Socially Single: Make your own relationship rules

Kelsey_1By Kelsey Foster

Growing up, most of us were taught that a relationship led to marriage, which led to kids. The man worked and the woman kept house…and everyone lived happily ever after in their house with the white picket fence.

Many of us discovered, through trial and error, that this “formula for life” wasn’t ideal. Maybe you didn’t want to have kids. Maybe you chose not to get married. Perhaps, as a woman, you had big career ambitions…or, as a man, you wanted to stay home with your children. Whatever the specifics, you learned that the so-called norms of society didn’t exactly fit with your idea of happiness.

A friend of mine shared with me that her co-worker married a man who lives in another state. What is unusual is they still primarily reside in different states post-wedding. They each have young children from their first marriages and ties to their respective communities. Moving wasn’t an easy option for either of them…so they found a solution that worked. Her job takes her to his city several times per year (that is how they met) and when she isn’t working in his state, he takes trips to stay with her. Sure they rack up a lot of frequent flyer miles but, bottom line, they are in love and happy.

Might sound strange to you…but it works for them.

Because let’s face it, that is quite different from most marriages. Listening to her talk, I realized, “Whoa, that could actually work for me, too…not sharing a bathroom with a guy and being able to decorate my home exactly how I liked? Nice!”

Kidding aside, she and I both agreed that it was pretty cool that two people were willing to figure out what worked for their unique situation. Despite what other people thought.

Their story is an example that we’ve entered a time where people aren’t as caught up with what everyone is “supposed” to do. As more people have decided to create a life that makes sense for them, it’s become easier for everyone to do the same – whether with small details or big noticeable ways.

I encourage you to take the time to envision your ideal relationship, especially a long-term one. Do you want to be married? Do you want to commit and cohabitate without being married? Do you want to marry but live separately (see, you can do that)? Is your ideal some other combination?

Don’t worry about what a relationship is supposed to look like. Instead, take the time to know yourself, know your partner, and determine what works for you both!

Kelsey Foster is a dating coach and author in Edmonds. She is releasing a new book this month titled Adios, Heartbreak. Find out more information on her website

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