I've been seeing a man for 4 months. He said, “Well, I mean I like you and I love your personality.” Doesn't my personality make me who I am? What does he even mean by that?
It means he enjoys your company, but doesn't, at least at the moment, see this going the distance.
Or it means he has no balls and is not willing to commit.
If you care enough to get him out of his idiot fantasy, you might ask him, “What would true love look like to you?” I'm guessing at the bottom of it is some Hollywood sweep him off his feet fantasy. Mostly, love doesn't work that way. Even with the “being swept off your feet,” at some point it comes down to the work you put into a relationship.
I'd want to know if he's willing to give up the fantasy (look at how successful Hollywood marriages are anyway), declare that he loves you, wholly and completely, as you are and as you are not (and I'm deliberately avoiding the word feeling here), and then live and act into that declaration.
In other words, is he willing to grow up, be with the great person in front of him, and commit to creating a life with her/you?
I chatted with a friend the other day. He's a successful business consultant, generous friend, warm and loving father, and active in his community.
And with all that, he doesn't feel like he's mastered the art of communication.
So he got me thinking about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for a great relationship. I'm going to swing to the side of the personal, but the same should work in all relationships.
So I thought about the complaints that some of us might hear:
And these pale in comparison to the final complaint, which we don't usually share. That one is much nastier and could look like: "It doesn't matter. S/He's is just going to do whatever the heck s/he wants anyway." This is the one, of course, that let's a hundred other complaints pile up, until there is this seething mass of resentment, which explodes because you leave your jacket on the couch, or put down the cold cup, but forget the coaster.
And at the bottom of it all, it really is all about the management of expectations. And to get to those, we need to communicate.
And it seems weird to talk about KPIs for this. Maybe you say to yourself "But it was so easy once upon a time." But maybe you also used to notice, probably before you were too bleary eyed from driving the kids around all weekend, or negotiating another holiday with the in-laws. (And wouldn't a thank you be nice?)
And you really do try to remember to put down the toilet seat, and get your sweaty gym clothes to the laundry room. And what about her? "Does she ever remember to put the car seat back again when she uses your car?"
Yes, you're justified too. But being right doesn't make a relationship. Communication does. So maybe it's time to build some of this into your relationship.
So if you want it to grow, it's time to look at what makes a difference. And it's going to start with a good conversation. This can be tough. Sometimes you've let the default program run for a while, and some resentment has built up. Sometimes you'll have to rebuild trust. Sometimes, people have never learned to communicate this straight.
I'm going to invite you to start here:
This isn't to say that you need to be everything she expects, or do everything she wants. It's just to get to what the world looks like through her eyes.
Depending where you are in your relationship, she might ask you some of these questions back. Then again, she might just say, out loud or to herself, "that's all nice talk, but talk is cheap. So what are you going to do now?"
Your job now is to look at all the stuff you wrote down, and look at what you could bring. Maybe you see some of the requests as completely doable, but others seem unreasonable, or even outrageous. You've at least got a point to negotiate from. And it could be that you find taking care of her is a lot easier than you think.
But the exercise is also to look at what is important to you. Maybe she starts with “I hate your poker nights.” You might discover that she just can't stand the mess and the smell that you and your buddies leave behind. It might be that all she needs you to do is clean up after yourself, sooner than you might otherwise do.
And then comment below. The faster you want me to get to Part Two, the faster you should get to work on Part One.
Is marriage a bad idea if your boyfriend is struggling to generate a consistent source of income as an entrepreneur and you're also in a long-distance relationship?
They are not connected. Do you love each other? Are you both willing to be great with each other? Are you both willing to support each other as your are building your dreams?
It might be a harder road than picking the guy with the good job and steady income next door (that might not last either), but wouldn’t it be a better adventure to share, and wouldn't you be happier knowing you picked a partner with whom you could take on anything and keep going until you win?
Of course, it would also take that kind of commitment. Ask him if he's willing to play that game. Ask yourself if you are willing to play that game.
If the answer is yes to those, you've got a good chance with him.
Asked on Quora:
Should I support my musician boyfriend pursue his dreams while he depends on me financially completely? He has been trying for about 6 years.
No. You should tell him to get a damned job and pursue his music on the side.
It's time to stop trying and start doing. And when he takes on his job, he should take on doing it with excellence.
And then, especially if he hates his job, tell him to double down on his music. Work full time at his job, and work full-time at his music, with the same damned intensity.
Then he'll know if he really wants his music, or just likes calling himself a musician.
And don't let him get away with just practicing. A musician performs. Make sure he's booking at least one gig a week, and giving it his all.
But don't you dare suffer for his art. If he wants to suffer for his art, that's great. You can drive him to his gigs, be his sound engineer if you want, and be his biggest fan, but he's got to take on being the damned artist.
Now, you know what you need to focus on. You know what your life will cost. Your job now is to sit down and make the plan. If you want to be making another thousand dollars a month by the end of the year, you need to know how many customers that takes. And if you're employed, just translate that to how much overtime, or what side gig will pay it? Maybe you can look at what you can do without? Maybe you've got a $50 a week Starbucks habit. That's $2600 a year. Maybe that's the vacation you want to take. Or maybe just drop one day of Starbucks a week. That's $520 right there.
Maybe you want to lose twenty pounds. Can you take on a ten minute walk three times a week? Would you be okay skipping dessert, or not eating after 6:30, or just getting enough sleep? Any of these could make a big difference.
At this point in time, it's about scheduling the small wins into your day. I'll leave you with a little wisdom from Jim Rohn:
And if you want help setting yourself up to win, that's what we're here for.
This is the last post in this series, if you want to be on the regular list: