I left out something important last week. I got all caught up about talking about tiny bits of bravery, and I totally skimmed over the thing that makes that tiny bravery so magical.
Intimate relationships are rarely straightforward. We’re told they’re work, and that we have to be willing to invest in them. We’re told that no one is perfect, so we try to get really good at compromise. And then we realize that sometimes compromise feels really shitty.
Then we question whether we’re the problem. “Am I just terrible at compromise? Do I want more than most people want in their relationships? Why can’t I get it right, what’s wrong with me?”
We get scared of screwing them up or walking away right before it gets good.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Nothing matters about the “right way” to do dating and relationships if it feels bad to you. Why do something the “right way” so you can land in a relationship that doesn’t feel good to you?
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like one giant waste of time and energy to me.
Introducing the “right way’s” cooler, smarter sister: clarity.
That thing I skipped over? It’s clarity. Before the bravery comes, or before you can even begin to think about being brave, you gotta be clear. Crystal clear.
And clarity comes in varying doses: you see the whole picture really clearly all at once (rarely, I’d imagine), and more often you just capture a tiny sliver.
Of course, most of us would prefer clarity to show up really loudly, really obviously, and with an unquestionable action to come next, right?
Absent this, it’s easy to write-off the smaller bits of clarity and pretend you didn’t hear them, see them, or feel them.
- That moment in your gut when he kissed you goodbye and it just felt off.
- The way that you felt when he didn’t text for days after you had a really great date.
- That one statement he made about wanting to have ten kids when you know you don’t want any.
“What doesn’t feel good about this?”
When you find yourself having an experience that you aren’t enjoying, whether on a date or in a relationship, this is one question to ask. There are many others as well:
- What did I see in me that I didn’t like there?
- Why did I do what I did in response to that?
- What do I want to feel?
- What do I want that I’m not getting?
The distinction between dating the “right way” and dating with clarity is knowing yourself and what feels good to you. When things are off, or when you’re not satisfied, or when you feel unsure about where to go from here, you have to get clear about what you want, where you’re at, and where you want to be.
It’s not you, it’s me.
Has anybody else had this line used on them? Well, it’s a lame line, but it is often true.
All those important components of what has each of us feel fulfilled in relationships? Those are ours to understand and seek out. We cannot assume that potential partners all want the same things from each other and that we all have the skills to deliver them.
You have to know what it is that makes you tick. You have to be clear about what you need, what you want, how you need it, when you need it, how often you need it, how you want it delivered, when you want it delivered, etc…for the things that matter to you.
This does not reduce your relationship to a spreadsheet to manage. It is you knowing enough about you that you can truly get your needs met. So, yeah, knowing what is important to you well enough to share with someone else so they can meet you there is rather critical.
This isn’t stuff like how you like your coffee. It’s not what your favorite restaurant is. It’s not about where you like to vacation.
This is the smaller stuff made up of how you feel when you are with someone – as well as when you are not with them. The moments where you wonder if you’re doing it right? The moments where you feel like it should feel different? The moments when things feel a little off? Those are the moments that will give you real clarity about what you need and want, and what to do next.
Back to you!
In the comments below, tell me what’s one small thing you are looking for clarity about? (Should I move on, how do I know if he wants to go out with me, what should I do in X situation?) I look forward to seeing what glimpses of clarity you’d like to see!