Wednesday, December 5, 2007

(His) relationship commitments

Six months into it is the time when couples start examining a relationship and trying to decide if it's time to move forward into a deeper commitment -- or give it up.

I was on the edge of giving up this week, when my partner sent me his list of Relationship Commitments. I was touched, but I have to admit, he failed to live up to a lot of the commitments on this list, which he wrote a year ago. Revisiting them, we realized that the biggest mistake we made was not voicing and clarifying our needs and expectations. Our expectations were based on assumptions -- not clear agreements.

After a blizzard of emails and two weeks of tense, hurt conversations, retreat and withdrawal, he coaxed me back inside with this list.

For many of us, plunging deeper into intimacy and risking the loss of someone you love is a terrifying thought, and it can be easier to not take that risk and simply run away and never go there.

If I live in the moment and stay present, have faith that there are no mistakes in life, that everything is a process and nothing lasts forever, maybe I can go there.

My Relationship Commitments

Take care of all my relationships, don’t begin or continue ones where that isn't possible. (Figure out if it’s possible as soon as I can.)

Communicate fully and honestly.

Don't allow the old pattern of making sexual relationships into love relationships automatically, including by telling people that it's my pattern up front.

Clarify expectations to death and in detail.

Make all agreements as explicit as possible.

Face the difficulties and reactions in the moment rather than putting them off and hoping for a positive outcome later.

Be aware that timeliness and my manner of communicating sensitive stuff is also really important.

Try try try to look at things from the other person's point of view BEFORE taking action.

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