Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Honesty is my policy

I have been told that I am too accomodating in relationships. I'm too available, too nice, too understanding. I give a lot, without expecting much in return.

The other day, though, I was told that while I am accomodating, I do expect something: Unabridged honesty. While I am understanding, I do have trouble grasping that this might be difficult for some.

I suppose some people think honesty means I want them to be open about the things I want to hear - but keep the other stuff to themselves. Some people have trouble saying anything to anyone that might be hurtful. They definitely don't want to say anything to me that will hurt my feelings, because in all likelihood, I have been nothing but nice (and accomodating, understanding...blah, blah, blah) towards them.

Which, if you think about it - kinda stinks. It's almost like I give kindess and in return, all I get are lies. It could easily make me want to start being less honest, less likely to trust, and quicker to leave.

But I really don't think that's the best way to look at things.

That same friend pointed out to me that I tend to surround myself with people who will give me honesty - even when it makes them uncomfortable, and even when they know my feelings might get hurt. I know a lot of people, and obviously not all of them are 100% honest with me all of the time. But those with whom I am closest, the ones who really know me, will always tell me the truth. They know I want to hear what they honestly think about me or my situation, so that I can make good decisions, and improvements where needed. They tell me what I need to know - not what I want to hear.

I do not want to get discouraged from asking for, or expecting, honesty. I also don't want to stop being understanding, or start assuming everyone is lying. I don't want to change who I am or settle for a man who is less than what I want.

I will continue to be accomodating. I will continue to be available and nice. I will continue to be honest - even though it means putting myself out there. I may try to be even more understanding, and realize that not everyone is capable of the sort of honesty I want.

That honesty exists - my friends are proof. So I will keep looking for that honesty in any sort of partner. After all, if I need that from my friends, it only makes sense it should be on my list.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Top of the list

Everyone has a list of what they want, both from their relationship and in the person they choose. Some people are specific (he needs to be tall, she needs to like video games, we need to travel, etc.), while others are more general.

Every list is personal and unique. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another.

But I do think every list should start out with one primary requirement: I should be happy.

That may mean that you find someone who wants to spend a lot of time together. It may mean you finally find a guy who is taller than you. It may mean you find a guy who doesn't mind that you don't cook, or a woman who doesn't want kids, or a man who wants to help you train for your next marathon.

A friend recently pointed out to me that we all have something we want from our relationships. One of the greatest things we can learn about ourselves is what that something is. Once we know, we are in a much better position to choose the relationship that's best for us - whether or not it makes sense to anyone else.

I'm not in the best position to offer advice right now, but I hope you'll take some great advice from one of my dearest friends: 

Top your list with happy - and the rest will fall into place.

Friday, November 14, 2014

(Un)Setting expectations

To say Turtle has waivered in what he wants would be an understatement of epic proportions. We've gone from hanging out as friends to casual dating to ernest discussions about what we want back to casually dating to....whatever the hell it is we're doing at the moment.

We are still talking, but we haven't spent any time together in a while. My understanding is that he's not up for time with anyone, other than casual friends. We both agree there is something more than friendship between us - which is not something he can deal with right now. I already knew that, and told him it was fine, that we could put a pin in that discussion until he was ready.

I've been completely honest and upfront with Turtle. I was totally sincere when I said I'd like to go back to just hanging out and seeing where things went. I enjoy spending time with him, and while I would like a relationship someday with someone, and he has potential, I do not see us in a relationship now. I am kind of over the serious relationship discussions, and ready to get back to having fun, getting to know each other, and seeing where things end up.

Turtle does not seem convinced that I really feel that way, or that we can really make that transition. He seems worried that I say it's fine, and then when we're together, he'll feel pressure to say or do certain things. (Personally, I think a lot of that pressure is in his own head; he admitted that's probably at least partly true.)

That said - I have been thinking a lot about how I've behaved since we first discussed "where we were going."

When things first started getting a little weird with Turtle, I was talking to Engineer about what I could, and could not, handle in terms of a relationship. Engineer suggested that Turtle seemed like he needed a lot of time and space, and that if I was willing to give that to him, it might make sense to do so. "I'm talking about spending time together, as friends, without expectations," he said.

I wanted to let go of any expectations. But I also wanted to understand where I stood. I wanted to know - is he saying he just sees me as a friend? Or is he saying he has other feelings and just can't do anything about them right now? To me, those are different. That difference would affect how, or even if, I stayed in Turtle's life.

In my effort to understand, I think I may have unintentionally put some pressure on the situation. I intended to let go of my expectations, but to be honest and fair - I'm not entirely sure I ever did.

Somewhere in all of this, I have learned that I am not very good at letting go of expectations. I may not be in a hurry to get anywhere, but I do want to know where I am headed. That alone is an expectation - and probably one that he wasn't ready to manage.

So where does that leave me? Well, since Turtle and I haven't spent any time together, one could hardly say we're "dating." I suppose we're friends - but just barely. I am not sure if we'll ever get past this point, or what could happen if we did.

But I suppose that's the point, right? I need to learn how to let go of expectations, keep moving forward, and just see what happens.

I may be incapable of just doing things the easy way.