No, Don’t “See if it Works Out”
You want it to work. You want it to last. You want to be happy.
Maybe this relationship will be the big one. Maybe you’ll get married. Maybe you’ll have kids. Maybe you’ll grow old together.
But it’s difficult to be sure. You don’t want to make a life-ruining mistake.
The biggest decision of your life
You don’t want to commit your heart, only to go through agony and see the whole thing end with an acrimonious breakup. You don’t want to suffer years of regret about what might have been if only you had made different choices.
Consequently, it’s become the norm in many societies to ‘test the water’ by having an extended, non-committal relationship. And it’s become the norm to move in with your partner to see how things go, before formally committing yourself to marriage or any other form of ‘permanent’ relationship.
In many ways, this seems extremely sensible. After all, you don’t want to get stuck in a relationship that leaves you unhappy and unfulfilled. So, to put it crudely, you’re ‘trying before you’re buying.’ You’re getting more information before making what could be the biggest decision of your life. What could be wrong with that?
Well, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with it. The problem lies with the attitude that such an approach tends to encourage. A relationship can be seriously handicapped by a ‘let’s see if this works’ attitude.
Give, don’t take
Healthy and successful long-term relationships are not built upon a “What can I get out of this?” approach. They’re not built upon a “Will this relationship give me what I want?” attitude. An attitude that’s focused on such questions is a selfish attitude. In truth, if that’s the sort of attitude you’re taking into a relationship, you’re probably dooming that relationship from the outset.
The happiest and most fulfilling relationships are based upon:
- How can I help?
- What can I do for you?”
- What can we achieve together?”
They’re also based, not on a passive stance, but upon both parties committing to make every reasonable effort to work at and strengthen the relationship, making sacrifices along the way if necessary.
You don’t ‘see if it works.’ You jointly and proactively make it work.
And what about romance?
If, “OK. Let’s move in together and see if it works” is all we have left, then romance is dead.
“I love you and I always will. Let’s be there for each other, no matter what happens!” seems much more romantic to me. But perhaps I’m just old-fashioned!