Let’s Start at the Beginning
Guys, you want to know how can you be a good partner and find success in love?
Here’s a hint: it might be simpler than you think.
The truth is, there’s really no secret formula to being a good partner or being good in a relationship. All men are capable of being so, and all men probably have been at one time or another. It’s just the consistency that’s hard.
If you want to be good partner or to be good in a relationship, go back to the beginning.
Many things in my life have been enhanced from that simple concept – to go back to the beginning.
It was something that I came across when I was getting my Master’s in Teaching. We were learning about how to get our students to be active and attentive in class, and our instructor informed us that if we were ever going to have students come into class without any preconceived notions – about what they may learn or about what they thought they already knew – and actually be opened minded and attentive in class, we would have to show them how to have a ‘beginner’s mind’.
Otherwise, they would likely be shut off from learning anything new. Thus, defeating the point of teaching.
So before we could really teach anything new, we had to help our students forget that they knew anything just about. To go back to a mindset pre-assumptions. A mindset like they had in their first class ever, on their first day of school ever. To be filled with curiosity and questions, and to listen actively and openly as if they could learn something new and wonderful at any moment. As if they knew nothing. To put themselves in a mindset, in a class, filled with endless possibilities. Where there’s so much to do and learn; where they can’t wait to hear what’s next; and where they don’t assume what’s coming next.
The point being, that in the beginning our mindsets our often the purest and most productive they ever will be. It’s not until we become products of the world around us that we somehow stop taking advantage of what the world has to offer us.
Well, it’s time you applied that same concept to relationships.
I’m don’t mean you should’t know anything about relationships and being a good partner going into it, but you should approach each time like it was your first time. With an open heart and an open mind.
So without further ado…
How to Be Good by Being a beginner
Why is it that all we seem to give in relationships is what we have left to give, what we’ve justified as enough to give, what we feel like giving today, or nothing at all?
Why aren’t we giving the same thing we did in the beginning – our all?
It should go without saying, but you should still try like you did the first time you met her. Like you did when you were first trying to get her to notice you. Like when you were first trying to get her to say yes to you. Like when you wanted nothing more and would have done anything to have her be with you.
I know she’s said yes now, or I do, or gave up and settled for you, but that doesn’t mean she deserves less effort from you now. Especially since all it appears you managed to do the first time was to trick her into a seemingly poor decision.
You should still try. A lot.
She’s worth it.
You’re capable of more.
You shouldn’t just try with whatever leftover energy you have, or try just enough to appease her, or try just for the sake of trying. You should try like your (and her) goddamn life depends on it. Because your life, your shared life, does. It isn’t guaranteed.
Trust me, a relationship won’t work if you’re barely doing your part. As my grandfather once said, and I’m paraphrasing here, “A relationship can’t be 50/50. It’ll never work that way. Someone is always going to do less than their part at times. For it to work, it has to be more like 90/90, so that when one of you falls short the other can be there to pick up the slack.”
Try because you want to be the man who does more than your share. Try because everyday you can still get her to take notice of you and say yes to you like she did in the beginning. Try because she shouldn’t have to try to be in love with you. Try because you can. Try because love does.
Also, try because in doing so you might be able to recreate that magic you all had when you first met. The magic you made. The magic that probably doesn’t exist now.
Try and redo that first date, or your first anniversary, or your honeymoon maybe and see what happens next.
But just try.
Then try harder.
(PS: That also means to continue to take care of yourself, look nice, be well groomed (everywhere), etc., etc.)
2. Remember the First Time You Saw Her
I don’t mean try and remember what bar you were in or what friend introduced you two, I mean remember what it felt like when you gazed upon her the first time. When you ‘saw her’ saw her the first time. When you took her all in. All the little quirks and imperfections that made her her. That made her irresistibly unique and attractive to you. That made you want her to notice you too.
Think about that for a moment.
Do you remember that moment? Do you remember what she looked like? Do you remember how bad you wanted her to notice you? How it felt to be affected by what you saw? How you wanted her affection? How awkward and exciting it all was?
Well, take notice, that same person who made you feel all those things is still before you.
You just might need to pull your head out of your ass to see it.
Granted, she may not look the same as she did then, but neither do you asshole. And that’s not the point. You’re both going to age and change, a lot. So get over it. But underneath it all will always be those same two people who fell in love with each other in the beginning. The same two people who saw something in each other in the beginning. Who saw something worth holding onto. Something you wanted to keep all to yourself.
