Romance, Really, Real.

For those who are seeking advice on relationships and romance —

Before asking those questions, let’s ask some questions of ourselves.

Why am I even going after this relationship?  Why do I want this person to be my significant other?  How much do I actually want to know this person just to KNOW them?  Do I care enough about them that I can just be friends with them, even if they “reject” me? Why is romance so important to my existence?  Is this person I’m crushing on just an object of affection in the musical called “My Life”?  Is my primary goal to date them?  Then what?  Are they just a trophy of hologram-romance that I’ve mentally formed in my own head over sleepless nights?  Where did I get my idea of romance from?  Is my idea of romance informed by movies and TV shows and books?  Am I just addicted to the chemicals of infatuation and attraction and curiosity and “new people”?  Do I just like the drama of flirting and rejection and longing?  Do I actually care that this other person has their own thoughts and ideas and hopes and dreams?  Does attraction instantly mean we need to start a relationship out of thin air?  Is my penis talking?

I think most people buy into a Hollywood paradigm of pseudo-romance that no one ever clearly thinks about: because no one likes to honestly confront themselves.  We’re never called out on this crap.  We don’t get to the bottom of our thoughts because it’s easier to accept the provocative cultural norm of sideways glances and brushing-shoulders-and-fingertips without understanding that relationships demand hard work.

No one thinks of intimacy.  Of really knowing someone, their screw-ups and insecurities and all.  No one thinks of the daily effort of communication and forgiveness and vulnerability and enduring the darkness.  We only like the cute beginnings of possibilities, but not when it requires a real investment of our souls.  It’s dipping our toes into an island of halfway commitment, but jumping ship when we see a tiny flaw that doesn’t fit our fickle preferences.  We say “friend-zone” because we don’t want to say, “I’m an entitled over-privileged spoiled petty kid who always gets my way with everything.”  No one owes you anything.

Maybe we can stop looking out the window at the moon and actually roll up our sleeves and do something worthwhile with our lives, you know, before we invite someone else into that mess.  Relationships happen when we invite someone alongside us into our adventure.  But the adventure has to be in motion first, or else we’ll abuse someone else to create something real when there was nothing real there at the start.  Your journey begins with you.

— J

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