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Simon says, “See your relationship as your exclusive opportunity and responsibility.”

“Relationships are a 50/50 proposition,” and “Getting along is a two-way-street,” are ideas that go around a lot. You may have heard them once or twice yourself. Well, Simon has heard them too and respectfully disagrees. “Relate the best you know how, every chance you get.” You do recall that verse of Simon’s theme song, do you not? Well, he is singing it again.

You are and can only be accountable for how you manage your side of your relationship. What’s more, your side of the relationship is your exclusive opportunity and responsibility. You and your significant other may share a lot but not this. No one can do it for you; no one can prevent you from doing it.

“I would be different if you were different.” Have you ever heard that old excuse for a whiner’s less than best effort in a relationship? It takes but a minute’s thought to see the logic. “Since you are not the way I think you should be, I am justified in being less than I am capable of being.”

Interestingly, the reverse logic is sometimes used as a compliment of sorts. “You bring out the best in me.” Give this reasoning another minute’s thought and you will see the apparent point. “Although I usually don’t give things my best shot, being around you causes me to behave abnormally. I am at my best only when I am with you.” Well, how can you proactively respond to a pronouncement like that?

Perhaps your only appropriate option is to say, “That’s a real shame. I didn’t know that you are so fundamentally incompetent. My ability to compensate for your inadequacies even surprises me. You certainly disguise them quite well; but of course, I only see you when I am there to prop you up.”

Yes, you are right. Simon is just having a little fun with you. Relationships really can bog you down to the point where being at your best may not seem worth the effort it takes. The same is true for some people. They push on the edge of tolerance and it is hard to control the urge to behave as inappropriately as they do; but just because someone acts like the trailing end of a fast-moving horse, you are not justified in responding in kind.

If Simon can be permitted to sing his song one more time without being accused of being a broken record, “Do the right things right, the first time, on time, every time.” That is your exclusive opportunity and responsibility. It applies to every thing you do, including your long-term relationship. Your significant other can appropriately expect no more; you will give no less.

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