Some of us love the Olympics even if we know we wouldn't have a chance to ever qualify. O.K, I understand that. We haven't done the workouts and the long practices; we haven't stayed with our sport for years.
But how about relationships? Is there any acceptable reason you and I can't go for the gold in partnering? You might say, "I was only married for 3 years" or "I've been married 4 times" or "I'm too independent to stay together for 10, 20, 30 or more years." Have you ever wondered about what you'd need to do or be to qualify for Relationship Olympics if there were one? That just tickled my imagination today as I read online and viewed the Sochi Olympics.
Just as some of the finalists have overcome great odds in their physical, emotional, or mental experiences to compete in Russia, so could we—if we chose—read articles on winning the partner of our dreams, overcoming obstacles, and making requests of our partners. And, we could ask our allies to remind us if we slacked on our intentions. I'd bet you money that no one got into the Olympics without a great deal of support, from a trainer and from many who cared.
You may be saying, "Why should I set myself up for failure? I know myself. I can't count on myself to stick with most of my goals." Now, I could imagine saying something similar and yet, when I sit still and ponder, I am intrigued at the thoughts of even a virtual competition for becoming an expert in my own relationships.
We all have our stories and our lessons in what worked and what didn't. I remember "George" who I was in love with several years ago. He was a fundamentalist and I a Unitarian, who wanted no dogma in my life. We'd been dating four months and even talking about being partners in writing and speaking. On the last night we were cozy together, I read David Deida's words about "ravishing your woman to God." My lover was taken aback, and somehow I found myself admitting that I didn't necessarily believe everything in the Bible was the inspired word of God. When he took me home that night, I didn't know the relationship was over. He didn't respond to my calls or to my email; my heart was breaking. It was very hard to believe that was the end. Only six months later did we meet and talk; that led to a bit more peace for me, but nothing else.
So how does this relate to the Olympics? From today's vantage point, I see it as getting into something for which I was not suited. Would an obese person plan to be a champion runner? Should a "no rules" humanist let herself fall in love with someone committed to obeying rules?
At least one good thing came from that. When I met "Peter" two years ago and kissed him at the end of our 1st date, I knew he was leading a Christian revival in Africa soon. I backed off from getting closer, though I was very drawn to him.
I believe I've been a type of contender for the gold in my online search for a partner. I've meet dozens of men over the years and, knowing it's a numbers game, have chosen to be realistic about how often chemistry would sweep me off my feet. If I were an Olympics wannabe, I hope I'd be matter of fact about how my swimming stroke or my skating routine wouldn't automatically get me the results I wanted. So I've continued to answer men's profiles on eharmony, chemistry, okcupid, and others over the years.
Last night I met "Joe", and I know there are possibilities here. He's smart and playful, loves to learn, is curious about life, and even went dancing with me at a local community center on our first date. Now I know that, even after a five-hour date, and those "glances" on the dance floor, that is only as informative as the sense of satisfaction an athlete gets doing his practicing the first weeks. There are many more times around the track or down the slopes before there's any reason to believe this is a viable road to stay on.
Sometimes in the dating game, distance will be as much of a factor as it is for runners. And sometimes we are willing to stay on the track with a lover who doesn't agree with us about abortion or spending money or monogamy. Hopefully, we can deeply discuss the pros and cons of keeping in the race vs. throwing in the towel. I can imagine that people who didn't make the Sochi Olympics either were relieved they took a more doable course to success. Or they were motivated to put in the extra effort so they might not later regret their lack of commitment.
So I'm curious, in the relationship you are in right now, with a lover or family member or friend or co-worker, if you wanted the inner feeling of going for the gold, what would you do the same? Differently? Think about
1) Saying, in a matter-of-fact voice, what you are feeling and wanting,
2) Sharing appreciation for what the other person does and says that is meaningful to you,
3) Asking, at a quiet time, what he or she might like from you,
4) Asking for a verbal or non-verbal reminder that will keep you on track to your personal finish line when you fall back to the sidelines,
5) Finding a way to celebrate all the wins in your relationship, whether through a gratitude journal or three minutes each evening that focuses on all that is working, or just reminding yourself and each other that you are committed to be the best person you can be.
I'd love to offer a complimentary 30 minute coaching call with you to support you in your going for the gold in your relationships. Call me at 206-938-8385 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd also love to hear your feedback on this blog.
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