Who is right for us? What do we want from them?
Why do some couples tackle life’s great challenges together, while others fly apart at a slight bump in the road?
Why are some couples able to plan a future together, knowing that being with each other is the rock upon which their worlds are built, while others are together “if it works out,”on swirling waters that may or may not flow in the same direction?
Some relationships seem to represent commitment, “I’ll be there for you.” Others seem contingent: “I like almost everything about you, but might meet someone who has more of what I like. Then I’m gone.”
Some of us are incapable of “love.” Again, this may be biological. We believe in love, we want love, we show a version of love, or infatuation, but we don’t do well with lasting, committed love. Maybe we were designed to upset the status quo, to breed with many so we can diversify combinations of DNA, or maybe we are broken by mother’s lack of attention when we were two years old.
Why does this happen? That doesn’t matter to me in this moment. What matters to me is that we recognize and accept and communicate these things, as difficult as that honesty may be.
We owe it to our partner to let them know we have a terminal case of wanderlust. Or commitment to our job. Or to our church. We owe it to them not to string them along, nor be “wrong” about what we think we want when in our deepest thoughts, we know we are likely to move along when something more attractive comes along.
We owe them clarity that they don’t matter to us as much as our other priorities. Yes, that’s harsh. But hiding it doesn’t make it less so.
I envy those couples, men and women, men and men, women and women, who know a partner will stop at the store for cream for their coffee, even though the partner drinks it black. Too many of us have learned over time not to even ask, or worse, won’t ask because we don’t want our partner to expect us to do the same for them.
Honesty is hard, but in the long run it’s much less damaging than false expectations.