He doesn’t know at that point that that is who is going to meet. It was an anonymous online relationship up to that point. Joe is nervously excited about the prospect, yet apprehensive. Kevin seeks to calm Joe with his own brand of relational wisdom. Let’s get this great line:
Kevin: “I always take a relationship to the next level. If that works out, I take it to the next level after that, until I finally reach that level when it becomes absolutely necessary for me to leave.”
Hahaha… that’s good. Has become a staple in my vocabulatorial repertoire… “I always do that….” (yeah, I think I made up a word or two along the way here).
Humorous as that is, it does speak to a topic that is kind of serious. What ARE we willing to put into a relationship – any relationship?
I was in what I considered a relatively early stage relationship not all that long ago - call it casual +, or something like that. It was a bit more frequent than occasional, but it had not reached the point of exclusive dating or any such level of commitment. At least in my mind.
And that is part of the rub. We each have a mind that informs us as to what we think should be happening at any given stage in a relationship and we seem to use that thinking, that framework, to judge how things are going. Of course, the problem with this is that these frameworks are in OUR mind, not necessarily in the other person’s mind. The bottom line is that these mind sets result in some loose expectations as to how the other person should be at a given stage, using this rubric to try to judge the status of the relationship.
You know what I mean. Take the first date with a gal. I walk away from that first meeting with a certain conclusion as to how it went – good, so-so, or great. I try to conclude whether she was interested or not, liked me, or even some sort of notion as to whether she will go out with me again.
That is the same as more dates stack up, I suppose. It’s as if relationships are to be sequential or a series of steps, each successive one leading to higher levels of … of … well, something. Not sure what, but call it responsibility, or perhaps commitment of some sort. I don’t know exactly, but something.
It is an expectation that the first date is different in expectations from the fourth and the fourth different from the twentieth. I’m not sure where we draw that conclusion about relationships, but we seem to. I certainly was that way, but I guess I’ve become less that way the longer I’ve been single.
I don’t think I’ve become squishy about commitment and thus relationally unwilling to ‘take it to the next level.’ But, in the past year I find I’m less driven to ‘solve’ my singleness problem. I guess it is no longer a problem. Maybe I’ve come to be what the 4060 logo states – single and midlife is a great place to be.
I also recognize that it is important that I make clear my attitude about this early, and often, when wandering around in various relationships. I suspect that most of us are looking to see relationships start, move forward (whatever exactly that means), and come to some point of ‘taking it to the next level,’ and then the next level after that…. until I finally reach that level …. Oh, I heard that somewhere already….
I guess we’d like to know sooner versus later whether a relationship is going anywhere – before we get too invested. And that is a reasonable goal, I suppose, though I doubt if things will work out in such a nice and tighty manner. Some things just have to play out for awhile before you know and that means we have to decide whether we’re going to risk more to find out.
And sometimes it’s better to tone down our expectations and just enjoy the ride.
I must confess that I’m in a season of low-demand relationships. “What are you doing tonight? Nothing? Want to do something? Great! No? Great!”
About the Author: Master Hobbit