We hear it all the time- love is the key. Love is the answer to everything. Love conquers all. Well, I disagree. "What?! OK, now you've really lost it Mariposa." Hear me out. When it comes to relationships- love does not conquer all, it is not the answer to everything and it is not the key to a lasting relationship. Yes, love is part of it, but it will only take you so far.
I may only be 28 but I've had my share of experiences with heartbreak and long term relationships. I know what works and what doesn't. So why has society made us buy into this dream of love being the answer to everything? We're just setting ourselves up for failure. Yes, you may love someone, but does that make them right for you? Women love their abusers- does that sound like a lasting relationship? Maybe, but it would be one hell of a life for the person being abused! Sometimes we love people and things that are not good for us. So no, love is not enough. If it were then I would have stayed with my very first boyfriend, or my ex husband! I loved them both very much, but with them I turned into a bitter, depressed, broken mess. Even love couldn't conquer that. I found myself wishing I didn't love them because it would make things so much easier. So no love is not the "key", the "answer", the "conqueror"- it's only a piece to the puzzle that helps put together the finished product of a healthy, lasting relationship. What are the rest of the pieces you ask? I'll tell you what they are in my opinion :)
Friends with benefits
Seriously! Your significant other should first and foremost be your friend. So pretty much you end up being friends with benefits, with love thrown in the mix. Think about it- if you can't stand the person how does it have any chance of working? There has to be friendship there. After a long ass, horrible day you should be able to go to your partner and talk to them, bond. You need to know they are not only there for you as a boyfriend/girlfriend, but a friend- someone you can count on to have your back. Someone you know wants to hang out with you and enjoys their time.
How many people do you hear say "God! I have to go watch a chick flick with my girlfriend. I'd much rather go do something else." Or "My girlfriend said we need to talk- that's never a good sign." What?! You should look forward to being with the person you love! You should be just as comfortable sitting and talking about something as simple and odd as toe jam as you are expressing your love. Hell, the majority of the time Sir and I are together it's like hanging out with one of my BFF's! Except we hold hands and are attracted to each other :) I'm just comfortable with him and like spending time with him. He is my friend first.
Oh, another benefit of being in a relationship with a friend..... OK so maybe it's just our relationship, or maybe it has to do with the fact that we are poly. One thing I actually like and think is pretty funny is when with one of us finds another attractive, we'll point them out and both stare, give our opinion LOL. Just another benefit in my book :) Don't have to hide the fact that we check other people out. Cause we all do it anyway whether we admit it or not! But I like that I can actually voice my thoughts- because Sir is my friend. I don't think we could do that if we were not friends and only lovers.
Pets start to look like their owners
Just as humans when in relationships, start to pick up on their partners personality traits/ mannerisms. Not only that- certain people bring out certain traits in us. So a good thing to realize is- you need to be with someone that brings out the best in you. That makes you strive to be the best you can be. Not one that brings out your anger or suppresses your confidence.
For instance, as I said before I did love my ex husband. But something about him brought out a side of me I never knew existed. I had never been so angry and depressed in my life! It destroyed me- I couldn't believe I had that in me. Now I know, yes I do have it in me. I just have to be with people that bring out the best in me and I in them. Or else life can get really complicated and downright pathetic.
Now with Sir- not only do I strive to be the best girlfriend/sub/friend that I can be for him- I try to be the best I can be as a person in general. He makes me want to be "a better woman" hehehehe. He brings out my confidence and motivates me to do the things I should. He supports me in everything I do so I am free to do what I need to do in life knowing without a doubt he will always be on my side. He accepts me for me so I can freely be ME. You have no idea how refreshing that is.
Opposites attract, but only for so long
Then again if you're with someone too similar to yourself it can get boring as well. It would be like dating yourself! Which might work for some, but not me. No, I feel you have to find the right balance. You need to really think about the things that are important to you and find someone similar to you in those aspects and different in less crucial areas. Like for me morals are a huge deciding factor. I have to be with someone that holds the same morals as me, or at least has some! Other things such as music are trivial to me. But to some music may be their life so they have to find someone that fits them in that sense.
