As I reflect on recent events; more specifically on the relationship with the young man which has affected me so greatly, I ask myself the age old question, "What is more important to follow, the head or the heart?"
When we first started chatting, I was not interested in a relationship at all, let alone with someone thirty-plus years my junior and with quite a different background than mine. So, we settled on being just friends though he wanted more. Yet, as the friendship evolved over time, and I saw so many positive qualities developing in him as he grew, I began to want to explore a more serious relationship with him, and now the differences didn't seem to outweigh the benefits I saw. I followed my heart. Earlier, my head was pointing out those differences I mentioned above, yet now they were taking a back seat to the benefits I now saw. Among them:
- We shared a willingness and an openness to talk about the relationship itself.
- We shared a commitment to not let things go unsettled any longer than possible.
- We both
wereare very creative and supported each other in our endeavors.
- We both were exploring a spiritual path to find inner peace and supported each other's journey.
I came to realize these were very important to me in a friend, boyfriend or life partner, as well as someone who could fit all three categories. I also came to realize how crucial it is for me to have my partner start out as my friend, more specifically, as my best friend.
So, all this begs the question-at what point do the challenges and differences by themselves justify ending a potential relationship with so much going for it and where both people feel a very deep connection and a genuine affection for each other? Or could using them to end said relationship be masking an underlying fear, especially when the relationship is already flowing relatively smoothly in spite of them?
I think it depends on the individuals and one basic element: they together must decide their approach to the challenges, provided said challenges do not appear on the deal-breaker list. We all have certain behaviors or characteristics we consider a deal breaker, no matter what. I remember meeting a very attractive man many years ago. He was a walking cliché: tall, dark, very handsome, shirt open revealing a nice patch of chest fur, dark mustache, brown eyes, great smile, broad shoulders...and he was eyeing me. I was already melting, fantasizing what the night would be like. I'd already decided on my answer should he ultimately ask me back to his place. That is, until he pulled out a box of cigarettes from his jacket pocket and lit one up. Growing up in a house of smokers, cigarette smoking is one of my deal breakers.
So, if the challenges and differences appear too insurmountable to only one of the two, then the other must suffer the death of the relationship.
I guess it all boils down to both partners choosing together to follow their heads or their hearts. And if they don't agree?