A new follower A Lady in the Mountains posted about love being a choice.
I was writing a response and filling up that little box and realized I need a whole post to mull this over.
What a great question… I think about that when I look at the dating apps. Here we all are just trading problems around lol. Why would the relationship work with me and not someone else? Why is this guy my “knight in shining armor” but someone else’s ex?
Expectations? Therapy? Maybe we grow through our break-ups and become better? I can tell you that all three of my exes, as far as I know, are still operating in the same manner. I know for sure the Hillbilly hasn’t changed a goddamn thing. Even though he almost lost the one relationship he had after me he is still operating life in the same manner. Damnit this is a different post isn’t it? That’s a post about growth. Okay back to the question at hand:
Is love a choice?
I think there’s a basis of compatibility, respect, AND communication that has to be there first. If you don’t have one of those I’m not sure it can be a good relationship.
Some would argue the compatibility with me but I’ve been in relationships with people who were so different in their choices of how to live life that one person was always giving up what they wanted for the other just so they could do things together sometimes. I don’t mind doing some things alone, prefer it for some things so I’m not talking about having to do everything together. For me it’s things like so much goddamn television instead of being outside or going out or reading or literally anything else. People who work and then just watch tv all night are never gonna be my people to want to have a relationship with. What each considers as “fun” is important. Hoppy never wanted to go out at night. He loved day drinking together but not to go out and have night shenanigans. He thought people over the age of 30 shouldn’t do that. I adore night shenanigans.
Those things you think are “little” add up:
Sleep times: this can be overcome sort of. The late riser goes to bed with the early riser and then gets back up maybe? And they don’t bitch about it to each other? I guess people don’t need to have the same bedtime all the time but to me it’s such a time of closeness, hopefully with cuddling and sex and connection.
Food: It’s such a personal thing- food. And important. And when you live with someone you don’t want to make two dinners every night. All three of my relationships ate less healthy than I did. Cranky narcissist tried the hardest to make foods I liked though. So many men I’ve dated are junk food carb dudes. They actually have Debbie cakes and shit. I just don’t do that anymore. Oh I cheat but it will be something luscious not a bunch of chemicals wrapped up in sugar.
Your living space: this has to do with cleanliness and also design. It does create problems when these don’t match up. Ones that can be overcome though with…
Respect is where it’s at. You can get past some compatibility issues if you have respect most likely. Respect is shown when you are treated as an intelligent, very important being to your mate. A lady in the mountains talks about trips to her husband’s family where she was ignored and treated as not important. I’ve had similar treatment before, not as bad but definitely not what it should have been. Respect for a mate should be established by the one who’s family it is. In other words you stand up for your mate/spouse with your family. You make it completely apparent to everyone that this is a non-negotiable. Respect is value. You feel valued. A couple has to want to make time for each other, want to work things out, want to know that person’s thoughts…
The motha’ lode… communication. It truly truly won’t work without this. True respect means tough but kind communication. It means turning off everything, even your goddamn phone, and looking into each other’s eyeballs, setting aside your ego to listen to the other. Listen to understand. Listening in order to make your next point is not listening. It is felt too. You can’t get by with that. This is the basis, the first step to any relationship actually working, listening to each other.
As I think about my past relationships this is what broke us. I firmly believe that this is one of the most difficult things one can do, but the most important. I didn’t have the respect in one relationship for him to sit down and listen. In another I had respect but his fear of conflict stopped communication. He’d get so upset and just leave. We couldn’t get it all out, then sort it out and move forward. One of us would just give in and we’d move on but it wasn’t actually worked out.
True communication feels awkward as fuck sometimes because your ego can easily get hurt. So what? Maybe you aren’t perfect all the time. So what? When you start to feel the prickle your pride is sending you, relax into it. Don’t try to be the top dog. Be open to understanding what the other person felt. Listen to what they felt. It may not be at all what you meant. Understand first. Then of course you must be listened to and understood also. It takes a whole bunch of work.
The couple I see doing this consistently is my oldest daughter and her boyfriend. The respect for each other is awe-inducing to me, something I will have in my next, and last, serious relationship. When two whole people want to be together in a relationship there will be discussions, deep, cringy, scary discussions that might take a few hours to get through.
So love is a choice.. but it’s one you make
-when your family member disses your boo and you deflect it in a manner appropriate to the situation…
-when your mate thinks you are 100% wrong about something and you listen all the way through without arguing…
-when you say the hard things instead of eating them causing those resentments to start up which then make you less patient and less loving and so forth…
-when you choose to do something your mate wants to do with joy and not begrudgingly…
-when you not only “allow” but celebrate your mate fully being him/herself even if it means a weird tattoo you’d never get, or an odd hobby, a career change…
-when day after day, minute after minute you cherish each other in your actions and apologize when you fuck it up and ask for forgiveness and do better…
So yeah it’s a choice for both of you. Both of you in when it’s trudging through the trenches and when it’s soaring with joys. Choosing each other again and again.
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