I want to preface this post by reiterating that this is a personal opinion blog and everything I write is just my own personal opinion. I’m in no way trying to suggest that my model will make everybody happy. I’m just sharing what works for me.
I believe that rule #1 of a perfect romantic partnership is not to expect more (or less) than what you are willing to offer. So the things I list here are what I both offer and demand in my personal life. After my failed first marriage, I spent a very long time looking for a partner who would suit me perfectly and would have happily remained single had I not found a person whose understanding of a perfect relationship matched mine.
1. Support. I have had an experience of being in a relationship with somebody who competed with me and tried to sabotage me because they saw my achievements as a threat to their self-esteem. So I can tell you from a painful personal experience: such relationships are a major waste of time. A person I’m with needs to be 100% supportive of my professional and intellectual goals, celebrate my successes and offer genuine support when I fail.
2. Respect. I demand complete respect no matter what the situation is. I will never tolerate my partner using any tone of voice other than the most gentle and loving one with me. If you are tired, depressed, upset, busy, you don’t bark, “I’m busy / tired / depressed!” at me. You say, “My love, I have a lot to do / feel sad, etc. right now. I need to be alone for 2 hours / 2 days / a week, etc., after which I will be fine, and we will talk, OK?” (I did mention that I offer the same in return, right?) I hope I don’t need to explain that I would not accept anybody raising their voice to me in any circumstances.
3. Loyalty. I need to know that my partner is always on my side in every situation. There are people who think it’s acceptable to vent their grievances with their partner in public. This makes everybody around feel extremely uncomfortable and humiliates the partner. I believe that any problems you might have with a person need to be addressed in private. Also, if a discussion is taking place, you need to be on your partner’s side, even if you disagree with them. Long-time readers of my blog might have noticed that I’m kind of opinionated. One of the things I appreciate the most about my relationship is the passionate arguments we have about politics, literature, economy, and pretty much any other topic under the sun. However, if one of us gets into an argument with somebody else, it’s the other one’s duty to support their partner.
4. Preference. I don’t see the point of being with anybody who is not absolutely convinced that I’m the most beautiful and desirable woman in the universe. There are people who put up with comments like “Oh, look at this total babe!”, “Wow, this guy is so cute!” and “Catherine Zeta Jones is super sexy!” In my opinion, the only goal of such statements is to manipulate the other person by lowering their self-esteem. If I’m not the most sexually attractive person in the world, you need to be with somebody who is. Catherine Zeta Jones doesn’t want you? Well, that is hardly my problem. I have no interest in being anybody’s second or fiftieth choice. (If anybody is itching to regale me with statements of the “You cannot preserve an exclusive sexual attraction to one person for a long time” variety, I kindly ask them to keep this popular wisdom to themselves. First of all, I have factual knowledge that this is not true. And second, I never said my goal was to preserve anything for a long time. My goal is to be happy, which, for me, is only possible within a relationship of complete and all-abiding sexual loyalty.)
5. Feminism. Men sometimes see the woman in their life as a free maid. In terms of housework, I am willing to do exactly 50% of what needs to be done. When we first got together, N. almost destroyed any chance at a relationship between us by mentioning (as he now insists, in jest) that he had some shirts that needed ironing. I immediately communicated to him that I’d sooner make him eat the shirts than iron them, after which we never had a similar discussion again. If somebody is too busy to do their share, they can hire a person to do it instead of them or do whatever it is they would have done to resolve the issue if they were single.
6. Privacy. Being together doesn’t mean that each partner isn’t entitled to their own personal space that is inviolable and sacrosanct. We have lived together in very tiny apartments which, nevertheless, did not prevent us from respecting each other’s privacy. I would not remain for 2 minutes with a person capable of going through my pockets, drawers, cell phone, notebooks, handbags, or computer. I look at people who routinely engage in policing their partners as creatures from a different planet who completely lack self-respect.
7. Psychological self-sufficiency. I am not anybody’s shrink. It is every adult’s duty to learn psychological hygiene measures that will work for them. Trying to saddle your romantic partner with your psychological issues is exploitative and wrong. Of course, if my partner develops a depression or an addiction, I will not leave him. I will expect, however, that he work to resolve his issues on his own while I continue to offer the necessary support. Playing doctor with depressed people or addicts is a really bad idea. Trying to be somebody’s savior is nothing but an exercise in manipulation. As for daily frustrations and disappointments we all experience, I expect my partner to discover his own ways of compensating for them and learning to handle them. A relationship that is all about servicing one person’s needs (whatever those needs might be and as urgent and major as they might seem) is extremely unhealthy.
8. Happiness. The only goal of a romantic partnership is, in my opinion, to be happy. Making my partner happy is one of my central priorities in life. Of course, I expect the same from him, which means that nothing that makes me unhappy will ever constitute his happiness.
9. Terminology. My appearance, weight, intellect and taste in clothes only get discussed in admiring, superlative terms. The outside world can be quite unwelcoming, which is why, inside my own house, I expect to find an oasis of perfect acceptance and adoration. Once again, if somebody does not believe I’m perfect in every way, they should not waste their life on being with me. In return, I offer the same, completely sincere attitude.
And apart from these few tiny little things, I neither require nor expect anything else from my partner.