If you put as much time, planning, effort, and emotional intensity into your romantic relationships as you do into a sideshow, then expect your romantic relationships to have as much success, longevity, pleasantries, and emotional intensity as a sideshow.
When you find a beautifully compatible person, then relationships are one of those rare occurrences where the cliche of “You will get what you give” can come true.
But you can’t expect to get more than you give. If you don’t bring the time, commitment, and emotional vulnerability, then it’s unlikely you’ll receive it back in return. You’ll have to put yourself out there, and risk having the limb your standing on cut off – because in healthy relationships, you won’t tend to receive more than you offer.
If you treat your significant others as secondary to your other priorities, then don’t expect quality significant others to stick around. Good people don’t tend to like being treated as a secondary consideration within their primary relationships.
So, if you regularly offer little, expect little in return.
You can treat your romances as sideshows, subordinate to your work, your hobbies, your reading, your TV watching, or your other relationship commitments. But don’t be surprised if potential suitors don’t continue to line up to ride that train.
Quality suitors tend to also be smart people. It doesn’t take a smart person long to realize if they are not going to be a high priority in your life. Suitors will be able to correctly infer how much time, energy, and emotional focus you will likely give them by watching your daily habits and how you treat them and other people.
I have a friend who spends an average of a couple hours a day playing video games. He’s single and has never been married. He works full time and, like most people, has other hobbies that take up his time. My friend has always thought he’d like to get married.
There are likely many happy married couples where one or both of the spouses have similar habits. But if a person was single and genuinely wanted to make their romantic relationships more intense, then they might revisit and rethink their time and activity priorities, putting more time into romantic and pleasing social interactions and less time into other things like reading, working, watching TV, and playing video games.
So, the next time you think it’s very important to have one more book read on your life’s list of “Books I’ve Read”, the next time you think it’s important to complete watching one more TV series, the next time you think it’s important to try one more video game, the next time you think it’s important to buy one more toy, the next time you think it’s important to have one more home improvement, the next time you think it’s important to score higher on some work or school evaluation . . . consider if your actions make your romantic partner less of a concern and focus than they enjoy being. If the books, toys, TV, computer games, and work achievements are more important and take up more time than you spend caring for your signifcant other, then expect your significant other to feel subordinate to those things. And expect them to give you the emotional focus and intensity of someone who is treated as subordinate to your other higher priorities.
Life is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. It tends to become what you make it. And it usually does not become what you don’t attempt to make it.
Your sideshows will likely only be sideshows as long as you treat them as sideshows.
If you want great love, you will have to exert consistent great efforts, efforts that will often fail and often not be reciprocated.
But love is one of the few areas where, if you find good people and consistently treat them with great care and focus, you can in rare cases receive love back in like kind.
There are very few other things where the effort given can result in receiving equal returns. And while fairness may not sound exciting, it is a marvel to reciprocate within.