By David Berry: To even come up with a list of “3 things you need to give up to have a dope relationship,” you have to actually be in a relationship. A year ago, I wouldn’t have been in a position to even pretend to write an article like that from my own perspective. But, I’m thankful to say I am now; I’m closing in on a year with a spectacular woman.
But before that, I used to think that being the last among my single, straight friends was trash. I’ve always been David Berry the sentimentalist, the relationship guy, the softie, the whatever. And somehow, despite my best efforts, all of my friends were deep in relationships, engaged or married. And some of them weren’t even great husbands! Yet and still, I was just swiping left and right on dating apps.
There was an advantage in waiting, though (voluntarily or not). I was able to learn, both through my own experiences and vicariously through my friends, what it took to make a relationship work. Or not work. And here are five of the things I’ve learned. (Just in case you missed it, I also have some lessons I learned from my girlfriend’s dog.)
Your need to be right.Relationships aren’t about being right. Relationships are about getting it right. A couple of relationships ago, I was dating a girl who I took a very principled stance with when it came to disagreements. I would use my rational brain and lay out what she was wrong and I was right, and like a dumb ass, I thought that would somehow win her over. It didn’t. Relationships aren’t about winning. You might win the argument, but unless you find a love-filled common ground, you’ll lose everything else.
Your inconsiderate habits. My girlfriend and I recently moved in together. I’m thankful to say that the transition has been smooth; great, even (we have a dope relationship). I’ll take some credit for that; I’m clean, decorate fairly well and I make my bed every day. But I’m a notorious “leave the dishes in the sink” guy. I’m tired. I’m full. I’m not trying to wash and dry anything. And to me, it’s not a big deal. But my girlfriend does them, because she’s a better person than me. And even though she’s not doing it to prove a point, I feel bad. Clearly, she does the dishes because it’s either just smart to do, or because it gives her piece of mind. Whatever the reason, guess what? Now, I do the dishes too.
Your lack of commitment. As obvious as it sounds, long-term relationships require commitment. But not strictly in terms of showing the other person you’ll stay with them for the long run. I’ve learned a few new types of commitment as my girlfriend and I close in on the one-year mark, particularly as it relates to selfless behaviors; picking up groceries on the regular, making breakfast, taking care of the dog. It’s almost like for every bad habit you get rid of, you need to replace it with a considerate one. Telling my girlfriend I’m committed is nice. Proving it is what will make us rock-solid in the long run.
What did you have to give up for a dope relationship?