Steven Lake explores changes you need to think about if you want be in a committed relationship. It’s only as hard as you make it.
Being in a committed relationship is different than being single. This seems self-evident, but I constantly talk to guys who are shocked that their partners are giving them grief because of their “single” guy behaviour. Here are ten differences to be aware of:
1) You can’t make your own schedule.
This issue typically arises around going out with your friends, inviting your friends over for supper without checking in with your partner, and going out for drinks after work, again, without checking in.
It seems that a lot of guys new to a fixed relationship forget that they are now in an equal partnership and that partners like to know what the hell is going on. It’s just a common courtesy that somehow gets blown out the door when going from dating to a relationship.
2). You can’t make major purchases without consulting your partner.
Even for personal items. I know someone who bought a car without telling his wife. Was she pissed off or what? This can be a major shock as all you had to think about before being in a relationship was whether or not you had the money – and maybe not even that. In a committed relationship this sort of behavior will make your life hell.
3) It’s not just your money, even if you are the one making it.
Whether she works, is a stay at home mom (even more work), or reads books and eats Doritos all day, if you are in a relationship for, depending on where you live, between one and two years, the law states that she has the right to half of what you bring in during your time together (this goes both ways). Most people don’t think about this until they break-up. That’s when life gets interesting.
4) Sometimes, you will have to do what another person wants even when you don’t want to.
Relationship is about compromise when you can’t agree on something. Gone are the days when whatever you chose to do, you did, without consulting someone. Now, you may have to relinquish getting your way all the time and make choices for your partner and the relationship.
5) Private time – what’s that?
When you come home there will be someone there, even when you want to be alone. However, it will be critical to your health to be able to figure out (with your partner) how you can get your private time. Some people go for walks, or meditate, or take a separate vacation (not my favorite but I know one couple that swears by this tactic for time alone and for appreciating the other). It doesn’t really matter what you choose, just as long as it gives you time to be by yourself and your partner can live with it.
6) No more crazy adventures by yourself.
Gone is the excitement of just hitting the road to see what will happen and who you will meet. Once again, there is no stopping the two of you going on the road for exciting times to unmarked places and meeting new and exotic peoples.
7) Sex with one person.
For most of us, being in a committed relationship means monogamy. If this is an integral part of your understanding of what constitutes a committed relationship, and you’re into it, no problem.
For some guys, monogamy is a major challenge especially if they have been playing the field successfully. It can become habit forming and having sex with one woman over any length of time will take attention to keep the sexual energy vital. When you’re single, this is rarely an issue as novelty is exciting in and of itself.
8) You will have to talk about your “feelings,” especially about the relationship.
When single this rarely came up because relationships were too short to establish substantial feelings for the other person. Indeed, when feelings did arise it was often a warning to move on.
However, now that you have decided to commit, you must not only be able to identify your feeling, but be able to communicate them to your partner in an intelligible way.
This is no easy task if you have never done it before and missed the man woman communication course in high school or university. Darn, I forgot, they don’t offer such a basic and practical course in our education system. What was I thinking?
9) You will have to start acting responsibly.
This is not to say that a single person can’t act responsibly but being in a committed relationship has the ring of responsibility about it in the language itself. The opposite of commitment phobic is . . . someone who is able to make a commitment. In other words, to be responsible.
10) You will have to care for someone else as much as you care for yourself.
If you truly love someone this will not feel like a chore. If it does, you haven’t gotten over yourself and should consider whether or not you are ready for a committed relationship.
There you have it, ten things to think about when going from being single to being in a committed relationship. It is a change, a big change. It is a different way of thinking and interacting with another person.
And even though this article is a warning to the unwary, it is not meant to scare you off committed relationships.
I love being in a committed relationship even if it stretches me to think and act outside my comfort zones. Without that challenge, there is no learning and personal growth stagnates. So, if you are up for becoming more than you have been as a single person, get into a committed relationship and see where the voyage takes you.
Photo:Flickr/Grote Markt Leuven/FaceMePLS