A relationship is an exciting and enriching union that two or more people decide to enter into as a means of growing as a team and as individuals.
The dynamic of dating has changed immensely over the years, especially recently, as newer permutations of romance have developed and adjusted to technology, societal pressures and now-acceptable attitudes and approaches towards dating itself.
However, as in flux as it may seem presently, dating has maintained a set of eternal hallmarks that are present, or are at least considered, in most relationships throughout time.
The most important factor is independence. People choose prospective romantic partners based upon who those said people are; it’s the personalities of others that people ultimately fall in love with.
And although dating is about making concessions and getting out of one’s comfort zone, one must never compromise who he or she is completely. There’s a difference between making adjustments and sacrificing identity. The former is normal and healthy. The latter, not so much.
As much as the people in a relationship desire to be together, it must also be stressed that people have their own lives, independent of any union they’re involved with.
A person must be comfortable with who they are before they can properly love another person. That’s not going to happen if the person is rendered a stranger to him or herself.
Doing one’s own thing keeps him or her interesting. People should want their partners to remain exciting and varied. A relationship deals with real people with real lives, not flesh-and-blood pawns to realize some idealized fantasy.
This brings me to my next point, which is that some may not be ready or even want to enter into a romantic union. That’s perfectly alright. Abstaining all together, just relying on “hook-ups,” or whatever iteration of a relationship, as long as it is healthy and conducive to growth in some semblance, is perfectly acceptable.
Personally, before I entered into the relationship that I am in today, I relied upon normal friendships like some may have relied upon a traditional relationship. Granted, those friendships were never (and never will be) especially intimate or romantic, but they enabled me to grow as a person and see my self-worth and help people I love to grow as a well, you know, all the things a healthy relationship should accomplish.
But if someone just so happens to find themselves unprepared and in a relationship that may or may not work out, that’s fine too. There’s no such thing as “wasting someone’s time,” unless it’s a deliberate effort to do so. People are allowed to be confused and fallible; we’re people.
As long as the relationship isn’t exceptionally toxic or detrimental to those involved, then almost every relationship can teach the respective parties something incredibly beneficial.
Dating can be a treacherous road if approached incorrectly and foolhardily. However, with the appropriate consideration, people can create their own magic together.