Here it is, folks, the moment you’ve been waiting for: the winners of our first ever kickass contest! If you haven’t checked out all our awesome entries, you can check out everyone’s insights (or the links to their insights) in the comments section of this post. The question was
“How do you define successful relationships, and what does it take to achieve that success?”
We used strict criteria of total subjectivity and beating each other into submission over e-mail to agree on our two winners, and were especially thrilled because we had so many awesome entries to choose from. Way to make it tough for us, you guys!
First Place: Congratulations Dadshouse!
First place (a $25 Borders Gift Card) goes to Dadshouse for his insightful take on how being a single parent affects all of his relationships. You’ll notice our question was deliberately vague (we let you all define both “success” and “relationship”), and he took it head on with some really specific examples. Lance and I especially loved the idea that a girlfriend somehow manages to be both a Booty Call Partner and a Friend With Benefits, and turn that combination into more than the sum of its parts. Also, it’s a good idea never to sleep with an ex, regardless of whether you have kids. Good call on that one, dadshouse! My BF calls it the “clean break rule” and says that his life got a lot simpler when he instituted it. I never named it, but notice that I was miserable back during the, tumultuous almost-relationships that dragged on for over a year each in college. Nowadays, while I won’t turn down a myspace friend request, I’m not checking out their pages or sending them e-mail either.
For dadshouse, success is defined a little bit differently in all five of the relationships that he outlines. However, one thing does seem to hold it all together: in order to have a successful relationship, your priorities must be clear, and the people in question need to not only understand where they fall on that list of priorities, they must accept those priorities and not angle for more. If his Booty Call Partner gave him an ultimatum, I’m sure he’d tell her to take a hike. As it should be. Bravo, dadshouse!
Second Place: Congratulations Chaotic Kitten!
Second place (a $15 Amazon E-Gift Card) goes to Chaotic Kitten for her spot-on advice on what constitutes a successful relationship. She defines “successful” as “mutually satisfying for both people,” and I have to say that leaves a lot of leeway for people to want all kinds of different, unusual, or possibly even strange things–as long as both people are satisfied, then it’s good! Communication is key for Chaotic Kitten (and, as she points out, for everyone who wants a LTR–and be honest if that’s not what you want!)
Kitten also talks about the importance of sex in a good relationship, and I agree. In fact, I’m going to connect a dot that she didn’t and say that communication about sex is key, as well. It’s tempting to simply say that sex is natural, that it’s either good or it isn’t, and that the best thing to do if your sex life sucks is to suddenly show up wearing a bustier under a trenchcoat. While that’s certainly one way, I think that you need to be able to talk to your partner about what you like, how often, and why. It may feel awkward or embarrassing to give specific feedback, but if you’re old enough to do it then you’re old enough to talk about it. Kitten’s example of spicing it up is Dominance/submission. While I haven’t given it a go myself, I love her suggestion that D/s is a safe way to enact a power struggle in the bedroom in a safe, fun, sexy way–rather than enacting a power struggle by, say, picking a fight with the other person. Kudos to you, Chaotic Kitten! And we’re waiting with bated breath for a future blog in which you recount a specific D/s session that you’ve had. Yum…
Special Mention: SystemsThinker
SystemsThinker is, among other things, a life coach, and as such is well read on the subject of relationships (like, shockingly well read). Check out his very well-informed take on why we have a tendency to repeat negative patterns in our romantic relationships and what we can do about it. It’s a longer piece, but he’s done the research and not only pulls out useful quotes from the many books that he’s read, he links to them on Amazon if you’re interested enough to read more. It’s well worth the time you’ll put into reading it, and really made Lance and I think. Poke around the rest of his site, too–there’s tons of value to take away.
Thanks to all who participated!
We totally enjoyed hearing everyone’s takes on the question, and hope that you found some useful ways of thinking about relationships. Bonus points to Trixie Firecracker for use of the word “defenestrate” (which, for those of you who don’t know, means to throw someone out a window) and Cheekie for recounting old-people hanky-panky. You’re all awesome!