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Simon says, “If you are in the relationship for the long-term, be consistent and predictable.”

Does this make you think your old friend Simon is a boring person? Does hanging around with Simon sound like about as much fun as watching paint dry? Does being consistent and predictable conger up images only slightly more stimulating than snuggling up with a turtle? Well, maybe “Yes,” and maybe “No.” Either way, That is not quite Simon’s point.

Simon is referring more to people who are friendly one time you are with them and standoffish the next. They are interested in what you have to say this afternoon but may not be tonight. Sometimes they are warm and sensitive and other times even a grizzly bear would be reluctant to give them a hug. There is just no predicting how they are going to be whenever you see them.

If they are really on a roll, their unpredictability extends beyond their mood and attitude to include their interests, how they talk, their appearance, and anything else you associate with them. You enjoy them at times but do not want to be within a country mile of them at other times. Even you have trouble reading them. It is a wonder they have any friends, if they actually have any other than you; and you even have doubts yourself now and then.

Everyone likes a surprise once in a while and no one expects anyone to be exactly the same all the time; but there are limits to everything. The key in long-term relationships is staying inside those limits most all the time. The key is also in what Simon calls “selected sameness.” There are situations where the limits are very narrow and you consistently stay within those limits. The situations have a lot to do with personal preference and vary a lot but include things like serious conversations, when someone is ill, business appointments, restaurants and parties, or any situation where you are expected to look, behave, and conduct yourself as you have other times. Your significant other wants the real you most of the time; and the more long-term your relationship, the more important predictability and consistency become. That is what their having a relationship with you is about and why they go to the time and bother to keep it.

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