Being on the market again has, so far, been a great and torturous experience. That's not a bad thing, exactly, but it sure is unfamiliar territory. Oddly enough, my relationship with Stephanie is probably the easiest one to deal with at the moment. We have no problem pal-ing around like old friends (which makes sense since, after all, we are old friends).
My first significant romantic relationship is/was filled with challenges and a series of difficult situations. Some of that I bring on myself. My new relationship is exciting and new, but I tend to hold back a bit because I worry about things not going well in the long run, or making myself vulnerable. As much as I thought that I had no damage, apparently I do.
But regardless of these challenges, the thing I've learned the most in the last year is that total honesty and disclosure is what makes relationships work. That applies to all types of relationships, including romantic, friendship and even business relationships. Holding things back to spare someone's feelings causes the other person's imagination to run wild and at the same time causes you to invalidate your own feelings, thinking they aren't valid enough to get them out there. Ironically, I think most people would just rather hear the truth, even if it does hurt.
By going through this process of understanding your own needs, wants and how you fit, you get to know yourself better. And this time around, the most important distinction is understanding how you can exist as a solo artist. I don't think you can be happy with anyone until you understand that. Autonomy is a power I think few people every truly master. There's no question that relationships require compromise, but there's a huge difference between compromise and disappearing behind someone else, or worse, becoming someone totally different for someone else. That's a bitch, because it's not easy to be honest with yourself enough to recognize that condition, let alone have the courage to act on it.