Relationships / passion
Couples often celebrate their relationships in public. They know it's only politically correct to mention all the good stuff or risk looking like an indiscriminate moaner. Look at how well-loved I am! Look how happy we are! I got it all! Wwweeee, let's ride off into the sunset together under a rainbow bridge!
Talking about love can quickly become a field of land mines buried under all kinds of insecurities. Between the societal pressure of women "being nice" and the need to be a superwoman, the bubbly shiny woman is the safest. This is practiced not just in public but between private groups of friends where the same pressures abound. While there is a certain amount of genuine celebration in doing so, it creates an often unachievable narrative for others. The problem comes in when women buy into it and yearn the good stuff without the awareness that it isn't the full story.
Kill The Messenger Syndrome
It's true that most women are looking for comfort when they tell their sisters about a romantic crisis. Our default responses are "You're too good for him", "You deserve better", we jump up to defend our sisters out of loyalty. This serves its purpose of temporary comfort but doesn't provide much in terms of self-awareness or awareness of their partner.
I'm not talking about a casual vent or 2 about minor misunderstandings. I'm talking about the chronic issues that lead to a diminished sense of wellbeing.
We want to escape what I call the Kill The Messenger Syndrome where well-intentional suggestions are taken as lack of kindness and trigger a highly defensive response from an utterly blinded woman. You know what I mean, that girl whose boyfriend treats her like dirt and she is in massive self-denial. Anyone who has been at the end of this, knows it's no fun.
More To Love
There is more to love in a marriage. It's often not so clearly laid out, it's all mixed up in a bundle. You see bits and pieces here and there. There's passion, friendship, attachment, companionship and much more. Deepak Chopra describes it best in The Path To Love. He writes about how attachment is within 2 people when you are tied together in a mutually benecifical way. True love is when you connect on a level above 2 selves and are inspired to share it outside of the inner circle. This is what we commonly call unconditional love where we expect romantic love to reside. Look around you and you will understand that not many move pass the infatuation or attachment phase into constant unconditional love. There are times you can't stand the sight of each other, there are times you feel exhausted and there are times you are present. To expect so much of romantic love is a recipe for disappointment.
Meeting The One is A Luxury
What if you don't meet The One in this lifetime? Anyone who even dare to suggest this will have to deal with narrowed dagger squints, along with screams of being negative. You come dangerously close to Thou Who Should Not Be Named and die by the wand of fake optimism.
The idea of The One is set up to fail anyway. For the sake of discussion, let's say the usual timeline of getting to know each other is 4 months, being in the infatuation phase for 2 years and then 2 more years to really know someone, that is 4.4 years in total. All this is to be done within our optimal childbearing years of 20-35, that is a span of 15 years. So you will have to decide between approximately 3.5 relationships, who is The One.
Come on! Have a relationship that spans across 2 out of the 3 and you are pretty much a goner. This is not factoring in time spent dating casually, healing or couple time in a marriage before kids. Or juggling a career and knowing yourself enough to know what truly matters to you. Even with the most emotionally healthy person, relationship is mostly experiential. You have to take a leap into the unknown to gain experience and decide along the way what is important for you. So if you have had some misses, be gentle with yourself, everyone has been there. We all live and learn.
Settling Isn't An Ugly Word
In the hearts of many, settling is where romance comes to die, the evil twin of compromise. The romantics are adamant that it doesn't happen, the realists are nodding silently in a corner. I don't think there's anything wrong with settling. The women who do settle, do it knowingly. It's not that they chose absolutely unsuitable partners or are unusually desperate. But rather that they understand at some point that holding out for The One stands in the way of a possibly great Mr. Right Now. They understand just how deeply ingrained the romantic fairytale is in them and how different reality is. At some point, settling seems a far better option than exhaustive dating or repeated disappointment.
They know that much of what makes a marriage is a learned skill, such as effective communication, conflict resolution and awareness. They know that someone with integrity and values trumps someone who is attractive and passionate any day. The looks and passion will fade, integrity and values will make life much easier. Even then, many married couples often stay together for many reasons outside of a relationship, it could be the kids, it could be familiarity, it could be fear of moving on. It's not surprising, it's human.
To love, light and peace,
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A recent conversation with a friend left me feeling unsettled. She spoke about how she was judged and subsequently rejected by a guy for coming from a divorced family. He didn't give them a chance to get to know each other better. Said guy comes from a privileged family and is rather sheltered. She's disappointed because she sensed that they had a unique connection. When he heard the word divorce, automatically, he said, "too much baggage."
I told her this.
Good riddance, I would ask you to reconsider even if he did choose you.
To judge her for the choices her parents make, reeks of immaturity. Families fall apart for many reasons, as a child she had no say in it. It was unfortunate that she witnessed their quarrels and had to deal with conflicted emotions as a child. She has since addressed them and have worked through it. Only unaddressed issues continue to affect someone, why is that so hard to understand? She always knew those were negative examples and didn't buy into them for a moment. There are indeed children like her who take the opposite path precisely because she knew how hurtful those moments can be.
The thing is, she has been tried and tested. Just like glass that goes through fire in the hands of the maker, it becomes a work of art. This fire primed to destroy also made her wise beyond her years, this spirit of resilience and strength has seen her through many other fires in other areas of her life. As a result she became the parent she never had. A caring, understanding person with grit.
As for him, I am unsure if he can hold it together when things fall apart. We don't know what the future holds and finding a partner to brave the storm together is an essential. It's easy to enjoy the good times, who doesn't know how?
It's those times when the going gets tough and you will still need to show up that you will know what someone is made of. Those are the times that will seal the bond between 2 people. Those are the times when you can grab her hand, wave them in the air and say we made it! We made it together! Now, we celebrate!
So Sisters, the next time someone judge you for your family, remember this, it is a reflection of someone's inability to show empathy for choices beyond your control. Why would you want someone like that?
You tell that Hairy Porter to carry his own baggage and get out of here ASAP.
I know you don't trust love now. Love has betrayed you. Love has abandoned you. Love has hurt you. Love has left you.
One little step, day after day. One foot after another. You will heal. Sometimes you take 2 step forwards and 1 step back. It's OK. Life isn't meant to be linear, the same goes for healing. We stop and we start again. We fall and we get back up again. The important part is getting back up again.