Some lessons I’ve learned from being in a relationship.
1. Pride. Is what’s hurt when you feel unappreciated. Pride is what bothers you when you realised you just caused yet another argument for no good reason, without even fucking thinking about it. Pride is what stops you from saying “I hear your point, and I understand what you’re saying.” Pride is what makes you talk it to death just so that it seems that even though you’re not exactly right, you’re not exactly wrong either, so maybe, just maybe there’s someone here who doesn’t have a judgment/perception problem (this is me, raising my hand. both in fact). Pride is what causes the silent treatment. Pride’s best friend is the cold shoulder. Pride’s catalyst is going to bed angry, and waking up angrier. Pride is in the non-communication, the I-dont-need-you-to-help-me mentality. Pride is telling yourself one thing, when it’s another. Pride is making yourself believe that it’s not that bad/it could be worse/it will get better if I leave it.
Pride. Is that thing that doesn’t really matter in a relationship. Pride is something that only means something in a relationship, if it’s in relation to the person you choose to be in a relationship with. And I forget that. It’s so easy to overlook that, and just be concerned with the memememe of it all, that I forget that I’m actually in relationship with another actual person, not just myself. I have so much to be proud of. I have so much to be proud of, so much worth fighting for. So much that actually isn’t bad. So much that is far from bad.
It’s somewhat surprising to me to realise, that when he complains about how much time I spend on my computer/cell phone/book/whatever else, that it’s not because he’s being whiny and controlling – it’s because he actually wants to spend time with me. He wants me around. And not just in the next room, doing something completely separately from me.
Pride is what makes looking for lost car keys for the 7th time that day, seem menial and overly-demanding. Pride is what makes meal times and picking up socks an obligation. When it’s so easy to forget that just by doing this small thing, and that other thing, you can make his life that much easier, even by a little bit.
Pride is what lets you (so easily) forget all the sacrifices he’s made for you – and for his son – to make it so that you have an easier life, and a life where you get to actually do a job that you love, and get to do things that excite you. Pride is what lets you take that selfless partner, and that dedicated parent, for granted.
2. Fear. This is what fuels all arguments in relationships. Fear of getting fucked over. Fear of a broken heart. Fear of discovering, after years of effort that it was all for naught. Fear of discovering that life really is a Meatloaf song: “I would do anything for love, but I wont do that.” What is THAT? I don’t think many of us know, but we’re still deathly afraid of *it* and we do just about anything to try preserve the peace. Fear that you can do something or have done something that will make them think less of you. Fear that he will realise that he deserves better, and goes out to find it. Fear that he finds it. Fear of being alone, and fear of being miserable together forever, because you were too scared that it would be the other way around. Fear of losing that person. That fear being the only kind of fear that actually makes you feel short of breath and panicky.
Fear. That’s what kills communication. Fear of the reaction or fear of the consequences. He has shown me that it’s possible to fear the consequences or the reaction, and do the right thing anyway. Fear is what should set you talking, and being afraid should automatically cause you to reach out to that person, even if it’s just for a hand to hold at night. Because nothing need be done alone, when you’re in a relationship.
Fear. Linked mostly to judgment. As in – their perception of you. The picture in their minds’ eye and the picture they carry on their heart. Fear of tarnishing that picture, even further than you already did, by being honest, in the first place. Fear of unsuccessfully juggling the task of not furthering the tarnishment, whilst still being faithful to the truth.
Fear. That’s what holds a small piece back, at all times. A small piece that judges every moment, instead of being fully immersed in the moment. Placing emphasis on shit that matters not, just so you know you will be left with a finger to point, or something to blame, when the shit actually hits the fan.
Regret. Opens the window for bitterness to sneak in. Regret opens the door to accusations and finger pointing. Regret leads to wishful behaviour and that kind of speculation is not constructive. It only serves to drive the pain deeper, allow its roots to take better hold. Bitterness ends in tears and leads right back to fear. Of being alone. Of having said too much, pushed too far, or been too uncompromising.
Regret. For the shitty behaviour from yesterday, ought to be the promise to be a better person tomorrow. Regret ought to be the commitment to keep trying. To make more effort, to fight the temptation to run. To resist the easy way out.
I’m still learning. Still learning, hard.