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It's a wonderful feeling when you find the person you love. When you get the butterflies in your stomach at the thought of spending time with them and the pit of sadness and sorrow if they have to leave.


Like anything else in life, the state of the union sometimes changes.  Usually these changes are for the better. You learn how to talk to each other and actually listen to the answer. You learn how to "fight" fairly, without losing your cool and without hurting the other person. These changes are something to look forward to, although not too many people talk about this when starting a relationship. More often than not, the first "getting to know you" questions are along the lines of Where Do You Work, How Do You Spend Your Spare Time, Who Are Your Friends. These are such transitional questions, they can change at a moment's notice and why would we base any future relationship on such variables?


I propose a few new questions -- for those of you who are looking for longer term relationships that might actually work for you. Can you argue a point with someone else without it becoming a personal issue? Can you HEAR what a person is actually saying while they speak, or do you just hear the talk? Can you invest in long-term stocks and watch the future value grow, even though it drops in the short term? Can you handle the 50 per cent of bad habits that go along with the 50 per cent of thoughtful deeds that make up day-to-day life?


It's a sad state of affairs when a relationship breaks down for the wrong reasons. There are valid reasons occasionally, but the majority of what I've seen are just the short drops in value that create huge chasms in relationships. A bad day with each other is still a day with each other. And another day after that is a blessing because it means you can make it over those little drops.   


The huge chasms start to develop when you don't hear each other, and  this can end some beautiful relationships. I'm definitely guilty of the glazed-over, nod my head, keep smiling act of "listening", but I try to catch myself. I try to shake off that un-focus and really pay attention. 


I do this because whatever it is he's saying -- it's important to him, it's a part of his life and his interests, and because I can't realistically ask him to listen unless I can do the same.


A lot of relationships end up at this stage and then people part ways when they feel bored. This is not a boring part in a movie that you can just skip past and the movie still plays on ... Your movie only moves on when you can resolve this and become interested in each other again.


The 50/50 rule is a theory I've developed after watching and listening a lot. When you're in the "butterflies" stage you might feel as though your partner does no wrong, is always thoughtful ... further down the road (quite further) this almost seems to flip.  They have no thought for their actions and are ignoring your feelings entirely. In the beginning you see only the best, and further on you see only the worst. You need to look for the other 50 per cent. The good and the bad are always there, you just need to open your eyes to them. It's much harder to do than it sounds though. For every time you want to shake your head at your partner, you need to look for the good 50 per cent, and remember who that person was that you fell in love with.


That timeless image of the senior couple strolling down the road is not fantasy -- it is fact, but it is a cold, hard, life-learned, pits and potholes, arguments and awareness kind of love. Those butterflies are still there, look for them next time you shake your head at your partner.

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