(By Jonathan Flander) Jonathan has been with his wife for 12 years and together they have a son. He answers a few questions on relationships and how his relationship works for him.
What is love to you?
In its truest form, love is a very simple thing. I think what everyone wishes for, at some level, is unconditional love. You know very early on if someone you are with is capable of that and if you will be capable of loving them that way as well.
Can you grow to love someone?
Initial spark is important to kindle the flame – it’s part of what makes the start of a relationship so exciting. The hope, obviously, is that the relationship continues to grow and develop. Everyone has a different path to falling in love – for some it happens right and for others it can take some time.
At what stage did you want to find someone to get serious with?
My single days were definitely fun times and I met girls who I dated but I never really gotten to the point where I was thinking about settling down. When you are in that mode it’s easier to base who you are interested in on surface-level things like looks. I had a couple of pretty big life events that caused me to really reflect on the bigger picture and realized that maybe I was ready to meet someone that had the right personality traits to match with me. Someone that could keep up with me but still be the type of person you know always had the right intentions. As simple as it sounds a genuinely nice person.
Shortly after this perspective shift, I met my wife. She was this energetic and bubbly girl who exuded confidence. She was aggressive in the sense that she asked for my number and initiated going out on a date. And I quickly realized how real she was. Nice yes but much more – she was true in her beliefs and I never had to second guess how she felt about me or what her intentions were.
Did you take the relationship seriously when you first started dating?
Mentally, I still wasn’t in a place where I wanted to settle down. Also, she was almost 10 years younger than me, and I wasn’t sure that she was really ready for a really serious commitment. So we took a break.
After taking some time apart, it finally clicked. Selfishly, I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing her with anyone else. And more importantly, life just wasn’t the same without her – something was missing.
When we got back together, I knew I was going all in.
Typically the media tells women to not be the aggressor. But in your case, my wife’s initiation worked. Explain.
People need to be authentic. If you’re a wallflower I don’t suggest you try to be an aggressive person or vice versa. Whatever is natural will eventually come out. For anyone who knows my wife, that is just her personality – if she wants something she’ll go for it.
What makes your relationship work?
We have learned how to compromise and support each other and decisions as much as possible together. Balancing two people’s needs takes work and when you add children into the mix then it becomes even more important so that everyone gets what they need. Ultimately we are each other’s biggest fan but also know when to push each other.
What do you love about her the most?
She’s one of a kind. She exudes this positive energy that is genuine and everyone wants to be around it. She makes my day and everyone else’s day better. She has so much love to give – my son and I are very lucky.
Advice to single men?
Stay single until you get it out of your system. When you are in a relationship and you want to go out more than you want to stay with your partner, it’s a sign you aren’t ready to settle down. If that’s where your head and heart is at, embrace it and enjoy it. I think you can be honest about that – no need to lead anyone on.
What would your advice to your son be?
You will break many hearts but always be respectful and honest and true to your feelings. There’s always a way to carry yourself. And get married sooner than I did!
Advice to a future daughter?
If I am ever lucky enough to have one I would tell her to never let anyone define her. That she needs to understand herself before she can be ready to meet someone.