship even if I didn’t tell him details about what I was doing outside of our time together.
Regularly Assess Your Wants
We change and grow (hopefully). What you’re ready for in a few months you may not be able to fathom now. And that’s fine. Like I mentioned before I stopped having casual sex when it didn’t feel right to me anymore. Or shortly after I broke up with the abusive guy in Hawaii I was only able to do short-term relationships because I obviously wasn’t ready to emotionally commit to a long-term thing. Maybe I would have liked to, but I was really way too non-trusting at the time to stay with anyone for more than a month. As nice as they were.
I’m Not Ready for Anything Right Now
Sometimes you’re not ready for anything, and that’s a really important realization to have and to admit to oneself. I think it’s also a really common mistake people make. They start dating when they’re not yet in the right mental state to do so. Just speaking for myself, I have had such a roller coaster, up and down summer with enough drama to fill 2 whole B-rated movies that I need some chill me-time before I can start dating again. Even though the official break-up was a few months ago, no matter. As much as I could fall into the tempting fun of exciting new admirers, getting me giddy and distracting me, I know I could not fully devote my clear and undivided attention to them. Not to mention my heart which I believe is scattered somewhere, who knows where, but I probably want to gather up the pieces and take the time to kiss my bruises before I start gallivanting head-on into another love-stricken, passionate whirlwind.
Questions: What do you want or don’t want in a relationship right now? Do you usually tell the other person exactly what it is you’re looking for?