What Works for Me

June 9, 2012 at 5:09 PM 9 comments

Seen on Twitter:

I want a relationship that works, or I don’t want one at all. The alternative is much too painful.

 A tiny Tweet, yet it speaks volumes. I’m pretty sure most of us not only concur, we can relate. It’s a simple concept; after all, who doesn’t want a relationship that works? Unfortunately, problems creep into our relationships because oftentimes we hold different ideas regarding what “works.”  A happy medium can be hard to achieve if one party in the relationship doesn’t understand that the best way to receive is to give. Having a relationship that “works” also doesn’t mean that we get to have our way at our partner’s expense. The goal of any compromise should be win-win, not win at all costs.

I’ve also found out the hard way that developing a relationship that works isn’t achieved simply because each person defined their boundaries and limitations, or established must-haves. It also isn’t achieved because we drew lines in the sand regarding those behaviors and situations we designated as deal breakers. For instance, what if one person decides (for whatever reason) to totally disregard everything you both spent time and energy to carefully create? It’s like using “time out” as a disciplinary tactic in child rearing: What happens if your kid decides he won’t go in time out?

Time out? Make me . . . .

I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to have a relationship that works, both persons have to be what they want in the relationship. Here’s a primer:

  • Be honest. That means be truthful – not only in what you say, but in who you are. My personal philosophy for entering a relationship is “what you see is what you get.” No pretending, no sugarcoating – I am who I am and it is what it is. I do this to assure you that you’re not meeting Dr. Jekyll, only to have Mr. Hyde show up later.
  • Be smart. In this instance, I’m not saying you have to be a Rhodes Scholar (though having a brain – and knowing how to use it – really helps. Just being honest). Being smart also means that even though you recognize and accept you imperfections, you’re smart enough to not use them as excuses for dumb behavior.
  • Be a team player. Even though that expression is tired and worn, the concept isn’t. Team players have enough sense to know what to do to get along with someone, namely, me. You + Me = Team Us. That means we both do what it takes to sink the basket, score the touchdown, make the goal, make the birdie or an eagle, roll a strike, and land a 20 pound bass. A striped one.
  • Be a lover. Wait, I’m not talking about that kind of lover  . . . (well, on second thought, I am; it’s just that I’m not talking about that right now. This page is rated PG-13, and I have to keep it on the level that my Mother can read it. Stop trying to confuse me. Ahem. Cough).
  • Be a lover. Be willing to love me the way I want to be loved. Please speak my love language,  because I promise I’ll speak yours. There’s no need to complain about our differences; instead, let’s make it a point to celebrate them. You being from Mars and me hailing from Venus is a good thing.     
  • Be fair. Don’t take my kindness for weakness, or try to use it to your advantage. I don’t know how to give less than 100%, so when I’m in, I’m in. Don’t allow me to keep giving 100% when you know you intend to only give 30%, or when you know my 100% is no longer what you want.                                                                                   Insert —–>Just man up and tell me<—— here.
  • Be a promise keeper. I cannot stress this one enough. If this seems like a no brainer, then let me introduce you to the scores of people who have found themselves on the receiving end of broken promises (sadly, ASwirlGirl would be included in that score). One of the best ways you can ensure you keep your promises is to be very judicious in making them. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed, strong armed, cajoled, or otherwise persuaded into making promises, and in like manner, don’t use these tactics to extract them. If you happen to learn that you will have to break a promise you made, then be big enough to say so. Articulate. Communicate. Talk, for goodness sakes.  In other words, Just man up and tell me.  Trust me, any disappointment you think I will feel will certainly be offset by your honesty.  

I’ve taken a lighthearted approach to this relationship business, but I dare not overlook the seriousness of the portion of the statement that said “the alternative is much too painful.” Yes. Being lied to is painful. Trying to deal with someone who refuses to push himself creatively or intellectually is painful.  Sustaining a relationship with someone who believes there is an “I” in TEAM is painful. Enduring willful, deliberate acts of unfairness is painful. Recovering from the hurt stemming from broken promises with no reason why IS. PAINFUL.   

I believe life is meant to be shared with family and friends. Being in a relationship with a special someone as you make life’s journey is even better. Most of us want to be with someone who agrees on, lives up to, and shares in the physical, spiritual, and emotional investment required for the journey. Someone who knows and understands that we each need to be that person to the best of our ability. Someone who doesn’t expect us to get it right every time yet appreciates the fact that we’re going to try. Someone who will give what they want to get. That’s what works for me.     

 

Join in the fray: Tell me, what “works” for you?   

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It’s a Wrap! (and, It’s an Update) Come Wake Me Up

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gus  |  June 9, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    Great post…

    Reply
    • 2. A Swirl Girl  |  June 10, 2012 at 12:15 AM

      Gus, thanks so much for reading! Care to tell me what “works” for you???

      Reply
  • 3. Mark Vowell  |  June 11, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    “What Works For Me”. I do believe there are a lot of people both male and female out in the “relationship world” who literally take these words as their holy grail. “ME” being the operative word, and the goal of the relationship is how much can I get from this relatationship with the least amount of investment. Their partner is there to fulfill those needs or desires and with little or no compensatory action required of themselves. As if to say, “If you want to be with me, this is your cost”.