And don’t think that other people didn’t see those things (in her) too. That they didn’t want to be with her too, but that she saw something in you instead. Something you probably haven’t lived up to.
So stop taking her for granted just because she’s with you.
If you want to keep her and keep that excitement going after the first date, you need to find a way to see her like you did then again. Because I guarantee others still do.
You need to find a way to fall in love with her again; with what you saw in her again. Find a way to be that man she hoped you would be. Not again (because you probably never were), but for the first time and for the rest of time.
It’s all there.
She’s still there.
You’re just out of focus.
Look (inside yourself).
How many times have you been told that shit?
Well, guess what? You should.
But not just for the sake of trying or to keep up appearances (or under the assumption you already know what she’s going to say). Listen like you did when you were first trying to get to know everything about her. Like when you were trying to use every little piece of information about her to input yourself into her future. Listen like you did when you actually cared.
Remember that? Remember actually caring about what she had to say?
Remember how what she had to say mattered to you? Remember how you asked her questions and shit? Remember trying to find out her family members names so you could recite them back and impress her? Remember learning her likes and dislikes so you could plan a date she’d really enjoy? Remember trying to find out what she wanted to do with her life so you could aline yours with hers? Remember how listening enabled you to love her?
(By the way, if you didn’t do any of those things you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship [with anyone].)
And now what? Now that you’ve ‘got her’ you can’t even turn off the fucking T.V. and listen to how her day went, let alone ask her about it?
Oh wait, that’s right, the game is on. Fuck me what an asshole.
Shut up and listen.
Because by doing so you just might learn something new. You just might find out how to make her (and you) happy again. You might even be shocked to find out that what made her happy when she was 18 or 21 or 35 or whatever may not be the same thing as it is now. You might just realize you need new notes. You might even decide to be a real man and do something with that information.
Because it’s honestly the least you can do.
4. Drop Your (Unfair) Expectations
Ooo, I’m not sure most of you are ready for this one.
Who can even remember a time when you didn’t expect things from your significant other?
I mean, what’s so unfair about expecting someone that loves you to know everything about you and do everything for you?
Like your expectations of her to do the dishes you dirtied, or know what you want to eat at every meal, or put your stuff up where you like it to be put up, or know what your favorite team’s best player is, or just be your personal fucking secretary and slave all the time.
I mean if she loves you, she should right?
I mean, someone that loves you should be able to read your mind and do everything you want exactly how you want it to be done.
That sounds rational.
That sounds like love.
Well, guess what Capt. Didn’t Pick Up On My Sarcasm, it isn’t.
Love doesn’t expect. So stop expecting.
And love sure as hell doesn’t blame someone else for not knowing or doing something that only you yourself could completely know or do in a manner you envision.
(Not that all those things you expect from her are things you’d ever do for her in return.)
Love just appreciates. Period.
That means love accepts things as they are, not as you want them to be.
Which means loving her for her, not whatever you’ve decided to expect her to be.
And that’s what makes new love so great; in that, you can’t really expect someone new to do but so much because they’ve only just met you and haven’t been subjected to your unfair expectations and behaviors long enough to be responsible for them. You simply just enjoy them as they are and live in the moment with them. Not in some unsatisfiable, unfair world you’ve created.
And how awesome is that? To just love someone without expecting anything from them?
Isn’t that what love is supposed to be all about?
So why do we stop doing that after the beginning?
Why do we place the stress of all those unfair expectations upon each other?
Not to say you should never expect anything of anyone, but creating expectations of someone which only serve to benefit yourself isn’t healthy for a relationship.
In other words, if you’re disappointed in a relationship, chances are it’s because you expected something from someone that they couldn’t deliver. More than likely something they didn’t choose for themselves.
Now, maybe that’s on them, and maybe that’s on you. But all I know is if you appreciate someone for who they are you’ll never be disappointed, because they can’t be anything else.
At the same time, if you don’t like someone for who they are, don’t expect them to be someone else either.
Long Story Short
If you couldn’t tell, I didn’t write all these things just to call out the guys. These same rules can be applied to either sex or any type of relationship. And I didn’t just say them to point a finger either. I’ve done all these things and more (and all at once), and this serves just as much of a reminder to me as the next person.
I wrote it because I don’t want people to miss out on all the opportunities to learn, do, or love more. I wrote it because want everyone to be that kid again in the first class ever, on the first day of school ever. To go back to the beginning.
To see, love, and do like it was your first time.