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The Autobiography of Russell
Life from a different perspective
Relationships: Commiting to time and effort
One of the things I've noticed is that often times when people say they want a relationship they aren't really willing to put forth the time, effort, and/or commitment to make it happen.

Commitment isn't necessarily about being exclusive nor is it about doing something without question. It's about being willing to take the time and effort to make something happen even when obstacles get in the way. If someone has a career they want to pursue that takes almost all of their time then a relationship isn't really in the equation. You can only commit yourself to so many things before you run out of a finite amount of time and energy. Once you go beyond your physical ability then you'll inevitably start reneging on your commitments. I think of it as doing what you say and saying what you'll do. If you start saying things and not doing them then you're unwilling or unable to commit and should stop saying you're going to do things. In the extreme you've become liar and are untrustworthy.

Time and energy are finite resources to our reality. It requires forethought and planning to fit in all the things we want to do, like our hobbies or our careers, and a relationship is yet another thing we want to do. Some things are more important to us than others and there's nothing wrong with that. We also have to recognize when that is the case and selectively include the things that are most important to us and willfully excluding the things that aren't as important to us that may want our time anyway. Forgetting to account for all the trappings that go along with something is a quick way to not being able to do the things we really want to do. In a way this boils down to learning to analyze situations, estimating, and planning.

Relationships are more than just opportune moments where two or more people just so happen to have time available at the same time. They're about committing to planning to making the time and taking the effort.

PS: Anything can be considered a relationship in this way; friends, work, careers, hobbies, families. Any of these can be shorted in the same way. For example, right now I'm shorting my commitment to my freelance work by not setting expectations or planning properly for when things will get done (poor planning, poor time management: poor exclusion of things that want my time, and not giving myself enough time to recuperate after my last gig). In a way by posting this I'm being hypocritical about one thing with another. Regardless, there's still truth here that can be applied to me and to others so that doesn't make the point less and it shouldn't take perfection before one can talk about something (else we'd never have any teachers or any food for thought).

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mai_neh From: mai_neh Date: February 7th, 2014 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
You remind me of back when I was single, and I'd run into single fellas who were nominally in the dating pool, but who also had both a full-time job and a separate part-time job. I was surprised so many of these fellas existed, and my internal reaction was "You don't have enough time for a relationship with me."

These weren't poorly paid people who needed to work two jobs to survive.

I would also run into single fellas who had a full-time job, and then labored mightily at volunteer positions on the weekends. Despite my similar internal reaction, "You don't have time for a relationship with me," I ended up dating Tod. He was an AIDS Marathon coach on the weekends. But he also made a lot of time and effort to have a relationship with me. And then I appreciated having one morning each weekend completely to myself ... until I started training with AIDS Marathon also :-)

So, I guess the lesson, if there is one: fellas who seem busy can make time for a relationship. But most of them won't. It might have to do with their motivations for being busy. Are they being busy for selfish purposes, or for selfless purposes? Do they "want a relationship" because they want to check that box, or do they want a relationship because they truly want to relate with another human being -- with all the emotions, mess, and commitment that such a relationship requires. Tod wanted to relate.

And relationships are not about having, they are about doing. I should start changing the language I use? I do a relationship, not I have a relationship. People are not possessions, they can be activity/empathy partners.
zimzat From: zimzat Date: February 7th, 2014 06:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure if you're relating, projecting, or going on a tangent.

I'm not ruling guys out before I've met them or gone out based on how busy they might be. Quite the opposite, in fact. I usually give people the benefit of the doubt that if they really want to get together then they'll find or make the time. This observation is based on the number of people who express an interest but then can't back it up by following through with activities, are largely unavailable, don't juggle their schedule well, or cancel planned activities because of other events that come up.
mai_neh From: mai_neh Date: February 7th, 2014 08:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I was doing all three!
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