Simple As It Should Be

I had a conversation with a colleague on the elevator the other day, the usual catch-up, “how was your weekend” thing. I said the usual, “the weekend was too short”. He said his was simple. That answer stuck with me. Most times, the answer you’d hear would be like mine: “too short” or “lazy” or “busy” or “fun”. His answer of “simple” made me think: “shouldn’t there be more simplicity in life?” I say yes. We spend far too much time complicating matters by trying to see what’s not there, doing what we shouldn’t or would rather not, or just putting ourselves out for no real reason. Why must we always choose what is pretty much guaranteed to cause us trouble? Why must we always work towards what everyone else says we should work towards? We have increasingly become a society of square pegs trying desperately to fit the circular holes in the range of life. Why is individuality good for some not all? When did we decide it was a good thing for misery to be a consistent part of the landscape? When will we wake up to doing things just for the pleasure of it, for the growing experience, to see where it takes us? Why can’t life be as simple as it should be?

 

Being A Relationship Cosmopolitan

Relationship cosmopolitan (noun): A person who chooses to unpack unnecessary relationship baggage and take only the lessons learned, new self awareness, and lighter emotional self into a new relationship.

 

As I sit here contemplating the end of my 18 month relationship hiatus, I ask myself: have I really done myself any favors by being single for so long? After a break-up, I find myself following a specific pattern: grief, anger, numbness, indifference, introspection (all the above usually simultaneously), lust, loneliness, back in the dating scene. After this pattern, another relationship follows. It’s how a lot of relationships begin, wonderful even sometimes emotionally/sexually intense; and then the honeymoon’s over and whatever you blinded yourself to about your own issues or those of your significant other hits the fan and you’re comparing this relationship to all the others (usually to disastrous ends). I’ve found this to be the case quite commonly in my own relationships and in those I’ve observed. And what is the issue that continues this vicious cycle? We continue to carry around the baggage from our past and don’t sort it out and dump it out of our lives after that stage in our life is over. We leave it at the door ready to be picked up every time we walk through the door into another relationship and stack it with what we’re trying to build in our new relationships. Now really, is that really fair to your new love or to yourself for that matter?

In light of that, I propose being a “relationship cosmopolitan”. You traveler much lighter through life and relationships and don’t have to worry about pesky weight and dimension restrictions as you walk through the gate to board your next relationship. By taking only what you need from what you’ve learned from your past, you arm yourself with knowledge about yourself and what you need, don’t need, want, don’t want and boundaries that must be established to give your budding relationship the foundation it needs to be built upon. When you start a relationship blindly, you make a foundation full of cracks and holes that at the least sign of trouble, the relationship crumbles. If you start your relationship on steady ground with the knowledge that both sides have things from their past that has shaped who they are now, you make a foundation of accepting that person and even yourself for who/they are but letting what you build be the slate on which your relationship is written and letting the NOW determine what the future might bring.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m much happier with the idea of bringing a small carry-on rather than paying for extra luggage that’s better left behind.

Letting Go

This week staff writer Stephany Salinas discusses “letting go” in relationships. Do you agree, disagree? What’s your story?

 

The other day, I read in a men’s book that I have a “Mother Goose” personality type. I am a natural nurturer and am always doing things to please others. The type of men I typically go for are “project” men, or bad boys. There was a lot more to it, and reading the entire section was brutal. It wasn’t disturbing in the sense that it was right, it was more so disturbing how it made me sound as a person. While reading, I consciously agreed with nearly every sentence. After I was done, I noticed how weak and conforming it made me sound. So I thought about it, and how right it was, and decided that this week’s entry was going to be about letting go.

 

Deciding whether or not to stay with someone can be one of the hardest things to do in life. It’s very easy to get caught up in a relationship, or whatever it is you’re in, and blind yourself to the unfair way you are being treated. The decision to let go of someone boils down to two things: Change (or lack thereof) and uncertainty.

 

Change:

 

One of the most common problems in relationships is one person trying to change the other. I’ve had men try to change me, and I’ve also been guilty of trying to change a man. You can’t. Not only can’t you, you shouldn’t. If someone wants to change, it’s something they must do on their own. You can’t pressure them into it. You can’t help speed up the process. It’s something they must do on their own time, at their own pace. You mustn’t give them an ultimatum, because that will only confuse them even more. If they think you’re worth the change, it’ll happen, but never assume that they’re going to.

 

Change is a tricky thing, and something that we all go through. It’s nothing to be upset about. That’s life. However, walking away or taking a step back from someone who is going through change doesn’t mean that you don’t care. It simply means you are strong enough and willing to put your wants and desires aside, and let them figure out what they need to do. It’s one of the hardest, most selfless things you can do.

 

Having the courage to let go of something you cannot change is something few women are strong enough to do.

 

 

Uncertainty:

 

This is the part where you decide what it is you want in a significant other/relationship. Once you decide on that, you need to find out if the person you are with can give you that. And if more isn’t what this person can give you at the moment, you need to make a tough, executive decision. You can stick it out and hope for the best, risking heartbreak and potential disappointment. Or, you can walk away. And when I say walk away, I don’t mean drop them out of your lives completely (although, in some cases it may be healthier). Sometimes, these people are genuinely lost and just need someone to be there. Not in a sense of a significant other, but a companion nonetheless. If you still care, make sure to offer your words, advice, and a shoulder to cry on, for one day it might be you who is going through change.

 

And if you want to stick around…

 

There is no shame in that. Sometimes these things just feel right. Sometimes, you need to make the mistake before you learn. Be careful. Like Gotye says, “You can be addicted to a certain kind of sadness.”

 

Letting go is never easy.

 

It’s easy is falling into the routine of being the caretaker. It comes with compassion and empathy, which can be blessings and curses.

 

Don’t get taken advantage of, because at the end of the day, you need to take care of yourself.