    Your statement “Holding different ideas regarding what “works” points to a very important question..”what type of relationship are they looking for”? Some are only looking for a sexual, financial, social or a companionship (in the sense of not wanting to be alone) type relationship and nothing more but under the guise of wanting more. The idea of developing a life-long commitment of self devotion to another individual is not a priority and for some too scary but for many the sole purpose of the relationship is what am I going to get out of this relationship.

    Yet, what many fail to realize is the fact that the more you open yourself to fearful things the stronger one becomes. You become stronger in the understanding of oneself, your true inner desires, and the world around you in which we all operate.

    Maybe it has been hard-wired into us from birth. We are born vulnerable, our life depending solely on another individual for survival. Could it be this inbred fear of vulnerability and the necessity to rely on someone else for our well-being cause us to always look out for self first and foremost? I have been in relationships where I have been told ” I don’t know how to show love, I didn’t see it in my house so I don’t know how to show it”. Maybe they resided in a household in which everyone scratched out their little bit of affection in any form or way that helped them cope.

    Our blog host turned me on to a good book about the language of love which provided an understanding of the different types of love based on one’s needs. I am an individual who requires to be touched in my affirmation. Yet when this stopped happening, I felt I was no longer loved or desired. When I confronted my partner about my feelings it was met with “I am not a “touchy feeling” type of person. In other words I am not willing to give you what you need because I am not use to that or comfortable doing that.

    The key points addressed above: Be Smart – know what you need and what your partner wants. Be Honest – Lose the fear of not expressing what and how you feel and not holding back for fear of rejection or loss. Be a Team Player – remember that your eventual happiness is directly tied in to how much give and take you are willing to muster. Be a Lover – 98 % comes outside of the bedroom. Be Fair – the ole saying “treat others the way you would like to be treated” goes a long ways here. Be a Promise Keeper – a relationship is based on keeping the promise to honor, support, motivate, and genuinely love your partner. Lastly, Be smart – smart to realize you have the capacity to learn and become better because of your choices, for better or worse.

    I am continuously learning new things about myself and the relationships I have been in. Hopefully refining myself to be better than I was yesterday.

    I would like to write more but the frustration of typing on a smartphone in the middle of know where is taking its toll on my thought process so I’ll close for now.

    Thank-you for allowing me to express my opinions here today. God Bless.

    Reply
    • 4. A Swirl Girl  |  June 11, 2012 at 1:52 PM

      Hi Mark, Thanks for responding to the post. So many thoughts ran through my mind as I read your response. I’ve always wondered how and why it is that people make a commitment to someone, and then are reluctant to wholeheartedly give of themselves? We make a selection and decide on this or that person over everyone else, and by so doing we willingly elect to exclude ourselves romantically from others. Yet, once we’re IN the relationship we hold back from the person we have selected???? I cannot understand or comprehend that. I concur with what you stated; I believe people are afraid to make themselves vulnerable. Yet, I again have to ask, WHY???? Why agree to make yourself vulnerable and then by your actions demonstrate that you don’t trust the person you’re in relationship with?

      Even when we believe we “don’t know how” to do certain things, or if those things are out of our comfort zone, I believe we should at least be willing to try. Again, if I am in relationship with that person, why wouldn’t I??? That goes back to your question of “What is the person expecting to get out of the relationship? If I view my relationship as an *opportunity to love and be with* the other person, then I believe it makes our actions and decisions so much easier.

      To say you were typing on a smart phone, you did a great job on your response! LOL Thanks so much for taking the time to express your thoughts.

      Reply
  • 5. Mark Vowell  |  June 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    I guess I should have put quotation marks around “know where” to signify I am not where I should be in truly understanding the complexity of relationships, but I am evolving. And as a matter of fact, I am in the middle of “nowhere” camping with my sons and enjoying the simple pleasures of a campsite and family, without the distractions life throws at us daily.

    Reply
    • 6. A Swirl Girl  |  June 11, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      Mark, I like to think of myself as constantly being a work in progress. I too don’t understand the complexity of relationships (and about a million other things!) but it won’t be for lack of trying. I think that’s what makes the “Be smart” factor so important. A smart person knows that he/she doesn’t have all the answers – but he/she is smart enough to try to find the answers. That’s all anyone can ask.

      Reply
  • 7. Keewee  |  June 13, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    This is a phenomenal read and is really worth sharing….along with Mr. Vowell’s comments.

    If I type what works for me, it will exceed the length of your blog. LOL. Not that there are many things to list, but I feel each item is worthy of a just and thorough explanation.

    Again, great post!

    Reply
    • 8. A Swirl Girl  |  June 13, 2012 at 1:25 PM

      Keewee, thanks for reading and responding. Care to give us your top two or three “what works for me” in bullet points? I know these vary from person to person, and I’m always interested in learning things from someone else’s perspective.

      Reply
  • 9. Anonymous  |  June 18, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    What works for me!

    I do not know anymore…
    I have forgotten….
    I am unsure…

    Reply

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