Lesson 39: Get rid of all your lifeboats

Don’t be that guy.  Don’t be that girl.  Basically, don’t be a disgusting person.  I have never understood the satisfaction to be gained by breaking someone’s heart.  There is no excuse that makes you anything other than a complete scumbag.  If you are not getting the satisfaction that you want or need from the current relationship that you are in, it is not a well balanced and functional relationship.  Either put the effort into fixing the issue, or have a discussion about what is wrong and act accordingly.  It is more honorable to end a relationship then to go out of your way to do something you know will hurt the other person.

Keeping other people, male or female, with the intention that things may not work out with your current romantic interest is entirely the wrong attitude to take into a relationship.  If you are going to be in a romantic relationship with someone, then be in that relationship.  Commit yourself fully to it.  Your attitude and commitment towards anything in life determines how well or poorly things will go.  You might be wondering what lifeboats have to do with relationships.  Like a lot of what I say, it is another metaphor.  A lifeboat, when it comes to relationships, is basically a fall back plan or person, in the event that your relationship fails.

This is the wrong attitude to take into any relationship for several reasons.  There are times and places for a plan B that are perfectly acceptable, but romantic relationships are not among them.  Being in a relationship should not be treated like a war.  It is more like a dance.  In war, you are trying to win.  In a dance, you are working together to achieve something along with someone else.  When you go into a relationship with a backup plan/person, you are essentially entering the relationship with the belief that there is a distinct possibility that the relationship will fail.  The problem is, plan B or not, that possibility always exists.  There are no guarantees in life other than change.  Entering a relationship with a plan B is basically entering the relationship with less focus and devotion to it than a relationship requires.

If you are not entirely focused on the task at hand, it will not achieve the level of success needed to make it work to its full potential.  Romantic relationships demand all of your attention if they are to be successful.  They require complete commitment.  A devotion that is not attainable with a plan B attitude or mentality.  I am sorry to tell you this, but if you have a plan B, the chances you will need it have already increased.  There is also the possibility or likelihood that your partner will learn of your plan B.  Good luck explaining that to them.  While having a lifeboat may not seem like cheating, and maybe, technically, isn’t, it will likely feel that way.  Ask yourself how you would feel if your significant other had someone on standby in the event that things with you don’t work out with you.  How confident about the relationship would you then feel?

There are a lot of arguments to be made against this sentiment and plenty of ways to justify maintaining these other (outside your relationship) friendships.  I am not saying that you have to cease all contact with anyone of the opposite (or same, depending on your personal preferences) gender.  Just be careful that you are not attempting to rationalize the irrational or justify the unjustifiable.  I am addressing your attitude and mindset revolving around that communication.  Your attitude will dictate your actions and if you are not fully committed to the relationship you are in, it will inevitably show.  The problem with trying to rationalize something that you know is, for lack of a better word, scummy, is that the only person you are fooling is yourself.  Don’t be a fool.  Don’t be selfish.  You have the chance to save everyone involved from discomfort and heartbreak.

Takeaways:

  1. Don’t be that person.
  2. Keeping friends is not the same as keeping lifeboats.
  3. Show confidence in the relationship by being fully devoted to it.
  4. You can’t rationalize the irrational.
  5. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it is OK.

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