I remember many years ago I dating someone that told me some sage advise. He said, “You choose one person to spend the rest of your life with, your partner should be the most important thing in your life.”. There are many things that contribute to this Ricky Bobby catch phrase ‘If you’re not first, you’re last’, let me go over a few that I have come over in my life.
It’s funny when you are in the midst of a new found love. You can’t do enough for the other person, so oblivious to the fact that they are doing nothing or the bare minimal for you. It took me 15 years before I realized that I was single-handedly maintaining my relationship. I blame it on my Father having three daughters and turning us into very independent women, borderline men. He took us hunting, fishing, we were slave labor in the garden and orchard, helped him pour cement on side jobs. We learned how to change tires and the oil in our cars while he repeated the mantra, “You better learn how to do it yourself, nobody else is going to do it for you.”. Now, let’s back up and analys why he was giving us this advise. His marriage to my Mother was based on the foundation that he didn’t do anything for her, he was setting us up for the only thing he knew. In his world, the husband doesn’t do anything for the wife.
Fast forward to my own marriage. The way I was raised and what I saw in my own family, I only knew what I knew. I ended up being a do it all yourself kind of girl, plus the female in me makes me do for everyone else as well. My relationship was a vicious cycle of always being left behind. When both partners put the other person first, you inevitably are both first! When you have person number one putting person number two first, but person number two is putting themselves first, the balance is offset and just like Jenga the blocks it will collapse. It took me many years to come to the realization that I was fighting an endless battle and I was tired of losing the game, picking up my fallen blocks and trying to rebuild a tower that was just going to fall again. Finally after a year of therapist and counselors, three mental health professionals all told me he suffered from Narcissism (along with a long list of other ‘isms’), I threw in the towel. NEXT! Am I bitter, heck no! I find addiction, mental illness and depression very interesting! It has also educated me to see the warning signs early in a relationship instead of taking years. I remember when Morphine Man (I ended the relationship when he went to the ER because he needed a shot of morphine), he wanted make amends, but at that point I knew his PTSD, problematic kids and depression would always take center stage. NEXT!
When women have kids, a lot of them will put their kids first. When I am giving my Pure Romance spiel, I try to convey that partners need to come first (nice play on words, I know) or their relationship will fail. I love when women will give me that look of disdain, the frown of judgement is a silent proclaim to be a better parent than me. Well lady, good luck with that. While you were letting your kids sleep in your bed, rule the roost and putting your kids first, your partner just found someone else to take care of their basic needs!
Being in the dating pool I have gone through my faze of what I thought I was looking for. I love when I meet a man and they tell me, “My kids come first.” Really? Then where is there room for me or any personal relationship? I often wonder if they are just saying the words they think a woman wants to hear or if they really believe they are putting their kids first? NEXT! I went through my stint of going out with men that met the requirement ‘never been married, never had kids’. In my head I was thinking, great, no baggage! It only made me come to the conclusion that the only person a bachelor ever had to consider is themselves. Think about it, once a man in their 40’s and 50’s, every decision they have ever made about living location, career, vacation, vehicle they drive (bet they don’t have a minivan), meals they eat, when they eat, EVERYTHING has been based on themselves. Rarely have they had to take anyone’s feelings or thoughts into consideration when making every day choices. This person will never understand the concept of putting anyone before themselves on a regular basis. I recall one of my professional bachelors and his last quote to me was, “We need to start doing more for each other.” Are you kidding me? Let’s see buddy, in less than two months I have helped you move, cooked for you, brought you supplies when you were sick….. what have you done for me? Oh that’s right, nothing! NEXT!
I had David Coleman on my Dare to Date show last week. He is a very wise relationship expert, dubbed as the Dating Doctor. He claimed that if you have kids, it’s near impossible to date someone that doesn’t. After a lot of trail and error on my part, I agree. Those that don’t have kids won’t have the same life experience such as eating a sandwich while you are up to your elbows in crap or knowing the self control it takes not to throw your kid out the window. The Dating Doctor also believes that children will always come first. This is the one area that I disagree. He used the analogy, if a bullet is coming, you are going to protect your child not your partner. That is a no-brainer, any parent is going to save their child. It’s basic animal instinct.
Compare two pack animals, humans and dogs. The survival of the pack (family) depends on the hierarchy (parents) to produce (have babies) and raise those pups for survival. That means giving your own pups the tools they need to survive on their own! Yes, as pack animals we have the family unit around us and still support (hopefully not financially, that’s another way of ruining a marriage) our pups, but they need to be independent enough to find a mate and have pups of their own for the longevity of the pack. The parents will always protect their young to the death while keeping the bond between themselves the strongest for the survival of the entire unit.
Remember, you choose one person to spend your life with. One day, your kids will be grown, gone and you will be left with the person you share your bed with. Do you think you are that spectacular you can rekindle the bond after you have been ignoring them for years and putting their needs on the back burner? Don’t you want to show your offspring the secret of their own successful relationship is based on putting their partner first? A proud day it will be for this Mother when my child calls to tell me they will not be home for the Thanksgiving holiday because he is meeting his girlfriends family. He is doing the right thing to earn her love and she better be giving him a lifetime of thank you’s with her mouth! Yes, I said earning love. Every day you want to be sure to earn the respect and love of your partner, never take it for granted.
It doesn’t matter if you are married, seriously dating or searching for that special someone. When you put your partner first, you need the same in return. Do not settle until you find that counter part that is willing to do the same for you!
To listen to my online talk show Dare to Date, every Tuesday at 8pm go to: http://www.talkexchangeradio.com
For more information on me and Pure Romance, go to: http://www.denisetrobee.com