I have been putting off writing about the end of my manbattical for more than a month now. The problem is, I don’t really know what to say. A small part has avoided writing this to avoid sounding slightly neurotic and controlling. But if I’m honest, the main reason I’ve avoided this post is that there is a certain level of added responsibility I am self-imposing on my future relationships, and that is…intimidating.
Now, I’m not talking about responsibility to say that I only want to be involved in long-term, serious relationships on the marriage track; I am absolutely not ready for such ideas. More than that, I think that serious relationships happen because they’re meant to, and not because you want them or you think you’re “ready.” Realistically, are we ever really ready?
Instead, I’m talking about responsibility for my own happiness and the happiness of my partner: the responsibility of knowing what I want, and going for it. The responsibility of knowing when things aren’t working, and taking action to either improve things or move on.
The fact that my self-imposed manbattical has been officially ended does not mean anything has changed – I’m still not in any relationship. Of course, I am actively bemoaning the fact that I would love a cute boy to cuddle up with – but I’m trying to make better decisions, so not every cute boy will do.
What are “better decisions,” you ask? A concise list:
- Not flirting with boys in whom I do not have a romantic interest. (What can I say? I like flirting…)
- Being more vocal about how I feel when I’m talking to boys in whom I am interested.
- Paying more attention to I want, and being more decisive (read: honest) about getting it.
What I’ve realized is that my biggest challenge in relationships is not knowing what I want. In fact, I have even entered a couple relationships because, as a friend put it, “Well, I like being liked.” But “being liked” is not a valid reason to enter a relationship. In fact, it’s a pretty terrible reason.
Other terrible reasons to get into a relationship:
- You are lonely, horny, or bored…and he’s available
- He’s financially stable and he can buy you lots of things
- He’s persistent (it can be good, but it can also be creepy)
- All your friends are doing it
- “Well, I mean, we’re already making out…”
On the other hand, there are many good reasons to get into a relationship:
- You’re attracted to him (mentally, physically, or both)
- He makes you laugh (or giggle, or snort)
- He makes you feel safe
- You always have a good conversation with him
- It’s easy to spend time together – both being active, and quiet time
You would think it would be easy to avoid the relationships which are predominantly made of the first category. You would also think that it would be easy to leave for work on time, but that doesn’t keep me from opening facebook and mindlessly browsing through status updates from people I barely know…
Here’s the thing: I find that I frequently gloss over some of the reasons I shouldn’t be in a relationship. In fact, I will convince myself that I really do find him attractive (even if I don’t), or that our conversation quality will improve the longer we’re together (doubtful)…and convincing myself that he has those good qualities allows me to overlook or reason away all the reasons that particular relationship is wrong, even before it’s started.
So I’ve made a few resolutions:
- I resolve to be more conscious about starting a relationship, instead of the passivity to which I have fallen victim in the past.
- I resolve to be more aware of what I want and need out of a relationship, and communicating those desires. This could range between a casual, friends-with-benefits arrangement to a serious, long-term commitment; regardless, awareness and communication are necessary.
- If my needs are not being fulfilled, I resolve to take action to improve the situation; if things cannot be improved, I resolve to never drag things out.
- Most importantly, I resolve to never regret a smile, kiss, or relationship.
Because we’ve all been there, and I refuse to go there any more.
I don’t know how to conclude all of this, except to say that,relationships are fun, and they’re comfortable. They are a little oasis of calm in a sea of “MY LIFE IS FALLING APART.” They bring happiness and security, and without love, I’m not sure I’d be human.
Now that I’ve gone sappy, I’m going to end things while I can. But I hope I’ve given you food for thought, and if you’re not happy with how your relationships are going, I hope you’ll consider taking a manbattical of your own to sort things out.
It helps… sort of.