Tuesday, February 22, 2011

hi, let's date.

turns out i get a lot of response on my blog when i talk about real things. so ima try and do that more regularly.

let's talk about commitment.

(not like the tattooing-your-forehead kind of commitment.)

i've thought a lot over the past couple years about the idea of really committing to relationships. during my undergrad, i was an overanalyzer. i'd try so hard to see the end of a relationship from the beginning, and if i didn't think i could marry someone after a few dates or a couple months, i bailed. why prolong it, i said? why bother hurting anyone if i'm not 100% confident about my feelings?

then i did some thinking. and i thought, what do i have to lose by devoting more of myself and more of my time to legitimately seeing what happens? not on casual dates, not by randomly bumping into each other on campus or at church activities, but by actually being in a legit relationship.

so i tried to be different. i started being brave. i started speaking my mind like nobody's business. i started dating with a new mindset: the "why the heck not" mindset. instead of fretting on date one about whether or not i thought i could be with someone long-term, i started telling myself i didn't need to know those things right away ... and if i saw potential, i should go all in.

truthfully, you can hem and haw for months about dating someone (been there) and never figure out what you really want or need just by pondering alone.

or, you can decide to call someone your boyfriend/girlfriend and give it all your attention and devotion, and you'll figure out what you need to know much sooner than you would've by keeping one foot on the shore.

it might not all end in happiness and roses, but at least then you know. your heart might get broken, but at least you took a chance on giving it to someone. there's just so much to be said for taking risks without knowing it all.

i think the very nature of commitment can do a lot for a relationship. if you've said you're going to make it work, you'll try harder to do so when the little bumps happen. (why do you think arranged marriages work out so well? because they make them work. because they're not accustomed to excuses or easy ways out.)

i've discovered i can learn so much more about a guy by calling him my boyfriend and spending those we're-exclusively-dating moments of our lives together (e.g. eating dinner together every night, flopping on each other's couches and reading or doing hmwk together, texting all day, etc.) rather than trying to decipher how a relationship would be by going on a rigidly formal date for 2 hrs every friday night.

so here's to commitment. here's to relationships.
because it turns out that letting go of the shore teaches me all the things i always wanted to figure out without jumping all the way in.

and i'd say, i haven't lost anything by jumping.
but i think i've gained a lot.



format9 said...

I have to admit that as a male I started skimming about half way through your post... nothing personal, we just work that way. Once you got your point across... or was it the sappiness (we don't all have an owl to help with our tootsie-pops). Your thinking is quite mature about wanting a relationship, however, "serious dating" is an oxymoron. What is one to do in "richer or poorer" when you only know serious? I feel guilty trying to offer advice on relationships (I aim lower... somewhere around hoping my rambling will amuse). I am one of the luckiest when it comes to the topic. After failing for years I found my "you complete me" person and (I was freaking until) she finally agreed to me finding her. Later I find out that I was more blessed than I had realized, tied to the Ellis, Cobb and even Hawkes families.
So, my thoughts are,... you should be looking for best friends cuz boyfriends are icky.
Later days. -W

Sherri Romney said...

I like this. From a girl who jumped in a little TOOOO much with relationships, I have to agree that I learned a lot because of it. I lost a lot. I got hurt more often than not. But by giving things my all, I KNOW that where I am at now and who I am with now is the best thing in the world for me. You can 'Friday-night' date forever and still not really be getting anywhere. Anyway. Love you.

Elder & Sister White said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elder & Sister White said...

Oh so many thoughts...I think you are on the right track. I have had several relationships stall out and burn up because one of us was not willing to commit. I think there are two ways that we can commit in a relationship: 1. Committing to the relationship itself, ie. being willing to give it a good college try to see where things go, and 2. Committing to the person in the relationship, that's the scary one. It took me a long time to realize that I can sever the two commitments though. I realized that I don't have to be committed to the person from the very beginning, just willing to commit to try to make the relationship with that person as good as it can be. I am convinced that being able to do the first is the only way the second can naturally happen.

The problem is that being open and committed to a relationship leaves you completely open to being hurt. Our natural protecting behaviors scream at us to be guarded and hesitant until we know we are safe. No one likes to get hurt, and the easiest way to be safe is to be close the vulnerable parts of ourselves. Those most vulnerable parts of ourselves are the very parts that need to be opened if we are to really let someone in and be able to commit to them. Elder Hafen said, "[One] kind of emotional pain to which we all seem subject arises from the risks we take in allowing ourselves to love others. There is no suffering quite like that which comes when love is shattered. After years of patient waiting for what seems like the right time, one may open up his or her heart to another, only to find that tender heart bruised or broken when the love is not returned. We therefore bear grave responsibility for the purity of our motives when some trusting heart has offered us entrance. Anyone who stands on that threshold stands on holy ground, ground which must not be exploited or defiled. But should a relationship so develop that, in spite of honesty, caution, and goodness of motive, a parting of ways still must come, we must not let the pain of that moment make us so resentful or bitter that we become unwilling to risk opening our hearts again. That kind of risk is necessary, because loving simply has its risks. In a sense there is no love without fear."

Getting hurt sucks, but its all part of the process, and I am certain that being alone is worse. I agree with you, Be Open, have a "----friend."

Anonymous said...

People who "hem and haw for months" usually really hurt the person who would love to date them.

Quinn the Eskimo said...

hi. i brought some friends from out of town to the roller derby with me for your birthday but we got there just a smidge late and didn't see you there. let's date.

young dimitri said...

I agree. There are people I sort of flirted around with for months, and never really got to know. If we had just dated for 2-3 months, A) We would have had a lot more fun with less stress, and B) We would have actually gotten to know each other and learned something from it all. As it was, we just drifted in each other's orbits for a little while, then slowly floated apart. Lameness. Extreme lameness.

Rachel Jones said...

Although you may prefer a more mature response....when I read "flopping on each other's couches" I lost all composure and sensical-ness. #Distraction #ClearlyNotReadyForGrownupTalk