I am sure we can all agree that there is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but recently I have come across a few things that have made me wonder, “Have we given up too much of what we expect should be in a relationship?”
I know relationships take work and that the work needed must always be situation- and person-specific. Despite that, I want to share a few of my feelings about what, at minimum, should be a part of any relationship:
– There has to be trust, love, loyalty and respect. (Note: I put trust first, not love.)
– The good times should out weigh the bad times.
– You have to learn the art of compromise.
– No one is perfect.
– There does not have to be a right person or a wrong person.
– One person does not have to complete the other. The two people complement each other; they are strong as individuals but even stronger together.
– Everyone has baggage. You have to decide what are your negotiables and non-negotiables.
My thoughts above really apply to committed relationships between two people. But as I’ve spent some time in the online dating scene, I’ve noticed that not everyone is looking for that kind of relationship at all. Some popular trends I have seen with online dating are “open-relationships”, people in an exclusive committed relationships online looking for friends, and a high percentage of infidelity in relationships just to name a few.
Let’s start with open relationships. It’s not my thing but many opt to take this route. I had a conversation with someone about his open relationship and this is how it went:
Q: How did you and your partner get to have an open relationship?
A: He told me it had to be open or nothing.
Q: Did you agree right away?
Q: What made you give in?
A: I didn’t really want to but he is really good debater. He presented a good case.
Q: Tell me what he said.
A: He said stuff like not having to worry about cheating and referenced some scientific studies about how we aren’t meant to be monogamous.
Q: Are you happy you did it?
A: No and yes. He has been good to me and we have had good times.
Q: Please explain.
A: He will try and give me anything I want materialistically. But I told him I could careless about that stuff.
Q: Do you have an emotional connection to/for him?
A: Hmm. That’s what I have been thinking about lately. We are more like best friends than lovers.
Q: Do you love him?
A: I do love him I am learning he cannot provide things I want. So now I need to just accept he can’t.
This particular couple has been together for several years. I remember a few years ago having the same conversation with another buddy and again, he did it to be in the relationship. Now I am definitely not saying all open relationships are like this. My belief is if both agree to it, who am I to judge them?
Exclusive Committed people using online sites looking for friends
I believe in “single people behavior” and “exclusive committed relationship behavior”. I am sorry, but having a profile on an online site while in an exclusive committed relationship is unacceptable. I think there are other ways to make friends than getting on an online site. Most people on these sites are generally looking for dates or sex. When we open ourselves up to this type of interaction, we invite unnecessary behaviors, like flirting, sexting (including sending nude pictures), and phone sex, just to name a few. Unless you are in an “open relationship”, this is “single people behavior.” Once the two of you decide to be in an “exclusive committed relationship,” all profiles should to be deleted.
Infidelity (emotional and physical)
When it comes to infidelity, I have strong personal views. I believe trust is really important in any relationship and once that is broken, it is very hard for me to trust you again. The person who committed the infidelity must understand that he/she has to earn/regain the trust of the other person. In most cases, I believe a person never cheats only one time. Once he/she figures it can be done, he/she will most likely do it again. However, I do believe that a relationship can work through it with prayer, honest conversation and outside counseling. In most cases, infidelity does not just happen, it is a very conscious/premeditated action.
I am aware that relationships require a lot of work, which includes great communication. That is why it is very important not to rush into them or do things that go against your beliefs. We all want to be in relationships that are happy, make us laugh, and give us lasting, warm memories; we aren’t in them to constantly be upset, hurt and crying. People only do to you what you allow them to do!
In a relationship, honesty and trust must exist. If they don’t, there’s no point in loving. So if you can’t afford to be honest, stay single.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings!