Your Time Deserves My Attention

Deep, meaningful relationships begin with a commitment to be present.

Many years ago, I was dating a girl for a brief time. One day, she approached me and said, “A guy I used to go out with asked me if I wanted to have dinner with him sometime to catch up. Would you mind if I went?” I paused for a moment to reflect. We hadn’t been together for very long and our relationship was still fairly casual. “You are free to do whatever you want and to see whomever you’d like,” I replied. She looked somewhat relieved, but puzzled. I continued, “Just do not expect me to be here when you get back.”

The problem, as I saw it, was not that she wanted to see other people. She had every right to do so and I had no right to try to stop her. I knew, however, that I did not want to be with someone who wanted to see other people.

Imagine we are at a party, having a conversation, and the whole time I am looking around the room for someone else to talk to. How much of yourself can you, or should you, share with me? Life is too short to spend with people who are constantly looking past you to the next thing. We each deserve to be the destination for someone, not merely a stepping stone to something perceived as better.

Our relationship is my promise to not look for someone or something else as long as we are together. Not everyone feels that way. I am only interested in spending time with those who do.

“As in life, so too it is in budo. As in budo, so too it is in life.”

-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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