When you begin a new relationship you’ve got so much to discover, uncover, and recover.
What are their magical traits? What are buttons that you want to work through and what are buttons left for their own growth and development? What turns them on? What kinds of activities bring them laughter and enthusiasm? What responsibilities are sharable and open for connecting around? And if there are red flags, it’s best to dig in early and uncover them as quickly as possible. If a relationship is going to fail, let it burn brightly and fail faster. No sense wasting time building a foundation with someone who’s not going to be around for very long.
How can you both work to find new things that you both like to do? Are there activities you’ve wanted to try (fly fishing in a river in Montana, for example) that you’d like to explore with your new partner? Are there passions that your partner has left untapped that can be reawakened with the right offer? Are there things you’ve always wondered about (sexual or not) that you’d like to risk discussing with your partner? Can you ask for what you want? Can you give your partner enough space for them to ask for what they want, and feel safe? It is risky to expose ourselves and our desires. We have probably covered up places where we’ve been hurt, and for a complete relationship to blossom, we probably need to open ourselves back up the vulnerability. Sometimes, to heal from a hurt we have to go back through it.
Are there parts of your life that you’ve let slide for various reasons? Activities that you would like to pick up again? Could you recover your passion for that activity as something you could do with your new partner?
In relationships, we are trying to find the connections in our lives together. What are the things we can do with each other that make us feel closer, more loving, more appreciated?
In a past relationship, I took up road biking as part of my effort to stretch into athletic activities that my partner enjoyed. Yesterday, I was driving out one of the roads we used to ride along. And I wanted to be riding again. And this time, I want to re-ride on these roads with my new partner. I want to bring her into biking as something we can do together. I want to write over the old sectors of my hard drive brain that still have my old girlfriend, and create new memories and laughs, on the bike, with my new girlfriend. She’s not a biker. And actually, neither am I. But yesterday, I wanted to be biking with my new sidekick. I wanted to share the physical fitness, the exhilaration, the joy of exercising together.
Do we have to go biking? No. Is my inspiration about biking something I will long for if we don’t? Unknown. Is my desire to re-write the old biking memories with a new one a healthy pattern? I think so.
Memories and Losses from Old Relationships
When a long-term relationship breaks up a lot of dreams go down in the ash pile. Until yesterday I hadn’t give biking much thought. Sure, I still have my road bike. And sure, I’ve talked about it with my current girlfriend. But I have not taken any action to move that idea forward. It seems to me, that I have some fond memories of riding a road bike with a significant other. It is an experience I’d like to have again. The old tapes still resurfaced when I drove down the same road, but my emotional energy was towards my new relationship and not romanticizing the old relationship.
I think we’ve each got plenty of romantic failures that might need re-writing. Things we loved to do and would love to do again. And once you’ve gotten back on the horse, gotten back into a romantic relationship, you have an opportunity to repair and heal those places the might still hold a sliver of regret. I don’t have any regrets about the loss of my past relationship with the biker, but I do look forward to discovering if there is biker blood in my new relationship.
What You Do Together Is Everything
If we’re committed to staying in the now, then we’ve got to remain present even as memories and feelings come up. As we explore all the fascinating facets of a new relationship we have an opportunity to reclaim some of ourselves that might’ve been lost or hidden away. And, of course, we have the opportunity to discover parts of ourselves we’d never imagined. Opening up to your partner’s fantasies and listening for what makes them happy, that’s a key aspect of relationship building.
What you do together is life. What you think about doing together is imagination. Bringing those to ideas together into all the things you like to do, anticipate doing in the near future, and aspire to do as part of your long-term goals… All of this is part of building and nurturing a relationship for the future.