And here’s why…
Almost three years ago I moved out of my boyfriend’s house.
After living together for over a year and a half, he dropped a huge bomb on me. Something that could have ended many relationships.
He told me that even though he had said in the past that he wanted to have more children, the more he thought about it, the more he realized that he did not, in fact, want any more kids. It was not an option for him.
You see he’s 19 years older than me. He has two grown children and a granddaughter, so it’s understandable that he wouldn’t want more.
But still, I was blown away when he brought this to my attention, for several reasons.
First, I thought I wanted kids or at least the option to have them if I decided to.
Second, I was blown away by the pure honesty that he laid on the table with me that day.
In hindsight, it’s a little weird to realize that I was more shocked by the honesty than I was by the no kids thing. But let’s face it, people are rarely honest (even with the person they love) when it comes to their personal feelings. Especially if it’s a topic they know the other person feels strongly or cares deeply about.
So I wasn’t sure what to do with that.
After a couple of days of thinking — and a lot of crying, confusion, and fear — I decided to move out.
I remember looking at him and saying that I had made a decision that I was going to start looking for houses. He looked back at me and asked, “We’re breaking up?”
I replied, “No. But I need my own space to make a decision uninfluenced by you.”
He just looked at me. I knew at that moment that I had shocked him with my honesty as much as he had shocked me with his a few days earlier.
You see, I knew that if I stayed there, I would have laid in bed next to him every night, loving this amazing man, and my judgment would have been clouded.
I wouldn’t have been able to clearly look at my life and decide if babies were a “must have” for me. I wouldn’t have been clear about whether not having children was a deal breaker.
The last thing I wanted to do was to wake up in 10 years hating him because we never had kids, and his biggest fear was that I would.In my mind, by creating that distance between us, I would be able to make a decision in the present, instead of regretting it further down the road.
So now I sit here, almost three years later, and I’m still not 100% certain what the answer for me is.
I still don’t know if having kids is something that I see in my future. I am, however, confident in the fact that me maintaining my own space was, and is, exactly what we both needed.
Our love wouldn’t have survived if I had stayed. He’d been walking on eggshells feeling like I needed something from him that he wasn’t willing to give, and all the while I was walking around planning our imaginary family photos out in my head.
But, here’s the thing … So many people do this!
So many people wake up every morning and live an imaginary life with their partner. They are never clear or honest with either themselves or with the person they love about what they want and/or need — or what they DON’T want and/or CAN’T give. They make assumptions that cause them to act and feel some type of way, instead of simply asking their partner the important questions and being honest about their own feelings and expectations.
These people — which is most of us — just go with the flow, never truly sharing or connecting or getting what they want or need. And in many cases, this creates into resentments that can destroy even the most loving relationship.
Looking back now there are two main lessons I learned from this experience:
1. Your relationship doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s.
You get to create your own reality and you get to define love for yourself.
You can be the exception to the rule. You can move out of your boyfriend’s house and not break up. You can move out of your boyfriend’s house and not only strengthen your relationship, but your mutual respect and love for one another as well.
2. It’s time to just tell your partner the damn truth already.
Walking around assuming things or acting a certain way because you think you “should” or you “think” you know what someone else is thinking or needing is a big giant waste of time.
ASK THEM. TELL THEM.
You can put it all out on the table without initiating World War III. In fact, putting it out there on the table could PREVENT that war from starting in the first place.
So you see, the power to sculpt your life into exactly that image you see in your mind is possible.
It’s all in your hands.
It just takes a little hard work, determination, and a whole lot of honesty.
#BeTheChange, friends. You deserve it.
(Originally appeared at YourTango, click here for more)