𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺 (sta·bil·i·ty | \ stə-ˈbi-lə-tē) 𝗻𝗼𝘂𝗻: the quality or state of something that is not easily changed or likely to change; the quality or state of something that is not easily moved; the quality or state of someone who is emotionally or mentally healthy. the strength to stand or endure; firmness. resistance to chemical change or to physical disintegration.
i've recently started dating again and am doing so, like i have for about the past seven years, with the intention of looking for a life partner. one night a few days ago, i was up late just thinking about my dating experience and reflecting on some of my patterns and behaviors since moving to berlin, when i told myself i should consciously be looking to date someone stable.
on this night, i asked myself, "what even is stability? what does that look like to me?" i started to think of some stable behaviors; living and working in the same city? good work-life balance? healthy expectations of their relationships? someone who isn't likely to change? someone who isn't going to go anywhere?
looking at the definition i listed at the top of this post, some traits of stable people are great! emotional and mental health are sexy. period. so is emotional and mental intelligence; sensitivity, too!
but the part that says, "strength to stand or endure," really caught my attention. i'd say the one thing that's lacked from every single one of my past relationships was this element. not for the obvious that these relationships no longer exist, but for the sake that, when faced with an obstacle or problem, either person in the relationship was too inclined to end things rather than endure through them. maybe i never even made it out of the honeymoon phase...
that's a totally normal expectation of the dating experience, but i think i realized through researching the definition of this term, that that's really what I should be seeking and fostering in a relationship. going forward, i would save myself a lot of emotional distress forming feelings for people who were either quick to leave the relationship, or not developing feelings at the same speed as myself. and that's what i seem to have forgotten. that the strength - or even desire - to endure does not manifest overnight.
seems like a simple enough sentiment, but i haven't done as good of a job with it. i recently heard a quote that's really resonated with me and i'd like to think i've added it to my personal growth journey backpack. it says,
"attention is not intention."
by bonding relatively quickly and deeply to people who have shown me attention in a relationship, i project my own fear of abandonment, which sets myself up to be abandoned, only making that fear become a reality. in coming into a relationship attentive to what's being given and taken, rather than blindly giving myself, i might be able to make more conscious decisions in my dating life. in essence, by becoming stable, i can attract the stability i want.
there are, however, traits of stable people that seem extremely unattractive to me. namely, "the quality or state of something that is not easily changed or likely to change." change is incredible. i'm extremely uninterested in people who haven't changed and have no intention to. stagnation doesn't elicit any growth, and therefore i associate stagnant people with immaturity, cowardice, and boredom. in fact, i would love to be with someone who is unafraid of changing themselves and their lives!
i think, often times, people would associate this, "instability," with creating the opportunity for infidelity or lack of trust - especially because change is incredibly unstable. but for me, i think there's something to be said of people who are willing to part with what's comfortable for the betterment of themselves, their partner, and, even, the world. i also think there's something to be said of people who want their partner to grow into the best version of themselves without it coming as a threat to their own interests or agenda.
this is the real meat and bones of a healthy relationship, to me; fostering an environment where self exploration is encouraged, mistakes are tolerated, and respect is held higher than self-serving interests. does change have to equal instability? I would argue no. there will always be people who take advantage of situations or other people in order to fulfill their own agenda. but finding someone who acknowledges that they're in a relationship where change is encouraged could also say, "i want to take you along with me on my journey of change so that we both end up better, and we do so together!"
breaking patterns takes cognizance. it doesn't happen overnight. but i'm pledging to myself to be the first example of what I want. and i'm remembering my patience (for myself and for others) along the way.