Welcome to the world of real relationships. No matter how much you are in love, and how wonderful your partner is, there is usually an agenda – yours and theirs.
Agendas come with the best of intentions; to bring your mate to your way of thinking. After all, you’re doing them a favor; you’re showing them the light. God bless you.
I think the problem with most relationships these days is threefold. One: we expect too much. Two: We expect not to have to give too much. Three: There is pity little full disclosure.
Disclosure is key. I lived with my husband for three years before I married him. In all that time I never heard him fart. After we said “I do”, he never stopped. As it turned out, it was the least of the things he forgot to mention and as the years flew by, I longed for the days when that was the only thing I had to complain about. It all would have gone so much better if we both had just told each other the truth about our needs, limitations, abilities and expectations. Yup, disclosure is a biggie.
No matter how wonderful they are relationships can be a bitch.
Why do our partners try to mold and change us and why do we try to beat them to the punch? Whatever happened to: love me as I am?
I think it speaks to the basic relationship mantra: There’s nothing that can’t be improved upon (otherwise known as “my way is better”).
It all feels a little sneaky if you ask me. You tell me how wonderful I am, how much you love me and how much you respect me. The next thing I know, you’re teaching me how to close car doors, how to properly adjust the shower head, which phone I should buy, what car is better for me and what kind of art I should like. I thought I was adorable and irresistible and perfect for you. What the hell happened?
Of course I did help you discover that shirts come in colors other than blue and beige, that Polo shirts should not be tucked in, that pencil-head haircuts are not chic and that cheap dive restaurants in strip centers are NOT adventurous.
It all amounts to the perfect storm we playfully call love.
Change is good but I’ve rarely found it easy. Sharing your life with someone comes at a price. If you have the right person, the price is happily paid. If you don’t, you’re in for a world of hurt trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole.
I’m a flower child of the 60’s and 70’s. But I’m here to share with you that the Beetles had it wrong. Love is not all you need. Tolerance, understanding, loyalty, undying support, compromise and putting your significant other first are all required ingredients for a long lasting relationship. If you’re short on any of these, I’m betting it’s going to be a rough road.
And then there is the full disclosure. Not unlike ‘The Full Monty’, full disclosure can be a bit awkward. Fess up to who you really are, what you really want and what you are willing to give. If we all do that, maybe the divorce rate would go down from the current 51% of all marriages.
For the record, my disclosure is as follows: I love dogs, cats and children (mostly just my own). I am not a morning person, I love to read, eat in bed, watch sci-fi movies, nap in the afternoons and debate world affairs. I am fiercely loyal and expect the same. I am abundantly affectionate, I never fart in public but I can belch like a trucker. I rarely put the cap back on the toothpaste, I share deodorant and hairbrushes and I have been known to cuss but prefer that you don’t (the unfairness of that is ridiculous). I don’t do ‘cheap’, I hate coupons and I’m not a fan of returning items. I donate, I contribute and I support. I have my own opinions and I don’t appreciate being ridiculed for them. I have a hard time tolerating stupid but I play well with others. If I’m yours, I’ll stand by you until the end of time.
I’m not the best catch in the world, but I’m a damn good one (and clearly humble). I’ve been lucky to have found love a second time. As high school friends, Steven and I connected again after 40 years of living full lives.
Welding our lives and our habits along with our idiosyncrasies isn’t easy. Let’s just say that we make a very lively couple. Still, I find we try to change each other along the way. While the efforts lead to inevitable clashes, we seem to find a middle ground and settle in to new routines.
I figure that age gives us an advantage; we know a lot more now, having loved and lost before. I’m at a loss to understand why we keep trying to change those we love. Maybe it’s our quest for a perfect life of harmony.
Good luck with that!