Thursday, May 9, 2013

Relationships are two-way streets of giving

Relationship is a two-way street of giving.

Relationships (both platonic friendships and romantic ones) are hard work. They require effort and commitment-from both parties.

It seems a lot of people don’t quite grasp the concept.

Say you’ve met someone and felt instant chemistry (plainly put, you are smitten). The other person seems interested enough, engages in flirting, but still, you are unsure of hers/his feelings (and their depth) for you.

To me the way to go would be show your interest in ways that gives a glimpse of what the other person could possibly expect should relationship progress to a more serious level.
We are all human, so a bit of flattery and attention always go long way. And this could be a platform from which to start building a foundation.

For example: you’ve met someone on a trip to another city/overseas. You didn’t really get a chance to spend a lot of time with her/him, but phone numbers/emails were exchanged and you are now heavily flirting online/via text.

One of the ways to show that your interest is more than fleeting would be a surprise trip back to that city/country to spend some time with that person.

Take them to dinner someplace nice (but make it clear that no sexual encounter is expected in “exchange” for dinner) and use that time to get to know them. Ask questions about their life, their past, their goals, dreams and inspirations.

To know that someone has adjusted their schedule, took time and went into great deal of effort just to get to know you is a powerful aphrodisiac, trust me ;).

I’ve been known to do things like that.
Once I’ve met a girl who quite literally took my breath away while on a trip to Melbourne.
Not only I flew back there 2 weeks later, I managed to secure a booking in award winning “Attica” restaurant owned by Chef Ben Shewry named one of the top 100 Chefs in the World (and his restaurant was voted number one in Australia).

Normally one needs to wait 3 months to get a table there on a Fri night. I called in some serious favours from my hospo connections and they actually put additional table in the restaurant (because they really ARE sold out three months in advance) to accommodate me. I can tell you that my date (who used to work in hospo and truly understood what it took to get that reservation on a week’s notice) was duly impressed.

Unfortunately, that relationship never really got started, but despite the heartache it caused me, I will always have great memories of an amazing meal at Attica (and great conversation and connection I shared with my date while there).

Another time (many years ago) I orchestrated a very elaborate surprise encounter, which involved unexpected (to another party) ride in a stretch limo, penthouse hotel room and playing out some fantasies I knew that person had, but could never experience before.

Sometimes it was something as simple as a pair of diamond stud earring waiting on my ex-girlfriend’s bed when she came back from a stressful work-related trip.

I am one of those people who need to know that I’ve done everything I could in an attempt to achieve my goal (whatever that goal it might be), instead of wondering months and years later “What if...”

But back to the work that relationship is. Quite a few people seem to think that all they have to do is offer themselves (as a person and sexual partner) and the other party should be overjoyed at the prospect.
Instead of listening they talk, instead of offering support, they demand endless attention, instead of outlining what they would bring into relationship, they put forth requirements of what the other party should.
And then they are genuinely surprised when their relationships crumble before they even got started.

Relationship is working together towards a common goal. It is often a sacrifice and a compromise.
We are all set in our ways. Some things are non-negotiable (and hence are the deal-breakers), but some can be worked around.

Surely, we’ve all been through times when we simply wanted to be alone, yet we did things our partner wanted to do because we cared about them and wanted to make them happy.
However, it is definitely a two-way street. If one party keeps demanding and taking without ever giving or offering anything in return, resentment will build up.
The fabric of any relationship is ever-changing and fragile. It requires constant assessment and maintenance.
Of course we don’t do things for our loved ones because we expect something in return, but it is a human nature to crave to be treated nicely,preferably equally to the way you treat others-everyone wants to feel appreciated and no one wants to be taken for granted.

We are all insecure on one level or another (some of us more than others), so a bit of reassurance here and there goes a long way.
However, manufacturing “dramas” in order to evoke copious amounts of reassurance is off-putting to many (I know it is to me).
It is not enough to say “I am strong and independent”-you have to act the part. “Damsel in distress” or “lost boy” act are only endearing for a short while-then they become annoying.
Attention seeking strategies don’t usually work and many can see right through them (I view these as off-putting as well).
What works are genuine displays of interest in another person (which involves a lot of listening and validating of other’s views, feelings, experiences) while maintaining a strong sense of self.
I despise people who completely lose their identity in that of their partners.

A big turn on for me is when someone makes it clear what they are bringing to the table, so to speak, without being pushy or demanding total surrender.

For instance, I once told my ex-girlfriend (extremely talented and gifted Chef) that I will finance a restaurant for her and work the front of the house of it myself to help her achieve her dream.
This was not a condition of our relationship, but rather an indication of the depth and seriousness of my commitment.
I meant what I said and would have gone through with it (she thought about it and decided against it for a number of reasons, not relationship related).

Relationships require endless patience and endless restraint. Yes, they are hard work, but when two people finally manage to find that common ground, that balance of give and take from both parties, rewards are truly amazing.

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