Rebuilding: Rule #2 – No Half Way
In figuring out how to move forward I have begun compiling a list of “rules” – things to keep in mind and to guide me in finding the right relationships, the right path. You can see all the rules here.
No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try. – Yoda
The story goes that explorer Hernan Cortes, having faced a previous attempted mutiny, decided to avoid any further problems. He scuttled all his ships, effectively stranding him and his men there.
So, you’re naturally wondering, what do Yoda and Cortes have to do with relationships? The answer is simple.
There is no half way.
You’ve probably heard many times the phrase “meet me half way”. And in many situations, that’s a perfectly fair request. But not in relationships. In fact, half way is a recipe for disaster. Instead, we should be focused on both parties going 100% of the way, giving their all at each step. Not half-hearted attempts.
There are two kinds of people in this sense. There are the Yodas, the Cortes’, who commit completely. And then there are the Luke Skywalkers. These are the people who want to take “baby steps” or take things “one day at a time”. These people, for whatever reason, do not wish to commit. Whether out of fear (very common) or just plain selfishness, they don’t want to give 100%. They’ll tell you they can’t; they don’t have it in them; they don’t have the time – fill in the blank with whatever excuse you’ve been given. They aren’t honest with themselves, can’t admit that they won’t take the leap to give 100% of themselves.
Now, at first blush, this appears to be in conflict with Rule 1 – where we decide that we won’t give 100% of ourselves unless we know we’re getting it back. But in fact, it is the direct extension of the first rule. Once we have determined that this person is the one that excites us, that gives us that flutter, makes us respond “F Yes!“, then Rule 2 is the next logical step.
And like Rule 1, there is a big caveat – the other person must be equally invested. In fact, that is the essence of the rule. With Rule 1 we have discovered a person who gets that same excitement, same feeling about being with us as we do with them. Rule 2 says once you have determined that, yes, this is the right person, you now need to commit 100%. And they need to as well.
That’s very important, so I’ll repeat it: They need to as well.
This is at every stage of the relationship. Whether it’s just dating, it’s moving in together, hopping under the sheets together, or going to dinner. Both of you need to be equally invested and out forth your full effort. It’s as simple as going to dinner and putting away your cellphones so that you are paying 100% attention to each other. Or communicating and listening to each other as you get physically intimate and focusing on your partner more than yourself.
But again, this has to happen on both ends. One person can’t carry it alone.
So what’s the matter with meeting half way? It never is half way. See if this sounds familiar: You are in a relationship. You’ve been trying to make things work, but you just aren’t getting what you need. So you talk, you ask for them to meet you half way. And maybe, for a little while, things get a little better. And you hold up your end of the bargain. But they start to go back to their previous behavior. So you try harder. But it still doesn’t get better. In fact, pretty soon, you’re at 100% and they are giving no more, and perhaps less, than they had before.
You’re doing all the work. They didn’t meet you half way. But then, that’s because the two of you are working from an assumption that the relationship is a math equation. That somehow, you going half way and them going half way adds up to a whole. But relationships aren’t math. Besides, meeting half way means you’re both only giving 50%. Need to understand why that doesn’t work? Refer back to Rule 1.
No, for a relationship to work, you both need to be giving 100% in how you treat each other. 100% listening. 100% caring. 100% loving. 100% support. If you – or they – can’t give 100%, you missed something in Rule 1. Go back to the beginning. Figure out what you didn’t see, or what you thought you saw that wasn’t really there. Go back to the point where you both say “F Yes!” to each other, and give 100% there. And when you take the next step, go 100%. Both of you.
For me, I’m the Cortes. The lesson I’m having to learn is that while I’m scuttling the boat, the other person is sitting offshore. I have no problem committing 100%. But I have allowed that “no option but forward” mentality get in the way of seeing that the other person isn’t ready to make that leap of faith, that commitment to the relationship.
So, while for some it’s important to remember to give 100%, that there is no half way, there is no “try”, for me, it’s just as important to remember that I have to be sure the other person is in the same mindset.