How important are foundations?

A red rose with dewdrops
Image via Wikipedia

How important are the foundations of a relationship?  We often find ourselves caught up in the newness of the relationship..the exciting first kiss, the fascination of new feelings and experiences, and the elation of the “chase and capture”…but we don’t always take time to realize the foundational aspects of our actions.

A relationship is like a house.  Without a foundation, its doomed to fall even if you go back and try to build a foundation later, because the foundation gives the relationship strength and purpose.  Without the foundation, when the newness wears off, you’re left with nothing to build from and things can quickly crumble.  Similarly, a rose isn’t a sweet smelling flower right off of the bat, it takes growth, effort, time, and nurturing to grow…but without the seed (the foundations), it’s nothing.  I appreciate the smell of a rose because of the time and effort it took to make such a beautiful and wonderfully scented thing, not because I’m holding it and smelling it.  Get my point?

I am a details guy.  I’ve been called “anal” and “weird”, but I see things two ways:  time and detail.

I can tell you things about every woman I’ve dated.  For example (some may be the same person):

1.  Two of them had a sister named Katie, but only one had a brother named Coy.

2.  One was a twin.

3.  One had her parents divorce, only to get back together later in life and realize they made a great couple.

4.  One does cabaret and makes a damn good living.

5.  One wanted to be an interior designer and would have been fantastic, but chose a different route.

6.  One kept remembering the days when she and her siblings were closer than they are today, and felt helpless to change it.

7.  One owned a hair salon and was working herself crazy trying to keep it profitable.

8.  One was a closet Savage Garden fan.

9.  One had a fear of bikes from a childhood crash.

10.  One had a beauty mark behind her ear that she was self conscious of, even though no one could see it.

I could go on and on, but the number of details aren’t my point, it’s the fact that I took time to not only learn the tiny little details of each person I’ve dated, but I also learned to see the beauty in each detail..which is why I can still remember them today.  These details are all a part of the foundation of a relationship.  Details like family, dreams and aspirations, past loves and experiences, friends, and even pets.  Every beautiful bit of information adds another brick in a growing foundation.

A relationship lived in the now has no foundation, nor does one lived in the past or the future.  A relationship involves growth from our own personal foundations to join into one, then time and effort to grow into the present, and nurturing to grow into the future.  If we fail to look at all three, we will often lose sight of the very reason why we’re in the relationship to begin with.  If we ignore the person’s past, if we only see them in the now, and if we don’t examine how our actions will affect the future, our relationship stands a greater chance of meeting an early end.

It’s almost summer.  Make sure you’ve planted the seed for a solid foundation.  You’ll eventually be holding something beautiful.

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Jumping Jack Flash

A SUBWAY restaurant in Dawson, Texas.
Salvador Dali never had a Subway..

Jack wrote:

Sean,

I really like your advice and outlook on relationships, and I never figured I’d be the one writing in, but here I am.  I am just getting out into the dating world after a 5 year relationship that started just after high school.  I dated quite a disaster of a girl and as a result, ended up skipping out on college, working a dead-end job, and going balls deep in debt.  Now, I am in the process of turning that around, but I’d like someone to join me on that journey, so I’ve been online dating.  However, it seems the women I am attracted to are either done with or finishing school, working professionals, or much more attractive than I am and they all either turn me down or go on one date and then call things off.  How do I increase my chances of finding someone I want to be with?  I don’t want to settle for anything less than what I want.  I did that once and was burned.

Jack

Jack,

I like your ambition here.  I don’t settle either and I would never want to see anyone settle for less than what they want.  You are also in quite a predicament.  It seems as though you’re still in tee-ball and trying to date in the major leagues (yes, I know I don’t watch sports, but I know enough to make that analogy..you’re welcome).  In dating your last girlfriend, you became OK with being average and you’re now looking to turn that around, but you’re basically asking a woman to date a guy that could potentially be the typical loser or mooch.  My advice to you is to NOT date until you’ve turned things around.  Yeah, I know it can be lonely, but rejection can be too and it seems as though you’ve been rejected enough to seek out advice.  To me, one rejection is enough to “up your game”.  However, you will probably decide to bypass my advice and date anyway, so let’s run through a few things here:

You have a dead-end job.  How are you talking about that job online?  If you’re cooking fries at McD’s and your profile says “I am forming a solid career in the food service industry” but you’re revealing your fry cook career on dates, women will be disappointed, I can guarantee it.  If you are working at Subway but have dreams of being an artist, put down the 6″ roast beef, be an artist, and make a career.  Sandwich artist doesn’t count as real art.  The point I am trying to make is, you can BS all you want online, but when it comes down to reality, people will always see through BS and you’ll find yourself in a REAL predicament.  You need to get things started for your future.  Which leads me to my next point..

Education.  You say you’re picking people that are finishing or done with college.  Most women want someone on their intellectual level and when they find out you’ve skipped that route, chances are they’ll be let down.  I am not saying you need a doctorate to “hang with the ladies”, but any degree will help and it will also give you possibilities for the future.  Women want to see potential and see your potential to grow your future together.  Without a degree in today’s world, that won’t happen.

Debt.  This is tricky.  Debt is a pretty common thing these days and may be caused by your current job.  Once you’ve lined up a better career, hammered out a good personal foundation, you should see a decrease or elimination in your debt.  Make every effort you can to fix negative credit and get things rolling toward the positive.

One other thing you didn’t mention is that you may be choosing people that don’t “match” with your lifestyle.  For example, if you’re the grungy/smoker type, going for a wholesome looking non-smoker will almost certainly fail, as would be a grubby t-shirt and ripped jeans type going for a fashionable lawyer.  It’s not the clothes that matter, it’s the lifestyle.  People these days are looking for a commonality.  If the person you’re meeting can’t envision being comfy taking you to meet her friends or family, they’ll call things off before it ever gets to that.  If you feel they’re more attractive than you, change your appearance and take some pride in how you look (physically and fashionably).

If you’re doing laundry once a month and you can’t figure out how an iron works, you may want to invest some time into learning your way around a laundry room.  Also, think about purchasing a new wardrobe.  Swiss cheese boxers and ratty t-shirts with pit stains are fine if you’re working around the house, but not when you’re on a date.  Finally, for God’s sakes, don’t ever wear tennis shoes on a first date (unless you’re doing some sort of exercise).  Be yourself, but dress to impress in everything you do..you never know where you’ll meet someone special.

Sean