I once had someone ask me, “Even if I were to change my wicked ways, how would you know”?
Well, that’s a lot to wonder, isn’t it? I wasn’t sure I would or could know given the circumstances he was referring to…. At the most, I could only hope that I was with a man who would keep his word.
In any case, at the time, I wasn’t in the best place to ponder the question, let alone answer. I was rather preoccupied with a serious health crisis and other family issues. It also didn’t help that we were diametrically opposed to things he felt I should find acceptable, but the question did stick in my mind for some time…
By the time my head cleared from all strife, I realized what I really would like to know is -how would I know he loves me?
What strikes at our fears about relationships? What do we want from relationships? What kind of relationship do we want? My kind of love – what does that look like?
I know by now that is a highly subjective question even within our basic understandings of what is genuine care for someone else. Yes, it can look like almost anything for anyone – definitely this all falls into the ‘whatever floats your boat’ category.
I know I’m definitely past the shiny trinkets and flower delivery stage. It’s not that I wouldn’t appreciate any gesture small and sweet or even grand, but … that’s not what I depend on.
What I depend on are character traits, not gifts. Those sweet gifts are genuinely nice touches, but if I wanted proof I was loved, I’d look in another direction now.
I’m not sure I’d be able to provide a definitive and certain list because we are ever evolving creatures – hopefully. I’m old enough to be well aware life is not perfect, relationships will always carry disagreements, and sometimes we have to honestly agree to disagree, but at a minimum, I think I would start with these basics:
Loyalty – I expect this from anyone in my love base – family, friends and lovers.
- He/she has my back, covers me, and for a lover in particular, ‘even when I’m wrong’. Correct me in private, but you better stand by me in the wild west. I heard this statement 3 times from 3 different sources today alone. I think the angels want me to know something.
- Would not use our disagreements or me as a foil to make themselves look superior for someone else-ever!
- Has the capacity to weather rocky storms as well as the play of lighter days. We have enough fair-weather friends in life, wouldn’t appreciate one as a partner. I’d also include facing one’s fears in this.
Cherishes – genuine concern for my well-being. A genuine desire to help me be happy, safe, balanced… which could be sharing housework, or worries, an interest in my day. In general, caring about how my world could be easier or brighter or more fun.
Practises respect & honesty– If what I state I need in a relationship cannot be honestly met, then please be decent enough to stand up to say, sorry no can do. I would hope they would also stand up for their own needs, even to say they are moving on to find the person that better suits.
And when I’m at my lowest – would not demand that I must meet his/their needs or all the above will disappear, and especially… would not kick me when I am down. Yes, I know this shouldn’t even have to be noted, but man, you’d be surprised. Or, maybe not.
Yes, it goes without saying, this is a two-way street.
Of course, there’s the actual living together side too, the shared experiences and belief systems, humor, politics, desire of service in whatever capacity. shared travel ideals… the list could go on forever, but if we were to apply the basics, we could surely still share a kiss at the end of the day.
Is that too much to ask?
These things I ponder while I meander on the road to recovery from the ‘big ones’.