In the movies and on TV, relationships happen very easily and quickly. Tension builds as the program progresses. Characters show obvious signs of liking each other. Usually, the tensions build to such an extreme that in one dramatic moment they can’t take it anymore, stare into each other’s eyes and kiss passionately. They don’t talk, they don’t even discuss whether or not they like each other. They are inexplicably drawn together by the desire to kiss (and possibly participate in other intimate activities) all within the short span of about 15 seconds.
Just like real life, right? Ugh, No.
In TV, this is the “perfect” relationship. One where two people like each other so much that they just get together and live happily ever after. They look beautiful, sound beautiful and everything is perfect every time. What percentage of people have relationships start like this and live forever together without ever dealing with misunderstandings, assumptions, and annoyances?
When you look at deeply at any relationships, you recognize there is no such thing as a perfect relationship.
Consider a first kiss. How many people have gone in for a kiss, and experienced the awkward moment of “wait, I’m tilting to the left and they’re tilting the opposite way?” Your dream picture of what this sexy kiss was going to look like is not matching up with the reality.
The healthiest relationships rely on respectful, oral communication, which can also be the key to mutually amazing relationships. Effective communication with your partner means letting go of your ego. Our ego tells us that we know exactly what our partner wants so we don’t have to ask. We are not taking their needs, comfort zone, boundaries, and considerations into account.
So, what was happening in that first kiss moment when we went in for the kiss? Our ego was telling us to assume what our partner wanted. Our ego was saying, “they want a kiss and so let’s give it to them.” In reality, only one person definitely wants the kiss and then that person assumed what the other person wanted. We didn’t take their wants into consideration and actually give them a choice first.
We fooled ourselves into thinking that the TV scene is real; that our partner always wants us exactly like the couples on TV want each other. The reality is we end up taking our partner’s boundaries and wishes for granted. We fail to give them a choice before we make a sexual advance.
Then, how do we make our relationships mutually amazing? Simple; we ask. Asking takes into account our partner’s feelings, wants, desires, and respect of their boundaries. Asking puts our own egos in check and makes us consider the other person and their wants and desires.
While people will often mistakenly assume asking ruins the moment, what people share with me around the world is how much being asked for a kiss by a partner made the moment even more special and memorable.
How do you ask first? Look your partner in the eye and be honest. Say and ask, “You look fantastic. . . . Can I kiss you?” A lot of people love that exact moment. Audiences tell me how passionate, sexy, and special asking first has been for them. Is that example of asking not the exact way you would ask for a kiss? Then word it however would be true to you and at the same time will respect your partner.
If your partner says yes, imagine how wonderful that moment is going to feel! If your partner says no, then you have avoided creating making any moves your partner did not want to experience with you. You’ve made the entire situation better for both of you. Plus, you have taken the time to show your partner that they matter.
TV is entertainment. The way frantic hook-ups happen in TV are not a healthy or positive examples of what happens in real life. Wonderful relationships are built on respecting your partner and mutually exploring what each party in the relationship wants.
The next time you are with your partner, don’t guess what they want. Ask. Help make your relationship mutually amazing.
Mike Domitrz is on a mission to create a culture of consent and respect through The DATE SAFE Project. As one of the leading voices for helping children, young adults, parents, educational institutions, and the US Military discuss dating, sexual decision-making, consent, and sexual assault, Mike speaks to tens of thousands of people yearly around the world; providing positive how-to skill sets and helpful insights for romantic relationships, sexual intimacy, and being safer.