From the Get Go

Jun 20, 2015 by

“Start as you mean to go.”

– Wise words once passed from Christyl Abraham’s grandmother to Christyl Abraham to me


          Reverting back to last Saturday’s conversation about following your bliss, a factor in the end of my friends’ friend’s marriage was that he and his wife only saw each other on weekends. Though he was okay with that, she was not.

          “I think once you’re married and you live with someone, you get so used to seeing that person every day that seeing each other only on weekends seems like deprivation,” I reasoned. “There’s a change in expectations once you’re married; because really, when you’re dating someone, you’re not together every day. Personally, I don’t think you need to spend many days per week with somebody to feel connected.”

          We went on to discuss the importance of setting realistic expectations at the beginning of a relationship by preserving personal interests and a social life. There’s a lot of stuff in my calendar that I’m not willing to give up once I’m in a relationship, and there’s no need. I can establish a connection with someone without seeing him three plus times per week and without forgoing other aspects of my life. Setting aside other things to spend more time with someone at the beginning of a relationship and then reverting back to those other things once the infatuation wears off can be perceived as pulling apart. It’s an issue of changing expectations and it’s the reason why it’s so important to start as you mean to go: set the same expectations at the beginning that you plan to carry throughout.

          For example, I’m very adamant about not texting while I’m with people. I think it’s disrespectful to whoever’s in front of me. I also don’t answer messages while I’m pole dancing or working out or writing. As a result, by most people’s standards, I take a long time to reply. Some friends have suggested that I make exceptions when talking to guys, reasoning that they’re not familiar with my texting style and may take my delayed response time as a sign of disinterest. To this, I question how a guy is supposed to get used to the way I communicate if he doesn’t experience it from the get go, and what setting the wrong expectation that I’ll text while I’m out is going to do in the long run when I can’t maintain it. Hence why I refuse to set aside my texting principles, my calendar, and my other priorities for someone else. That’s simply not how I mean to go long term, so I’m not going to pretend otherwise at the onset.

          The same goes for the nature of the relationship itself. Proceeding in one direction at the start and trying to change gears later isn’t going to go over smoothly unless the other person is ready to change gears at the same time. Moving a purely sexual relationship to an emotional level, for example, only works if both people want it to go there. Otherwise, one person is trying to reset expectations while the other is in what-the-fuck mode. If you want a relationship, don’t deny it in the back of your head and just accept what you can get. From someone who’s gone that route before, start on relationship road. If the other person isn’t with you, abandon ship and start as you mean to go with someone who means to go there too.

          I can’t imagine someone coming into my life and me changing everything for him. I would plan a relationship alongside my current priorities, because I’m not in support of planning my life around other people. Setting the unrealistic expectation to anyone that he or she comes above the rest of your life is setting a relationship up for breakup when you can no longer fulfill that expectation or are no longer willing to. Spending an unmaintainable amount of time with someone at the start can cause the other person to feel less important when you regress back to previous priorities. Whereas, keeping your other priorities in place will ensure understanding and set the foundation for a happy, healthy relationship by establishing realistic expectations.

Happiness Tip: Start as you mean to go.

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