I am a good person.
I was raised with values. I was brought up to have morals. I grew up knowing that there are rules and that they were made to be followed. And I am well aware that there are times rules cannot apply, as well as the fact there have been times that I have broken the rules with a clear understanding that I have chosen to do so.
But I definitely understand how in a relationship certain rules must always apply.
The first is Trust.
In any relationship, there has to be trust. Real trust. Honest trust. Not the kind where you sleep around in secret while your partner waits for you at home. Not the kind where you tell the rest of the world you're single almost as if you're embarrassed to admit someone holds your heart. You must have trust and it must be real.
Some people mistake being possessive for trust. Other people mistake being investigative as a test of trust. Ultimately trust is not something you do. It is something you live with another person. And when this kind of trust is broken, and one honestly and truly hopes to regain it and repair the damage wrought by its abuse, the one who has done this can NEVER ever claim to have fully paid their dues. That is not the breaker's right. That is not the breaker's choice. For something that is lived, the breaker for the rest of his life will and must do what he can to regain it.
And if that breaker does it again. And again. One can only imagine the level of selfish pride that person could have to even claim he's paid his dues.
Trust is a tangible thing in a relationship. It is a good pair of worn yet study shoes that helps a couple get through adversity. It is a well-made umbrella that can hold up against any storm. Sometimes, it might leak. Or sometimes, some rocks might slip in and make the toes hurt, but only an intentional act can truly break it, and only a lie from the start can make it weak from the beginning.
The second rule is Sensitivity.
In a relationship, two people choose to share their lives to each other. Two people allow their experiences to become a wonderfully symbiotic swirl of lives, dreams, fears and passions to interweave and flow with each other. But this closeness has a price and that price is the rule of sensitivity. One should never ever focus solely on oneself or simply wait for the other to complain. One must learn to feel his partner's nuances and to be able to read his partner's reactions. This is a bit trickier due to the simple fact many relationships tend to have their own little games. Even worse with the fact many people tend to think the games ARE necessary for a relationship to work.
But no, a real relationship works because in terms of sensitivity, the partners are well aware of each other's feelings, and know when something goes too far or if something is getting abusively selfish.
It is easy to mistake sensitivity for many less-favorable things: Being overly sensitive or emotionally melodramatic is not being sensitive. Neither is being over-protective or jealous. While any normal relationship may have some level of teasing, joking around, light-hearted games or moments of being mysterious or secretive for the right reasons, sensitivity kicks in when one considers simple questions: How will my partner really feel about me doing this? Would I be okay if this is done by my partner as well?
One doesn't need to have telepathy or to wait for a fight to know if the other is hurt or demeaned by one's actions. One merely has to be sensitive. And yes, it can get very hard to be sensitive if one's focus is more on how others would view you as a couple. Many couples get too caught up in "looking good and perfect" for those around them, they forget to consider how the partner might already be feeling internally.
The third rule is Patience.
In many ways, this is a tough rule. After all, patience can too easily be confused with being passive. Or being non-responsive. But if one has learned to bear in mind the first two rules, trust and sensitivity can make patience pretty much second nature to accomplish.
Patience sadly is the one most easily abused as well by a partner who fails to truly have the first two rules. In a relationship, one has to learn that the role of patience goes far beyond merely waiting for the other to get home from work, or to wait for say, a few minutes after an unresponded to message then complain or suspect something is up. Patience is learning to accept the simple truth that we are all individuals - people with their own interests, dreams, hobbies and sources of joy. In some cases, we find someone who shares many of this. In others, we find our differences make the relationship more interesting. Patience is what allows us to love the fact that our partner finds joys in other things as well, and shares that experience with us. Patience in a healthy relationship is going to see a movie you don't normally see because you will enjoy seeing your partner who has been waiting to see it for months so happy to watch it. Or watching one go shopping and not being impatient, because you know the other is aware you are waiting and still wants to make the right choice. It is spending time together in a room, quietly busy with your own responsibilities or hobbies, but never feeling the need to demand attention from the other. It is understanding that a relationship will always have some level of give and take. It is clearly embracing the fact that, thanks to trust and sensitivity, you do this because you are happy how it makes your partner happy, and you know your partner does the same for you.
The last rule for me Responsibility.
