Building A Strong Relationship: One Man’s Take
Ten years ago if you asked me to give someone advice on relationships, I probably would’ve laughed and suggested you find other means in order to fix your relationship problems. But a funny thing happened over the past 7 years, I met the woman who altered my path and helped me to grow as a man and soon to be husband.
One thing I learned over the years through all of the different relationships I’ve had, and trust me, there have been many, is that one of the most important things to understand is how the relationship can become its own living breathing entity.
As you discover this, along the way you will hopefully come to the realization that there is a huge difference between changing someone and helping someone to grow. Change is possible, but it’s damn near impossible. Growth, on the other hand, is a much more natural process. One common mistake people make in relationships is, believing that they actually can change something they see in another person when the reality is you can really only help them to grow as a person. The thing is though, you have to figure out not only if you can put up with their issues, but first figure out where those issues come from.
Do they come from a place of maturity or are they a result of their up-bringing and experiences? Issues that stem from maturity are habits that they can eventually grow out of, while those that are based on who they are and their experiences tend to be things that will always be a part of them. Once you realize which one it is, you have to be honest with yourself and decide if you feel strongly enough about them to either be patient enough to help them grow out of it or be able to put up with their issues.
As for myself, I was the type who never took relationships too serious so that if it was to end, it wouldn’t be something I couldn’t handle. It was an issue of course for many of my ex’s who felt that I’d get over them much quicker and easier than they over me. Truth is, they were right, but my attitude was always, “don’t make a big deal about it, we’re just two different people and that’s ok.” While it was sound logic it pretty much lacked emotion and more importantly, any compassion and we all know that doesn’t work for most women. However, while there are many men that can have a similar take on the subject, the fact that I was able to GROW out of that way of thinking is an example of the difference between change and growth.
As I got older and began having longer more serious relationships, I began to see and understand the importance of the emotional and compassionate side of relationships and that’s when it hit me. Having a real relationship is almost like raising a child with your partner. I began to view the relationship as almost a third person, someone that we created together and in order for it to grow and flourish, we’d both have to be committed to it and care for it.
Once I truly embraced that concept and understanding only then did I begin to have better results in my relationships and not only with a woman I was seeing but EVERY relationship. From my family and friends, on down to co-workers and even my boss. I realized that as I cultivated the relationship with whomever I was dealing with at the time, it would grow and become better for both parties. It’s almost like a bridge.
If you build a strong bridge that can sustain the weight of the pressure placed upon it and weather the storms that will come its way, both parties will find comfort in it. From time to time when either party has an issue to be addressed, if that bridge is a pleasant place to be, neither person will be reluctant to approach it and attempt to cross it. This also allowed me to remain myself while at the same time create enough space for the other person to remain themselves as well. That’s important because I had been in relationships that didn’t last simply because the other person tried to be someone other than their true selves because they were afraid I wouldn’t like the real them.
Once I grew accustomed to a certain behavior, when it changed it was like dealing with a whole different person. Even if that real person wasn’t bad, the simple fact that it wasn’t the person I knew would create an uncomfortable period of adjustment. It would be like going back to the same bridge that I was used to travelling on and all of a sudden it’s not there anymore and it’s been replaced by this rickety old broken down bridge that I don’t want to approach let alone cross, regardless of who or what is on the other side.
I think part of the reason I was able to see relationships in this way is based on the fact that not only did I become a parent when I was 21, but I have three children by two different mothers.
While nowadays that’s not such an uncommon thing, in my case, my oldest is only four months older than his twin brother and sister. So yes, I had two women pregnant at the same time. Again, I told you I’ve been in almost every relationship you can imagine. My point in bringing that up is that being a parent to three children who are pretty much the same exact age but with different mothers, forced me to think deeper into the dynamics of each relationship. I never wanted any of my children, especially my twins, to feel as though I favored one over the other. So I had to figure out a way to accomplish this. That way, became cultivating each relationship differently. They may all be my children but they are each their own person and it was important to embrace that and encourage it. While it took some time, eventually I realized the same could be done with my relationships with women.
One important thing to keep in mind however is that deep down I always wanted and eventually saw myself settling down, I just had no idea when nor was I in any rush to get there. I would refuse to bring women I was just dating around my children and I was honest enough with myself that I knew when I couldn’t see myself settling down with a woman. I also made a point of never giving a woman the idea that I might be ready when I knew I wasn’t. Unfortunately, looking back on it now, it’s obvious that a few of them thought they could change that about me. But remember what I said about change compared to growth. Because they wanted to change something about me, it would cause them to try to rush things and do things they probably weren’t even ready for themselves. Had they been more patient and just worked on nurturing the relationship, they would’ve been able to see that for that change to happen I would have to grow into it not be pushed into it.
READ PART TWO HERE
Follow Intelligent Life on Twitter @RealLifethought
Follow us on Facebook
Hit me on Twitter @Amarudontv if you would like to be added to our #RUTALK editorial mailing list!