How to Be in a Relationship

When I was in Toronto, many years ago, I stumbled upon this book called How to Be Single, by Liz Tuccillo. Tuccillo is one half of the duo who wrote He's Just Not That Into You. Both movies have been made a movie, which makes me think the woman might be on to something ... well, insightful, or an insight that women relate to. I remember having actual laugh out loud moments when I read How to Be Single, which took, hmm, 6 years to master. If finally admitting to yourself that you yourself is the best companion you can ever have, then I can consider to have mastered it.

The truth is, and I'm not even in a decade, silver, golden anniversary kind of relationship, is that it can take quite some time to adjust, when you've come from a long bout of being single. Whereas it used to be that I only have one mind to follow (mine) when it comes to making decisions, I now have another, sometimes too similar, sometimes incredibly different mind to consider. Logistics are not central to my place of living or place of work, which is within a 1 km. range with each other. It now involves two other cities now that I also call home some days.

I'm writing this piece because I want to put down in writing what I have experienced so far. It hasn't been long, but it's been wonderful, some days make me just want to get lost. But this is my story, my experience, and hopefully you get to know me more here, or learn something new.

  1. It's not at all rosy all the time. I don't know about you but lately, my feed nowadays are all about "How to Know You're in the Right Relationship" or stuff like "Ten Signs that It's Time to Break Up." My guess is not a lot of us know best our own relationships and all this hook up, hugot culture is messing us up. True, nowadays, it's not all roses and chocolates and chivalry comes in other forms like midnight sashimi runs, the last piece of chocolate or sitting through chick flicks. There will be fights, yes, but it also makes you guffaw out loud when the other person stands across the room, trying to make you laugh.

  2. You will learn to be generous. I had no idea how selfish I was until I was faced with having to split my resources {time, money, attention}, aka same feeling of sharing your toys when you were a little girl. This relationship has made me give what I have, and realize I can't be the only one who just receives all the time. Giving away those, though, came with a good feeling because for the first time, you actually like sharing your things.

  3. Love comes in many forms. My last ex was the kind of man who would write me poetry, walk through floodwater with me, express his love for me in the language of Pablo Neruda, scour the world for the best gifts and wants to be together all the time. He's the kind who would impress your friends with his good boy nature and bring everybody home when they're drunk. He has set my standards high, for he made me feel like I was the most beautiful girl in the world with all the love and the love languages of the world: time, service, quality time, touch and words of affirmation. I have never been so devoted to. However, he could not give me his commitment that I wanted. In a lot of ways, I am thankful for that relationship, but I know now that it will require special discernment to see and have what is truly important. I am not with the wordiest man in the world, but I have what I want and need and more. Love doesn't come in the form of expensive gifts, but they come in the form of a key to each other's apartment, or getting to know each other's family, or dipping toes into things the other person likes. It's being taught what he knows. It's knowing where things are headed, but also at the same time, being happily excited and scared of what's coming for the both of you.

  4. It's thinking of what can make the other happy. I have to admit that the real source of learning to love unconditionally is 1) Jesus and 2) when I had my puppy, Butters. I wake up thinking what could make him happy today? Does doing this make him happy? Does it honor his presence in my life? For the first time in my life, I have someone else to think about other than "does this make me happy?"

  5. Hold on to your sense of self. It can be maddening, when you get to a point that most of your activities are centered on each other. I say this tip for two things: 1) Being in a relationship means you can't stop being interesting {but being boring together is also ok!} and b) the need for the two of you to grow together and individually is imminent. Continue pursuing that yoga practice, read your books, complete your hobbies. And at the end of the day, you both learn something from the other.

Thoughts on relationships? :) If you want to read more, check out this link via The Greatist.