In the early weeks and months of a relationship, it’s too early to predict lifetime bliss. [Well, it’s always too soon to predict that, actually.] But it’s not too early to be looking for signs of longevity and signs of problems ahead. What you don’t want to do, if you are seeking your lifetime partner, is get complacent about your search.
Settling Is Not An Option
We’ve probably all settled at some point in our relationship journey. I know I have put up with behaviors that were damaging to my soul. I’ve continued in relationships because the sex was good and I didn’t want to be alone. I’ve crashed into relationships with beautiful women, only to find months later, that I was in love with their bodies. Their minds, their companionship, their priorities, not so much.
Here’s what I believe: If you’re settling, you are merely biding your time until you breakup and move on. You may be enjoying this partner, you may have wonderful benefits and pleasures that seem to point in the direction of true love. You may believe you have all the ingredients for an aspirational and cooperative mission to the stars. And if you’re making these assumptions and assessments too early in your relationship, you are also building predictive models on insufficient data. This is a rookie mistake.
What we can’t waste time doing is staying in a relationship that is not going to serve our goal of crafting a lifetime relationship together. If we are not with someone who makes us feel appreciated and celebrated, we’re not going to survive the trials and storms ahead. You simply cannot work through all the stuff you’re going to want to work through with someone who is not 100% committed to working through them with YOU. You, and you alone.
If we are settling, in any aspect of our partnership, we need to either address the issue and solve it, or we need to move on. Yes, moving on means being alone again. And alone sucks. But settling will suck the life and energy out of your overall lifetime flight plan. Don’t settle. Not even a little. If something is broken or incomplete, go after it with vigor. If you break the relationship because of the intensity of your inquisition, that’s where you were heading anyway. Break the bad relationships. It is the only way to find your next partner, who may or may not be able to stick with you.
Learning to Navigate the Stars Together
Both partners need to lead when necessary. Leadership in the relationship is a shared requirement. If you don’t lead, you won’t get what you want out of the journey. The process of shared leadership is an acquired skill. And it is only mastered when you have spent a sufficient amount of time with your copilot. You will need to avoid many of the nasty obstacles that may not be on your radar during the honeymoon or early months of a relationship.
The Deadly Sins of New Lovers
- Creative time alone
- Entertainment (together and alone)
- Sexual bliss
- Outside interests and friends
- Career development
- Money decisions
- Spiritual connections
- Crisis management
What you don’t know, might actually bite you in the ass, and getting to know your partner’s resilience, their inner happiness setpoint, their optimism in the face of the struggles ahead. It takes time to assess your fitness for a journey of a lifetime. [One I have obviously not mastered.] But, I am learning several truths.
There is no hurry
There is no crisis
We either align our visions with each other or we veer off on a different journey over time. There is no crisis, if we’re not crisis-oriented. There is no hurry if we are certain we are on the right path. There is no need to speed up the courtship and pre-launch planning. Take your time. Give your time and energy to each other. See how your visions align or don’t. Continue your pre-flight checklist, and stay vigilant to address places of unrest, dissatisfaction, and frustration. Take the time to figure out your compatibility before you start making long-range commitments. Stay in the present moment, yes. But also keep your eyes on the goal of reaching the stars with your partner.
One Partner, Many Friends
I have never been accused of being an easy partner. I am demanding. I am relentless in the pursuit of a partner. Not a perfect partner. A willing and flexible partner who can grow and evolve with me as the circumstances in both of our lives change. A job loss might prove fatal in a relationship that is still negotiating trust and leadership. A global pandemic might challenge even the strongest of partnerships. Loss of a parent, or major depression, or financial uncertainty might crush the life out of an imbalanced relationship. All of the wrinkles time and life throws at us, need to be seen as opportunities to grow and join, rather than reasons to seek a different copilot.
So, you’re only going to hit these disturbances in the force when you give your relationship time. The pre-launch sequence and “we are just beginning” time is when you run through the probing questions about goals, lifestyles, and interests. In the past, I’ve jumped through these early phases and prematurely started taking measurements for spacesuits.
Once, in the last eleven years, I even agreed to marry someone I knew was not a long-term partner. I knew it, and I moved forward because I didn’t want to be alone again. I didn’t really want to be with her either. But given the choice, it took a major breakdown to show me the incompatibility of this engagement. [See: The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes An Issue]
We Are a Go For Launch
Today, I’m in a great preflight partnership. I’m exploring their universe this week in California. We’ve been casting around my hometown for the first three months, so far. And we’re seeing the green lights of agreement light up across the navigation instruments. AND… As good as it is, even as optimistic as I am at this very morning, this second as I type, I am aware, that my observations above in this post, as accurate. We don’t have enough data to map out the launch plan just yet.
Going for your copilot requires time together in the relationship. That’s it. There is no magic formula, or strategy that’s going to get me, or us, there any sooner. What we have is time. And what we must both commit to is not settling when things get out of whack. Each of us has a responsibility to lead from our hearts and our heads. When one of the other is missing a key connection, it’s important that we spend the time and effort to sort it out.
It is only together that I am going to be able to make my next journey to the stars. I do not want to be a solo astronaut. I’m looking for my collaborative copilot. And since I am committing to spot-checking and troubleshooting every blinking red light on the flight deck, I’m going to take my time working to get it right. I’ve got plenty of time, but only if I am jettisoning the near misses when the instrument panel heads towards red rather than green.
Zero Minus Two
I want a launch that is going to last the next 20 or 30 years, more if we’re lucky. I am no longer willing to settle for anything less than 100% commitment, and 100% flexibility and willingness to grow and aspire together towards our joint AND individual goals.
- Kindness First: Holding On to Love and Letting Go of Expectations
- A New Language of Sex: Embarking on the Learning Together
- Finding the Kindness, Kissing Frogs, Moving Forward Towards LOVE
- Liberating Sexual Desire: The Conversation with Eva Blake
- Sexual Chemistry, Sexual Energy, The 5 Sexual Languages
- A General Theory of Love Thomas Lewis, M. D. et al.
- The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love – Thomas Moore
- Care of the Soul – ibid.
- The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce: Advice and Strategies on Learning How to be Loved Again
- Fall of the House of Dad: My journey through divorce, from loss to joy, again and again
- A Good Dad’s Guide to Divorce: One father’s quest to stay connected with his children
- The Sex Index: Getting Our Love Languages Right in the Bedroom
- Here Comes the Darkness: Surviving and Thriving After a Mental Illness Diagnosis
- The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes an Issue
- The Storm Before the Divorce: When One Parent Wants Out, That’s the End