The thing I always knew I wanted, without a shadow of a doubt, was a stable long-term relationship.
Someone to grow old with.
Someone to build a bridge over troubled water with. Together.
In the last few months, however, I experienced some internal shifts in my dating expectations. I let go of a lot of my insecurities and inhibitions.
And I found myself pondering the possibility of being in a non-committed relationship.
Some companionship, just for fun, no-strings-attached-kind-of-fantasy.
It felt like such a great idea. A casual relationship would be so much easier to find and to maintain.
It had a lot of appeal. I would be carefree and detached.
I’d roll with the punches and worry about old age when I got there.
I was sharing this thought with a wise friend, when all of a sudden it hit me:
Did I really lose interest in something that was that important to me?
Or had fear taken over and masked itself as a change in my preference?
I had to reexamine my values in order to find out what I truly desired.
It’s not always that easy to discern.
My inner world has shifted dramatically and it only makes sense that my values would change accordingly.
Here’s what I found.
My family values are unchanged.
I am still as interested in finding a long-term partner as I ever was.
I’m just not as desperate as I used to be.
I believe in the power of dedication over passion.
I believe a broad family unit is much better than a narrow one.
I want my child to grow up with a reliable father figure beside her.
I want her to see how close adults can share a life and deal with conflicts with empathy and genuine care — with an overall feeling of contentment and satisfaction.
Oh and, yes, I want to experience this myself.
I want to find a match.
One that has a similar understanding to mine: that deciding to be together is not a guarantee of a happy-ever-after, rather it’s an opportunity to enrich our lives.
Problem is, it’s been so long since a true sense of togetherness was on the table, that I’ve stopped believing it’s possible.
I’ve convinced myself that having a casual relationship is a good interim solution.
But now that I see it is fear hat led me to give up on my vision, I know what I need to do next.
The next step: holding up the vision.
Now I’ve realized that I do want that forever relationship.
That I crave the interdependency.
I am looking forward to meeting someone I can fully trust when I need him, and whom I can be there for when he needs me.
I want a relationship where dedication and respect win over whatever fleeting emotion might cloud the way.
This is what I envision for myself, and to be totally honest, I was pretty close to having it in my last relationship.
So why is it so hard for me to believe that it’s possible?
Whatever insecurities and fear that come between me and my vision, I let them go.
I’m about to go on a second date later today, and I’m holding my true vision in front of me for this meeting.
Values can and do change over time.
I think it’s part of the ongoing process of becoming better people.
Adjusting ourselves to the world we live in.
Understanding ourselves better and allowing our true essence to shine through our actions.
This is why it’s imperative to examine our values on an ongoing basis.
We need to ask ourselves -
Does this value represent my current understanding of the world?
Should I hold onto this value, or is it time to replace it with something that better suits the here and now?
And, if we are in a long-term relationship, we need to inform our partner that our values are shifting.
Ideally, we should do this “values inventory” with them.
Values precede goals.
In our culture, we are often told to have goals and continuously review them.
But how often are we told to look at our values?
Look at your values.
They are a beacon of light that leads the way when you get a little lost in life.
Make sure you’re going on the right path — the one guided by your true values.