When I think back over time about my dating relationships, three things ring key to me that were important in all of them. I have not been a serial dater, but have had my share of serious boyfriends over the last 10 years. The three things I will discuss below are things that could have been worked on in all of them and if they had, one of them might have just been Mr. Right. It takes two in a relationship to make any of the things below work. One person can strongly pull the relationship in all these areas, but if both are not willing to make these a priority I think it will be hard to fully gain the full potential in the relationship from either person. However, this is just my opinion. This blog will be from the viewpoint of women in heterosexual relationships. I can’t speak from other standpoints as they have not been my experiences.
I listed communication first on purpose. We start early on in our lives learning how to communicate. As a baby you watch and associate movements, sounds, and visions with certain things all before we learn how to talk. As we grow up, many of us communicate with people similarly to the way our family and friends did in our environment growing up or you realized that you wanted to have a different style of communication. The things we experience with growing up have a lot to do with the way we manage our relationships. I am not saying that rings true for everyone. However, I would strongly say majority of people. As you are learning yourself, maturing, and starting to date many of us learn how to communicate with the opposite gender or same depending on your dating preference. Communication can vary from verbal, body language, and nonverbal cues. One must think of how they would want to be talked to before they enter into relationships with their preference in gender for dating. Many of us will speak of what we want out of a relationship but have no idea how to effectively communicate in our everyday lives through family and friends. As two people are getting to know one another the way you communicate with one another can play a big role on where things are headed. In my early 20’s the way I communicated with men is different than the way I communicate with them now. My priorities have changed and as I continue to grow the conversation piece is very different. I learned early on, I had no appreciation for someone with a lot of talk and no action or someone that thought they could talk to me “out the side of their neck” because they were not used to what I brought to the table. However, through it all it has helped me learn what I am looking for in a mate and made me think of the way I talk with someone I am dating. I have been guilty of speaking harshly or directing someone I was dating. I can’t say honestly that I knew or realized it at the time. Once someone brought it to my attention, I realized in that relationship I did that because I felt I could not count on that individual to lead me as a man would lead his wife and therefore we needed to discuss some things in the event that was where we were headed. The communication piece for me is huge. If I can communicate with you about my religion/spirit, my day, my family, friends, and my fears then I can be vulnerable with you. Communication between two people in a relationship many times leads to if a person can trust who they are with. If you can’t open up about the things most important to you, how to you ever grow to trust them? If you can’t open up about your mistakes or where things could have been done differently in your life, will you be able to do so when mistakes happen in your relationship?
Trust is generally earned along the way with most people. I was always different in this area as I would always give people my trust upfront until you gave me a reason to doubt you or not believe you. For most, this is opposite. Trust while dating normally comes along with time and viewing how someone can keep things you have shared or be there as you are going through your journey. Trust can easily be broken when there have been lies (even small ones), infidelity, and no accountability where there should be some. I listed trust next because for me if we have learned how to communicate while trying to date and I have given you my trust, and we are well on our way. We are headed down a pretty good road, not to say there won’t be bumps along the way. This is an area that is hard to repair once it is broken. I mentioned little lies above because many feel little lies won’t make a difference, but it really comes down to what you are trying to do in this relationship. If you are looking for something that you can start with a foundation and be built on; can you do that with nothing but lies (even the small ones)? Some would say yes and overtime getting on the straight and narrow will make all the difference and for some it will. Many would disagree as one little lie normally turns into more down the road. I can tell you from a female stand point that if you can’t be honest with me on the small things like shoes, hair, cloths, etc. then it will be hard to believe you will be honest with harder questions come into play. For example, I received an email that surfaces between you and a coworker. How do you know her? What was the discussion? I may ask these questions already knowing the answer, but wanting to hear if you are willing to tell me the truth. It is not about playing a game, but instead of jumping to conclusions one can just ask. I would say it can be approached in a discussion manner (communicate) this way your response and how you handle the situation may let me know if my trust in them remains the same. This is a real example from one snippet of my life and I can assure you that my response was calm in tone when I started asking questions. However, when you feel the trust is broken and someone you have invested years in won’t open up about it, trust in that person can change quickly. If the trust is broken or starts to be questioned; can you or do you still have respect for that person?
Respect is as important as love in a relationship. This was taken from the www.frankiejohn.com. I am not sure how you feel about respect, but I feel if you can’t respect the person you are trying to build something with, there may not be a future. As the quote says above, I think it is hard to get through the hard times with someone when you have no respect for them as a person, the things they desire to do, or aspire to be. Please don’t confuse this with agreeing to all or understanding them all. If you are looking to build a future with someone and have no respect for them, where does that leave you in the rough times? I know from experience that love is not always enough to keep a person there or a relationship going. However, with the three combined it definitely will help me figure out if I am willing to stay through those times. The view on respect, just as the other two areas will be different from person to person. You have to know what you respect about people or are willing to learn about them to see if you have any respect for them. Respect will not be used universally, so you also in the midst of building this foundation with this person have to be clear on why you respect them. I say this because there will come a time when something will be done or said and the peanut gallery will be get involved in these conversations. If you aren’t sure why you love and respect the man or women you are with, this will cause you to question that foundation or why you are there. Take time to get to know him or her for who they are and why they are the way they are; as everyone’s story leads to understanding them better. I am not saying you will respect them by knowing their background, but through this you get a better understand of maybe why they handle situations the way they do. If you choose to discuss their background or what makes them who they are, you are coming full circle back to communication.
As I mentioned prior, these are things I see as very important things in a dating relationship. I have been in some interesting relationships and learned something from all of them. They were not bad guys, but we just had different priorities and things to work on. In my prior engagement, these were all things that were great in the beginning, but over time did not stay consistent; hence I am not married to him now. I am not saying these three things would have kept us together, but things would have had a chance of working out if these three things and God remained at the forefront.
Please join me as I get to join Lady T on the online radio show Say Something on TMIradio.com on Wednesday, September 3rd at 6 PM. She will be discussing The Ways You Can Tell You Are in a Bad Relationship.