30 Lessons About Relationships

While David Artavia speaks primarily to gay men in his article “30 Things I’ve Learned about Gay Relationships While Being Single,” most of them apply to all relationships. It’s a though-provoking list of some big lessons about connecting, love and belonging. Worth a quick read.

Here’s a taste. Two of my favorites and possibly most important:

#17) You teach people how to treat you. The way you handle yourself, whether it’s independently or dependent on others, becomes the catalyst of how society treats you. Don’t be surprised.

#18) No one knows what’s inside your head. People aren’t mind readers. They only know whatever it is you tell them. It’s easy to get aggravated whenever someone can’t relate to you on a personal level, but perhaps you’re not giving them a chance to.

These two points underscore the essential responsibility we each have to own our choices and to communicate explicitly.

To be clear, this article is also flawed, not just for some typos (excuse them; we all make them at times). There are some points that fly in the face of the authenticity, openness and vulnerability I believe are essential to enduring, stable relationships. For example, this:

#8) If you really want him to pay attention to you, pretend you’re less interested than you actually are. It works. And yes, I don’t understand it either. This is different from playing hard to get – that’s a bad thing to do. Simply making him work a bitt harder for your attention tricks him into thinking you’re more valuable. And we all want to be with someone of value.

This just sounds like manipulation. Pretend nothing. Be yourself. If you need more attention, ask for it. If you need reassurance, ask for it. Relationships are about predictability, stability, security. Building them through pretending, faking, manipulating will not lead to stable, secure relationships.

What do you make of the list? What is valuable takeaway and what is problematic for you?