This is a postscript that I have been meaning to add ever since I wrote the last post on “Two Years”. There, for the first time, I grudgingly accepted that it was unlikely that someone would just happen to come across your path and quietly stay put for two years, without saying anything, if there might be any romantic interest between you. Ideally, I would love to be able to “check someone out” (and equally be checked out) without any romantic overtones at all. However, practically speaking, that is not going to happen. So then I considered the possibility that you might still evaluate one another for 2 years – but now possibly discussing it beforehand between the two of you. I’m not so keen on this because obviously if someone knows that they are being watched then they are more likely to change their behaviour to make it more attractive and possibly unrepresentative of who they truly are. But perhaps that cannot be helped. (However, the point of choosing two years is that it is apparently very difficult to maintain a pretence about who you are for this long). Another reason why I am hesitant to fully embrace this idea just now is for this reason: once you have both admitted mutual interest and attraction in one another, it might be hard to concentrate on honestly and sincerely evaluating one another, and the whole thing might just collapse into an elaborate exercise in sexual temptation, although I guess that is what any “regular” relationship also looks like. Perhaps this is something that I would need to think about further? Or if anyone has any ideas about how to deal with this, then please share them in the comments below!
With that considerable preamble, then this was the additional idea that I had about this subject: simply that if the two of you do agree together about this to evaluate one another, then before you start, because it might require a two year commitment, then ideally between the two of you you should almost be utterly certain that you are indeed right for one another. However, either one or both of you can “call it off” at any time along that stretch of time, so in a way you only really need to press on to the full two years if you remain sure about the potential relationship and about one another for those two full years.
I guess viewed in this light it might not sound that different from anyone else’s relationship. I’d say the main differences would be as follows:
1. While you might be exclusively evaluating one another, you are not actually in a relationship. Rather you are checking one another out in a deliberately neutral setting. So all the things that people might do when they consider themselves to be in a relationship, you would carefully refrain from. These things might include all the holding hands and hugs and other physical expressions of intimacy. They might also include all the deep communication that comes with being in a relationship. None of this is set in stone though. I guess each couple would have to play it by ear. It might so happen that with all this care and caution you just find yourself getting closer and closer, unable to resist pouring out your hearts to one another, until you both shrug, throw your caution to the wind and go ahead and set a date for your wedding – and then proceed to live in glorious happiness for the rest of your lives!
2. Actually, the question of exclusivity is another headache, which I guess each couple might have to resolve for themselves. So I guess, hypothetically speaking, one individual could be in two or more of these interactions at the same time. So then I guess obviously none of these interactions could truly be considered a relationship, if you are not actually being exclusive about it. This would require extreme honesty though. If one person thinks that it is an exclusive situation, and the other does not, then that could easily lead to very serious hurts and disappointments. In fact, it is precisely because of things like this that you need to check out their character in the first place. If you realise that they have been deliberately misleading you, then that is obviously enough reason to conclusively ditch them and move on.
3. You do not start living your lives as if you are one entity, the way many couples do – even Christians. You do not go everywhere together, or start encouraging people to see you and refer to the pair of you as a single unit. If you are evaluating one another in church then it is probably wise to acknowledge to your pastors what you are doing, so that they can partner with you in accountability. However, I would not go around broadcasting it to everyone else. That said, I am pretty sure that everyone would soon be able to guess what is going on!
4. Need it be said, on this blog?! Obviously, no dating!
I am sure that there might yet be other differences between this and “a regular relationship”. If and when I think of these possible differences, I will add them. However the bigger question would be how best to structure the whole thing in a way that minimises pressure on one another, and also temptation. Two years is a long time to be looking at one another longingly, especially after you’ve both admitted mutual interest, and ironically, having strict rules in place might only in some cases just enhance the attraction you feel towards one another, although it is probably still a lot better than not having strict rules. So if you can see any possible solutions, please please contribute these thoughts! 😉
Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years…
Very pretty picture of flowers by Kapa65 on Pixabay