Be yourself. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it!
— attributed all over the damn’ place.
I’ve been watching some of the debates about the merits of potential candidates for the Presidency of the United States with considerably less enthusiasm than usual. (Not that it was ever all that damn’ high. I’m a Bear of Very Little Brain and politics Bothers me).
The name of the game in politics is “Pick me! Pick me!” This will mean that a politician might have Views, but she is going to temper her Views to make sure that the electorate will say “yes” to her come election day.
Believe it or not, poly chilluns, politicians are people. (Stay with me and try to breathe through it. I know this is a shock). This means that if a politician does something, it’s in the Range of Human Experience.
The mating dance is another one of those “Pick Me!” situations. It is a natural human urge to want to be selected by the mate of your own choice. That’s okay. The problem comes when you are fuzzy on what you will do to fulfill that want. (I’m going to pay all of you the compliment of assuming you’re ethical here. If you’re not, go away and stop reading. NOW! I don’t want to be bothered with you).
I consider this something of a “spectrum” issue. Are there things I’m willing to change if a prospective partner wants it? Sure. If someone has a thing for women wearing their hair in a bun, I’ll put my flowing locks up. Won’t cut my hair short because I’m vain about my hair and that’s important to me.
And that’s very illustrative of the point.
There’s nothing wrong with doing the occasional little thing to be accommodating. However, at some point, it’s best to decide what’s core to you. Then don’t compromise on those things.
I know, it sounds crazy. Relationships are all about compromise, aren’t they?
I don’t think so. I think relationships are about being mutually beneficial. Of course you’re going to compromise some things, even important things. That’s okay.
When it becomes Not Okay is when you aren’t true to what’s a fundamental value to you. This can be a very individual thing. To use myself as an example (and stop groaning!), uninterrupted time to write is a biggie for me. It’s huge. Not getting it? Dealbreaker. No relationship where I don’t have my “space” (and it doesn’t have to be physical) to work can possibly go on happily. It’s too core. Time alone to work on stuff might not be a huge deal to someone else.
But something that is core to some people and not to me is… oh vegetarianism. I’d be willing to go (mostly) vegetarian if a partner hard time with the smell of cooking meat in the house. I couldn’t care less one way or the other.1 It would be no big deal not to cook a steak in the house to me.
I italicize those last two words because it is such an individual thing, and it’s really important to know what’s a core issue to you and why. Otherwise, you’re going to have a terrible time choosing a partner wisely.
What’s important to you?
- Lots of time alone to work on your projects?
- Lots of time with your partner?
- Plenty of animated discussion?
- A quiet, calm atmosphere?
- A partner who discloses without being asked?
- A partner that likes to be asked questions?
- Being childfree?
- Lots of family time?
- Plenty of autonomy?
- Lots of shared interests
- Harmony of political views?
Of course, as always, these lists are samples. You can think of at least fifty more or you’re not trying. Here’s the key — all of these things will ultimately boil down to a few specific and rather related concepts. You can use these as principles to guide who you choose for a partner.
But make sure that you’re putting out there who you are, what you’re about and what your core values are. You don’t want someone picking you on false premises.
Put who and what you are out there. Saves time, saves heartache.
And don’t sweat it. The only relationships worth having are the good ones — the ones in harmony with your core values.
1Though trying to tell me I couldn’t eat meat when they’re not around could get close to a core issue real flipping fast.