The concept of a lock and key dates back thousands of years tracing its way to Ancient Egypt. The first keys were made of wood and worked by displacing pins held in place by gravity. Keys have obviously changed tremendously over time, but their importance has stayed the same. People utilize keys to keep safe the treasures that are important to them, however, it is worth noting that all keys are not created equal, and therefore, not all ‘treasures’ have the same level of protection.
Today I want to explore the amount of protection that you provide for your relationship and what that might say about the importance of it in your life. You can also use this guide to help determine how a potential partner views your place in their life. As with all my analogies, this is not a one-size-fits-all post and every relationship is as unique as the parties involved. These are just some of my random thoughts and ideas.
Hotel Key – A hotel key is issued to a guest upon arrival and is good only for the time reserved. Some individuals do have extended stays, but for the most part, a hotel visit is limited in time and scope. If your relationship has a hotel key, then you are not in it for the long haul. Oh, you might say you are, but truth be told, you are not. The classic hotel key scenario is, of course, the one-night stand. For this post, however, I will use it to describe short-term, casual relationships. Every relationship does not lead to marriage, and if both parties are honest, short-term unions can be fun and even help guide through a rough time. The problem comes when one person has a hotel key and the other is expecting more. Always be upfront with a new partner about your intentions and goals. Never lead someone on or promise more than you can deliver. If you are falling for someone and they are being vague or unclear about what they want, you should assume they are using a hotel key. Do not give more of yourself than you are getting in return. Once this type of relationship runs its course, there is no going back, and this key will never work again.
Bump Key – A bump key can open almost any standard lock because the teeth are set really low. A standard lock has tumblers which are pins in various heights that meet the exact height of the cylinder to keep it from turning. When a bump key is used, for a brief moment, all of the tumblers pop into the exact position for opening. It takes skill to use a bump key, and obviously, most are used by those with bad intentions. In relationship terms, a bump key is used by someone who just wants to play the field. They ‘unlock’ as many hearts as they can with no real desire to form anything of value. The biggest difference between a bump key and the hotel key is that most victims of the bump key have no idea there are others. Be careful if you notice these red flags in a budding relationship….Missing pieces of time and information…..Vague answers to legitimate questions. Every person you date does not owe you their life’s story, but if you sense they are not on the same page, nor want to be, then step back and evaluate what is really going on. A person who dates multiple partners does not have the time or energy to develop anything substantial. If you are ok with that, then go in peace. If you want more, then change your lock.
Skeleton Key – As you might imagine, the skeleton key is used by many people. This key locks away their (your?) skeletons. We all have them; the trick is whether or not we have learned from them or if they rear their ugly heads at the wrong moments. Emotionally healthy individuals never stop growing and learning. The end of a relationship should always be a teachable moment, either of something to do differently or knowledge of what not to tolerate. When someone pushes their pain into a hurt locker without dealing with it, the skeleton key will unlock it at the most inopportune time. It is my opinion that the skeleton key should only be used with a professional to work through a painful issue, or with the right person in a healthy environment to move forward and forge a new path and future. It should never be used as a weapon and be very careful of someone who uses this key to constantly live in the past. Whether good or bad, the past cannot be relived, and you should only align yourself with those with purpose and a drive for a positive future.
Deadbolt Key – The deadbolt is one of the most secure locks. It provides maximum security for whatever is held behind its protection. Having a key to a deadbolt ensures your valuables are defended and unharmed. This is the type of relationship that most of us long for. We seek a strong, sound partner with our best interests at heart. Someone who treasures our love and values our soul. Most of us have gone through times where this type of relationship seemed out of reach or too difficult to maintain. Maybe that is where you are today. My Hopefuls, if it is, I want you to know that I understand it can be frustrating. Feeling alone and seeing others have what you long for is challenging. It can sometimes tempt you (us) to use one of the other keys. To find a temporary solution for a long-term desire. I encourage you strongly to not fall for that. There is only heartache and misery on that path. Hold tightly to your deadbolt key and wait for the right person to use it with. I promise it will be worth the wait.
I trust as you have read through the different ‘keys’ used in relationships, that you have discovered something about yourself. If you have been using the wrong keys, or have allowed someone to use one on you, I hope you decide today to change the locks on your heart. The locks should never be so tight that no one can get in, but it should be reserved for someone special who holds just the perfect key to YOUR heart!
And always, always remember…..
Hope With Abandon