My mom is great at a lot of things. Her bed is always made and her house is spotless and she always has Tic Tacs. She makes the best cheesecake I've ever tasted and teaches little kids who speak no English apart from "McDonalds" and "yes" how to read and make new friends.
But my mom is not good at relationships. Selecting mates. Strong interpersonal skills with men. You get it.
It makes me wonder where we learn these skills from when we have divorced parents. Did I learn what NOT to do by watching the way their relationship over-boiled? In this situation, I can't necessarily say that there was EVER a great relationship that disintegrated. So, what do I consider "good"? And is that wrong? Is my personal definition of healthy and fantastic NOT somewhere along the path to a successful relationship/partnership/marriage?
Logically, I know that there are no easy characteristics or strategies that make couples more or less likely to work out. Being an intelligent person, I can imagine that every day in a lasting relationship is a mashed together combination of winging it, getting over it and digging your heels in. But I can't help but worry that my track record of longer relationships leading to friendly endings means that I've missed some crucial education in selection or commitment. Etcetera.
When one of my older sisters was about 25, she had a roommate who deemed herself extremely far down the path to old maid/auntie/pitiful. She decided that she wouldn't date someone for longer than two weeks if she didn't feel that this was someone who she wanted to marry and wanted to marry her. TWO WEEKS? Two weeks is like 20 texts and a few dinners at The Cheesecake Factory, in my opinion. In two weeks, I might not know how many brothers and sisters you have. But it worked for her. She saw some guys for just a date or two, some guys for almost the requisite two weeks. And then her experiment ended because she met a guy about three months in to her experiment and married him six months later. As you do.
This question was recently posed to me: "If someone you liked came along today and wanted all the same things in life that you wanted, wouldn't you jump at that?" NO. GOD, NO. Nothing sounds more horrifying to me than committing yourself to a relationship that fits the THINGS I WANT TODAY. I DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING. What if it turns out that I DON'T want that TOMORROW and then I'm SCREWED because I jumped into the relationship with the guy who ALSO thought he wanted that? What if we CHANGE OUR MINDS? I am right this very second looking at a donation pile containing a fur vest I bought last winter and THAT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME TOO. Other things that at one point seemed like a good idea: hand sanitizer, six inch heels, that two bedroom apartment I lived in during grad school BY MYSELF.
So, I think instead of 50 first dates and two week trial periods, I like what I'm doing and it's FINE for ME. I'll continue to be with guys who I like to be around, who encourage me to do good things in my life, who respect that we can change all the time and it doesn't mean the world is about to end. I'll listen to people who love me and take into account if what they're saying will work for me. I'll be ok if it doesn't, and I'll work on massaging the ideas into my brain if it does.
Basically, everything is fine. (And this could change tomorrow.)