In a relationship that works, both partners are responsible. This is a responsibility that reflects the first three rules and at the same time reinforces them. From the most basic level, in a relationship, both partners know what they have to do from the economic to the emotional level. This, after all, ain't The SIMS where one can create a person in the house solely made to work all day and generate money while the other person burns through the funds, parties all night and lives the life in some ways all of us secretly hope to have thanks to how popular media has brainwashed us. This is real life. Money is required to buy food, to pay the bills, and work is necessary to get that money. Beyond merely monetary responsibilities, there are of course other responsibilities such as keeping the house clean, having food to eat, making sure the budget is maintained and never neglecting your children (typically at the start, your pets) and their own needs.
And even beyond that, there are the personal responsibilities as well as the responsibilities to one's partner.
No, I don't mean having to "update them when you are out" because that's covered in trust and sensitivity and patience. I don't mean pointing fingers either at who should have done what and whatnot. But I mean, remembering to have time for your partner one way or another at the same time being aware of how limited the time can also be. I mean making plans with your partner to enjoy the fruits of your hard-earned cash together and not simply splurging it unless someone complains. I mean understanding one cannot condense failing in the first three rules for a number of years, being forgiven and given more than just a second chance, then making a huge fuss when your partner makes a similar mistake. Responsibility in many ways is similar to being equal. Being fair. And once again, while absolute equality is impossible (after all, we aren't able to literally measure experiences and events and cut them in half) it can be accomplished with the first three rules guiding you. And each time you accomplish it, the first three rules are even strengthened further.
Some of you readers might find it strange that love isn't a rule. Or why other things like honesty or communication are not listed as rules. Personally, its because they aren't rules.
Honesty is a choice born from one's desire to accomplish Trust. Honesty is also a choice to achieve a level of sensitivity. Communication is developed in the yearning to achieve all four rules better. And Love?
Love was always the elusive factor in any relationship.
Truth be told, many relationships existed before love came into the picture. Some forged relationships out of sheer lust and the desire to have more frequent sex. Others were created out of necessity, be it due to cultural, societal or financial reasons. There are even a few that exist out of the sole need to appear to be together.
Then there are those who learn to love each other. Many believe this is the best form of love. But few realize this is looking at things in reverse. This has the frightening possibility of mistaking compromise and settling for "the second best" as love. This is looking at love as the "reason" the four rules must be achieved. You hear people saying, "I HAVE to trust him cause I love him," rather than "I love him because I can trust him." While it sounds more romantic to say the first, its not being realistic.
And there are those, rarer still, fall in love.
Not the first time you meet you want to know what the other is like in bed. Not the when you first looked at the other person you realized that person was the splitting image of your biggest celebrity crush. Not the we meet and we knew it was forever. Although in some odd ways, things that start that way CAN still lead to falling in love.
Falling in love isn't about when it happens.
It is about simply feeling love is actually present and real because the four rules above are constantly lived and nourished in the relationship.
It is learning to treat the other person the way you know you too should be treated, and achieving a life shared despite being two actual physical individuals. And from that symbiotic relationship, the four rules very easily and naturally come into place.
Cause that's what love ultimately is: A mutual level of trust, sensitivity, patience and responsibility that encourages honesty, passion, communication, openness and loyalty.
And love cannot be faked.
No matter how many other people you convince otherwise with lies.
I am a good person.
And one of my mistakes was getting interested in someone who wasn't free. While I can state the facts that their relationship, before they broke up, was not founded on these rules, I will plainly admit the fact what I did was still something others would look unkindly towards. However, between me and the other person, the rules are there. We live them. Every single day. Every single second. And we fell in love.
Something this real doesn't happen every day.
Something this connected is worth seeing to the end.
I have no regrets.
Soon, opinions will come. Insults will be thrown. Claims be made. The facts can be gathered. Or opinions might just be shared. Maybe there will be lies. Maybe half-truths. Maybe holier than thou statements or declarations of supposed moral fiber. But ultimately the truth shall be clear. Our lives shall prove it. Demonstrate it. Reveal it.
This is real. This is love.
This is worth it.
strange title? Maybe. There is a meaning in everything after all.
other title choices included: "Call me what you will.." (but it sounded too aggressive), "the Four Real Rules of Love" (but that seemed too boring, although has viral potential) Non-Fiction: Why I don't Do Quickies (but only works for those who know I usually post Quickie Fiction) and The Rules (which kinda was too vague).