Patti asks: “I would like to read your thoughts about romantic relationships. What has life taught you about them? What makes for a good relationship or a bad one for you? should a good one still take work, sometimes hard work?”
Such a timely question, Patti, because today is GC’s and my 50th anniversary! Fifty months, that is. We had our first “real” date on July 13, 2008, and it just happened to be televised. (You can see us at the 20-23 second mark.)
(Happy anniversary GC, and thank you for the happiest 50 months of my life so far.)
Patti, I’m going to address your questions in two parts. Today I will talk about what I’ve learned from (and about) good relationships. It’ll be the shorter of the two posts, because most of what I know about relationships, I learned the hard way. I’ve made WAY more than my share of mistakes, and some of those mistakes I kept making over and over and over again, even after I recognized that they were mistakes.
What makes a relationship good?
The single most important thing is choosing the right person to have a relationship with. I believe we’re each capable of loving many different people, so it’s imperative that we choose wisely. That would include, I think, trying to find a compatible match with respect to the following:
- Someone you genuinely like and respect, and who likes and respects you back. You’ll never be happy loving someone you don’t like and respect.
- Someone with compatible values and political views.
- Someone with shared interests, or a willingness to cultivate some together. (GC and I have taken a bunch of courses together, including mixed media, creative writing, drawing, pottery and quilting.)
- Someone who is flexible (especially important as you get older).
- Someone who is thoughtful and considerate. (I first recognized this quality in GC before we even started dating. We were walking down Bank Street at lunchtime one day when we encountered a pile of dog poo in the middle of the sidewalk. GC whipped a poo bag out of his back pocket and scooped it up. It wasn’t just that he did it, it was that he was so happy he had a poo bag in his pocket.
- Someone you can laugh with – like really laugh with. (GC came back from a walk with Rosie the other day and said “Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” I asked. “Interrupting Cow,” he said. “Interrupting C–” I said. “MOOOOO,” he said. I’m still laughing.
- Someone who can do voices, like Ernie on Sesame Street, or Cheech and Chong.
I’m sure I’ve missed a few things, so feel free to add to this list in the comments.
The Ask Me Anything series will continue for the next little while. If you have a question, ask it in the comments or by email at zoomery at gmail dot com.