The reason I am so surprised by this is because I've been in serious relationships before. At least two others were very serious, committed, long term deals - that could have potentially ended in "forever".
So I wonder, why is it that in THIS relationship I'm faced with so many lessons and realizations? Maybe it's because this is the first time I've lived with a boyfriend. Which I believe makes you so much closer that perhaps it sheds light on new things. Or maybe it's because I'm 26, he's 27, we both have careers, and are happy. And that's when all the real shit hits you. Because you've accomplished a lot of what you wanted to accomplish. Which means now you have to move on to other, grander things.
Whatever the reason, the newest aspect of a relationship I'm learning is making decisions TOGETHER that will affect BOTH of you. I think in a traditional relationship (one where you get married younger, then move in together) this is something one would start to discover after they tie the knot. You are bonded together legally, so one begins to think of their choices in an "US" mindset, instead of a "ME" mindset.
But in the non-traditional relationships that are no longer that obscure, where people date well into their 20's, live together, have babies, move across the country, all before marriage... this jump-shift in perspective can happen in any committed relationship - whether or not you're legally bound.
Even though I've been in relationships during college and after (while I was starting my career), I still always thought about my future as MY goals, MY ambitions, and MY plan. Yes, I always calculated my boyfriend at the time into the equation. But, I guess I just always had the selfish belief that they would just follow MY plan. Or I had the naive belief that somehow MY plan and HIS plan would perfectly align.
But now my eyes are open to that selfishness and . Tim is his own person. He has lived 24 years of life before meeting me. And I am my own person. I have lived 23 years before meeting Tim. Of course we are going to have different views on life, our future, different goals and aspirations.
I've always known this is the case (for those of you who are thinking, "DUH Kali"). But once you've cemented YOUR future plan, then fallen in love with someone and written them into your future in red permanent marker, you don't stop to think that plopping a new character into your already written story isn't going to work.
Because they have a future plan already written, too. And maybe they took a red Sharpie and added your name into their script. And then you sit down and realize, you have two stories blotted in red that include the same main characters, but the plot, the rise and fall events, and the endings are all different.
So then what?
It's hard for Tim and I. We are both selfish people. We are both driven. We both want what we want.
This is embarrassing to admit, but I've never thought about sacrificing my goals for a man. I never thought that would be a decision I would have to make, or would want to make.
I also never thought I would have to ask a man to sacrifice his goals for me. Luckily, I live in a time where men are more wiling to do this, or even consider it an option. But I still never thought I would have to ask someone to sacrifice for me.
So how do you decide? Does the person who makes less money sacrifice for the more profitable job? Does the one who has a more fulfilling or meaningful career get to call the shots? Does it depend on family or legacy or whoever "wears the pants"? Do you take turns?
Does compromise always mean one person is being selfish and the other is making a sacrifice? Is one person always going to hold the other back and is the other always going to resent them because of it?
How do you take a risk for each other without screwing yourself over?
How do you find a balance between selfishness and sacrifice?
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