As a modern woman over the age of 40 who returned to the dating market after a long hiatus, it seems clear men and women have different expectations when it comes to love and commitment. I’m certainly not trying to speak on behalf of all women, nor will my definition of love and commitment apply to heterosexual-only relationships. These are simply guidelines for “showing up” for one another to make any relationship work, regardless of sexual orientation.

When I tell a man “I love you” and “I commit to you,” it means I’m “Your Person.” I’m here for you always, and in all ways. When you need me, for whatever, whenever … you don’t have to think twice or wonder if I’ll be there for you. I will be. No question, no worry. I’m in—all in.

The words “I love you” aren’t just words to me. I’ll back every single word up with action. You can watch me time and time again love my son, his friends, my friends and my family in this way. Love is a demonstration we should strive to demonstrate every day.

Everything I offer to my circle, I offer the same to you and your circle. Because that’s what love is. Love is family. Not a passing thought when it’s convenient. It’s us always and in all ways. We are together along with everyone with whom we share a life. You’re a package deal—as am I. We don’t live in a vacuum. I have a grown son who runs with a tribe of friends I claim as my own. We’re known as “Mama and the Boys.” I have three sisters who have families and a large network of friends. As my partner, you are welcomed as an integral part of my circle. In turn, I intend to be an essential part of your circle, not a peripheral “floater” you can insert at your leisure.

In order to have an enduring relationship, we both should feel completely comfortable in one another’s circles. Beyond comfortable, actually. I’ve been in a family where I was “tolerated,” and it’s not fun. I don’t want to live that kind of life, and I don’t expect you to either. Let’s instead, be in a network where we are celebrated.

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Positive life lessons have furthered relationships:

  • It’s refreshing to be with someone who is happy with themselves first.
  • Even the most independent woman appreciates a gentleman who opens doors and treats her like a lady. (In most cases).
  • It’s a beautiful thing to smile until your cheeks hurt and then get your halo dirty.
  • Life is improved and more fun when you do smile.
  • Experiencing intimacy with the lights on so we can see the way we make each other’s bodies quiver, our smiles (and other Brilliant expressions) is thrilling.
  • Dancing is a blast—especially with someone you love (even when you’re not great at it).
  • Taking dance lessons with a lover is one of the best relationship experiences.
  • Let your needs be known—your partner can choose to meet you, or not.
  • When discussing each other’s needs, everything is “figureoutable,”—or not.
  • Having your own personal cheerleader, supporting you in every endeavor, is priceless.
  • Even if you haven’t been “Lucky in Love” in the past, you can be lucky in love in the future
    If you don’t put time, attention and care into cultivating love—it dies.
  • The same word can mean different things to different people; tone makes a difference and discussion is sometimes necessary for complete understanding.
  • Things are nice to have. But in the end, they are just things, not experiences. They will not keep you warm at night. You can’t call them at 1:00 a.m. for a ride home. They won’t offer you a hug.
  • You can give without expectation. However, when the other person doesn’t appreciate the gesture, or give in return—especially when they are directly asked—resentment builds.
  • If you’re not comfortable with yourself, you’ll never be comfortable with someone who is. If you are insecure, you’ll project insecurity onto your partner and it will cause unnecessary resentment, accusations and mistrust.
  • If we share ourselves wholly and fully, I expect us to share thoughts, possessions (if we are living together), responsibilities and expenses. It means being vulnerable with our innermost being—confiding whims that may be scary and taking risks with our hearts and homes.

It’s a tall order, sure, but the reward from demonstrating love is far greater than any risk you may perceive.

By Melissa Drake
Source – goodmenproject.com