Love Is A Two Way Street
(This phrase is a flawed analogy. A two-way street literally means each car is traveling in opposite directions. Which is very much not what love should be. But it sounds catchy and works for my title. Flawed and all. )
If you are keeping score (and someone was); I missed last week. My apologies. I hit a bump in the road. (Get it..J ) But I have restored order and am now back on track. And speaking of track, today we are going to continue our discussion of road signs. The kind of road signs one might encounter when traveling down the very winding and often times slippery Freeway of Love.
Fasten your seat belts, here we go.
Merge – So there you are driving along, minding your own business, not texting, not speeding, just 10 and 3 and rolling. When seemingly out of nowhere, another road appears. With another car and a sign. At some point in the very near future the two roads will merge into one and the cars will now be traveling together; possibly side by side. In order for the merge to be fluid, one of the cars (or both) has to adjust its position to allow room for the other. You cannot force a merge though. It only takes place when the two roads meet at just the right spot. Timing is also an important factor. A move too soon will disrupt the flow of traffic. If you wait too long, the road runs out. If not done correctly, a merge can easily turn into a collision or a missed opportunity.
Sometimes love happens like that too. When you least expect it. Just cruising along enjoying life’s scenery. You notice someone who is traveling in the same direction that you are. Heading towards a similar destination. And it seems like a good idea to blend the two journeys. Share the road. Just remember, you can’t force love either. When someone new joins your journey, it should be seamless and easy. The timing should also line up. Connecting too quickly can slow your life’s forward progress. But if you see a great opening, go for it. Don’t let fear of the merge stop you with nowhere else to go.
Speed Limit – There is a reason why the speed limit is lower within the city limits. There are stop lights in the city with other cars going in many directions. And it is good idea to start slow when the light turns green. Punching the gas can damage your car and put you at risk. Every new relationship has its own first green light. The speed at take off should be slow and cautious. Starting quickly in a budding relationship is tempting and sounds fun and exciting, but it is often not a good idea.
The two of you need time to figure each other out. Determine your interests and goals and chemistry. There are still other cars around. Are you sure you want to leave all the other cars behind and just travel with this one? That is not a decision to take lightly. Plus it is hard on your engine (heart) to push it too hard after it has been in a stopped position for a while. And just like you can’t force a merge, you can’t rush your heart. Blindly speeding into a committed relationship can show a lack of focus and true companionship and sometimes just appears to be a desire to escape being alone. This is not a good combination. Steer your way slowly through the first couple of green lights and the other traffic and if the two of you are still together when you hit the open road, then hit the throttle and see where it leads!
Yield – Now one might think that Merge and Yield are the same thing. And while they are quite similar, they are not the same. Most of the time merging does not require you to stop. You just move smoothly into the flow of traffic. However, quite often you do find yourself at a stop when yielding. To yield means that someone else has the right of way. They get to go first, and you follow afterward. When traveling, sometimes you have to yield, and sometimes you get to go first! Can you see where I’m heading with this??
No one person in a relationship should always be yielding. While it is great to put the interest of your partner ahead of yours, if only one is doing that, it is unfair and an unstable arrangement. If you find yourself always yielding, try speaking up. I am not suggesting being cruel or abrasive. However, your opinion counts. Your ideas matter. Your wants are important. Maybe there is a pattern that has developed out of habit over time. If so, this habit needs to be broken so you can go first occasionally. If your partner refuses to let this happen, you should find the next exit and take it; quickly.
Now here is the flip side. If YOU are the one always going first, then you should re-examine your own habits. Some individuals are people pleasers and will try to go along to get along. They don’t want to suffer the consequences of displeasing you. But just because someone always agrees with you, doesn’t mean they always agree with you. (Read that again.) This is a good recipe for resentment. Be thoughtful and considerate of your partner’s needs and desires. If you are in a relationship with them, surely you know what they are. Let them go first, pick, decide. I promise the reward will be worth not going first.
Dead End - So here’s the thing about a dead end road. If there is a sign that says Dead End, you know what’s eventually ahead of you. Some dead end roads have turn around spots before you reach the end, but some just keep going and going until the road just simply runs out.
The term ‘dead end’ seems to have originated in ancient Greece as a military defense terminology. They would create ‘dead end’ pathways and lure the enemy onto them. When there was nowhere else to go, they would be attacked from the rear and destroyed (dead).Now I’m not saying that people in dead end relationships were lured there with mal intent, but the result can feel just as painful. And while an ambush is unlikely, the warning signs were there and at least one of you knew it was going nowhere. What are those signs? Dating someone who is still involved with another or not completely over their ex. Dating someone with vastly different values or ideals. Dating someone who is abusive or cheats. Dating someone you do not respect or who does not respect you. The list is long and could be a separate blog post, but you get my point. Life is too short and your heart is too precious to waste traveling down a road that only holds ruin and despair. It is far better to continue to travel alone than risk even a short detour down this path.
So there we have it. A collection of road signs. We see them every day. Heed them for safe travels. Ignore them and accept the consequences. Life and love are the same way. The world today is full of information and advice and resources. There is no excuse for traveling blindly on this journey. Learn to read and trust the signs in front of you.
Roll the windows down.
Crank up the music.
Drive down life’s highway and enjoy every minute, twist and turn!
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J. Hope Suis is an inspirational writer with over 30 years of experience in single-parenting, dating, relationships, and a phrase she coined as “Solitary Refinement”, which is simply a season of being single to grow and develop as an individual. Her new book, Mid-Life Joyride, is a light-hearted [...]