Marc Bilodeau/ Health, Self Help

I approach everything using logic, reason, and an open-mind. Unfortunately, there is one weakness to this approach. It leaves emotions and feelings as secondary concerns. Life requires tough choices, and I believe that emotions and feelings can cloud one’s judgement when making rational and effective decisions. However, there are some things in life that simply won’t abide by logic and reason. One being romantic relationships.

However, I’ve been attempting to use a logical approach to understand happy and successful romantic relationships. I’m not an expert in these fields of study, but merely a student of life attempting to internalize and interpret something solely built upon emotions. There are no rules since everyone’s definitions and desires varies. However, I think it is possible to determine the basic means to measure and monitor romantic relationships. A measuring stick that could allow couples to check in periodically and reflect.

Romantic Relationships Defined?

In order to define something, it must be understood at a basic level. That certainly is easier said than done in this case. However, there is a means to understand something as complicated as romantic relationships by identifying core qualities.

That being said, I’ve identified five core qualities that are the basic building blocks of a romantic relationship. They are friend, lover, partner, self, and spouse. Generally speaking, one quality isn’t more important than another. However, it may be more important for someone to find a mate where there is more or less focus in one or more quality. Every person will value each quality differently in their own relationship goals.

Friend

Many long term romantic relationships begin with friendship. I’m not talking about friendship by convenience when people work together, see each other every day, or happen to share a laugh or two every now and then.

Real friendships are built on trust, loyalty, honesty, and dependability. Over time friendships grow and strengthen, and a bond forms with that person regardless of age or gender. Friends are there to boost you when you’re down, and help you when you need it the most.

Lover

Lovers are intimate, sexy, loving, and playful. Friendship bring people together, however, lovers take it to the next level. They share a connection between each other and express love physically, mentally, and emotionally.

It’s about being together, talking, sharing, looking into each others eyes, and feel that deep bond down in the depths of their hearts.

Partner

Partners work together as a team. They are equals and contribute toward a common outcome. Each person brings their own strengths and weaknesses to the partnership. Together partners use their collective know-how and skills to uniquely tackle all sorts of challenges.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a small task like helping with the dishes and running errands, or something more involved over a period of time. Working together for “Team Us” not only gets things done, it allows each partner to recognize and appreciate the value of the other.

Self

As important as it is to work together in life, foster friendship, and connect intimately, there still is you. You are important and unique in your own way. Growing as an individual leads to new discoveries, skills, and adventures. Learning is achieved by exploring new ideas and setting personal goals.

Being you is an important part of any romantic relationship. After all, it’s a major reason why someone meets new friends and finds compatibility with a mate.

Spouse

The spouse is a provider, protector, and caregiver. Traditionally speaking this could be a husband or wife. However, it isn’t limited in that sense. A spouse makes personal sacrifices and fosters a loving and supportive environment.

These days families come in different shapes and sizes. However, in each case the spousal role is important. They nurture and support everyone no matter if it’s just the couple or a large family.

Relationship Pie

It makes sense that these qualities are a ladder where each one is a stage that romantic relationships pass through. For example, one would first be friends and evolve into lovers. Then through a stable partnership, they become a family.

However, it seems more appropriate that each quality stands on its own. One quality is not a gateway to another. Instead, each one develops independently into a relationship that both people experience together.

Romantic Relationships Pie

Although this pie equally represents each quality, someone will value them differently. Therefore, a person’s expectations will vary. They will be bias toward one or more quality.

For example, someone who is more self-reliant may value a partner slightly less. It’s not that a partnership isn’t important. It’s just not as important to them. Above all, there are no right or wrong answers.

The Middle Ground

Romantic Relationships are unique and vary between person and relationship. By now, you’re probably wondering what your special someone’s pie looks like. Of course, the only way to know is to ask them. Mostly likely, what you believe their pie look like falls prey to confirmation bias base on your own relationship goals.

It is likely rare that two people will weigh each quality the same. In fact, it’s likely in most relationships that their pies are different. Therefore, there is always a middle ground where people are willing to compromise for the greater good of the relationship.

Relationship Pie Middle Ground

However, there is a limit to compromise. For example, if Person A values self-aligned goals more than friendship, Person B over time may feel alone or isolated from Person A if Person B values friendship heavily. Hence, one person may over compensate, and this can cause friction in the relationship over time.

In short, when the middle ground is too far from any slice of a person’s pie, problems start to happen in the relationship if they aren’t addressed. The middle ground may provide valuable insight and set expectations between two people’s needs and desires.

Reality

Two people can be honest with each other, understand their differences, and know their levels of compromise. However, relationships have a life of their own. They need constant care like a plant needs water.

But in reality, the relationship pie may look very different. There are a number of reasons why this happens. Life is complicated and busy, new priorities constantly interject, and compromises are made whether we like them or not. Over time, these events reshape the relationship.

Romantic Relationships Pie - Reality

It could even morph into something more in-line with one person than the other. This may leave one person oblivious of any problem while the other person is experiencing deep frustration, or worse, resentment. Other times, it turns into something completely different that affect both people.

When changes occur, people start to question the reality of their situation. Conflict is not inherently bad in a relationship. In my opinion, it’s healthy. It causes each person to be honest with themselves, helps them understand the other’s perspective, and to work together.

What does your Pies look like?

There are no rules to relationships, only guidelines from personal morals and beliefs. However, a visual can go a long way. Although a relationship pie may not define people or romantic relationships accurately, it can be a tool to discovery and discussion.

Conclusion

Romantic relationships are not simple. Each has a life of its own. However trying to understand something like romantic relationships from a fundamental level, can be useful to approach it with a bit more clarity and understanding. Who knows, one may discover something new.

Internalize your relationship and discuss concerns with your special someone. It can help you become a better friend, lover, partner, spouse, and person.

Time is the only non-replaceable thing in this world. It is important to use it wisely, and not waste this precious gift. Romantic relationships require care, time, sacrifice, and energy. However, the rewards are worth the effort.