I also feel it is important to have some similar hobbies and some that are different. You need to be able to enjoy doing a few activities together, but also need to have a few you do as an individual. You need time with your lover just as much as you need time away from one another. No clingers! Be able to stay your own person.. You never know what may happen in life. Your significant other may be your life, you do everything with them- then one day they die in a car crash. Where does that leave you? Missing half of yourself. No, be independent in some aspects. It will make you happier in the long run :)
The whole kit and caboodle
You gotta love the whole person. Don't be in it for great sex, or income, or great abs, or a winning personality but not so easy on the eyes. If so- you'll find those little aspects you thought you could overlook in the beginning become the things you can't stand later on. For some reason commitment magnifies all our shortcomings. In the beginning you may like how spontaneous the person is because you never know what to expect. Down the line you'll find yourself saying "can't you just plan ONE thing?!"
I say go ahead and pick the person apart. If you don't in the beginning, believe me you will down the road! Might as well get it out of the way and see if you really can handle and love everything the person has to offer. People don't have options to upgrade. It's not like you are picking out your mate at a car lot. "Yeah, I'll take the thinner, darker model. But could you switch out the average brain for a genius and the bad temper for the relaxed option?" No, you don't get to pick and choose what you like and swap out what you don't. We're not cars- we're human beings with our own individual personalities that cannot (yes girls I said it- cannot! So don't even try to change a man. It wont happen. Let the poor guys be) be changed. You have to love the person as a whole, good and bad. You have to love all of them- their whole being, their soul.
Speak the same language
You can communicate all you want, but unless you communicate in the same way it wont make a difference. You always hear about communication being so important in relationships. I've seen my fair share of great communicators whose relationships are in shambles. It's because one is speaking Greek while the other is speaking Japanese! They are both communicating- but are doing so in a different way to where the other party doesn't understand. So not only do you have to communicate- you've got to pay attention to the style of communicating you are putting out and receiving. Or else you'll go round and round in circles.
My coworkers for instance! They are always bickering, when actually they are both saying the same thing but in a different manner. It doesn't help either that both of them use incorrect words to describe things! It annoys the shit out of me! But I am able to figure out what they are conveying so I can usually communicate with both of them. But the two together- it's like world war 3! Speaking of war- that was my marriage. We did not communicate on the same wave length. I was speaking "mature adult" and he was speaking "selfish child" ;)
Anyways- you get it? It's not just about the ability to communicate- but the way you communicate.
Spicing things up
Yep, that's right! You got to keep things fresh! Spice up your love life! Just kidding. No, spice up your WHOLE life! Research shows- look at me getting all technical- that the key factor in happy relationships is continually experiencing new things with your partner or learning things from your partner. It's true! I read an article on this a while back and it makes sense. They talked about the whole honeymoon period of a relationship and how happy you are because you are learning new things about your partner and life in general and you experience a lot of firsts with the person. Then they got into the whole chemical/hormone thing. Learning or experiencing something new releases some chemical blah, blah, blah... that makes you happy. So it only makes sense that if you continually try new things and learn new things from your partner- your brain keeps releasing that chemical- hence continual happiness.
Now this is the part where I wish I could stand up and say to the world "I am a BDSM advocate. Troubles in your relationship? Spank your troubles away! Having trust issues? Hand over control to the one you love! Partner need an attitude adjustment? Tie em up and show em who's boss!" Cause if there is one thing BDSM is not- it's predictable. There's always something new to try, a new avenue to explore. There's so much out there in the world of kink I don't think you could ever get bored. That's the problem nowadays with the divorce rate! Not enough kinky people! If I were a therapist- my running prescription would be BDSM. Maybe it's even the secret to world peace! "give kink a chance..." I wish I lived in a world that was that open.
Kink is just as important to me in my relationship as morals. Do we match up on morals? OK, great! How about kinks? No? Sorry- it wont work.
Anyways, on a more serious note- that is what I've learned on my journey in life so far. Yes it takes a LOT more than love. It's a lot of work, but that's why you need to find the people in life that are worth all the effort. Have you found them? I know I have :)