I fancy myself a people watcher. I observe and listen well.
As I sojourn through life via varying social events and mediums, I encounter individuals across all racial, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. No matter the age, sex, or sexual orientation, there is a one consistent shared fiber that runs through this colorful tapestry: relationship “issues.”
One recurring problem that is always like the pink elephant in the room is the misconception of what a relationship really is–what a healthy, thriving relationship consists of. Here is the summation of what years of my experiences have yielded. I won’t redundantly spew out all of the cookie cutter issues such as trust, honesty, and communication. Rather, I’d like to zero in on three “off the beaten path” topics that are rarely discussed and grossly overlooked.
#1–Relationships are based upon how people relate. I know it sounds so elementary that it borders on remedial, but so many people seem to not understand this very simplistic concept. People come to the table with these predetermined, textbook definitions of what our ideal mate should be like. Then, we meet a person whose resume includes somewhere between 75-85% of what we’re looking for. Next thing you do is add water and shake and we’re in a relationship.
Really??!!? Nevermind that Prince Charming is totally brain dead to the fact that you’re uncomfortable at large social gatherings and that you internalize your pain. Cinderella is an awesome trophy wife, but do you understand that her happiness is totally attached to tangible matter and her love is only earned by what you provide? Fast forward five years, and this perfect match is one of three places: 1) Divorced, 2) Cheating, or 3) Coexisting in misery.
“Why?” you ask. Because they knew of and about one another but never took the time to truly know and learn to relate to each other. Having relationships minus active relating is a silent killer in bedrooms throughout our society.
#2–Another major obstacle that we rarely discuss is fear. Fear can manifest itself in relationships in many ways. We don’t speak up out of fear of being misunderstood. We’re afraid our significant other is cheating, so we become insecure and irrational. We stay in abusive situations because we’re afraid to leave (never quite understood that one, but it happens). We’re afraid to be alone, so we settle for less. We’re afraid of being hurt, so we hide our emotions. We’re afraid to deal with the truth, so we live a lie. One thing my granny always told me was if you let fear stop you, you’ll never know what could be. A great litmus test to determine if the love is real is the absence of fear. If you know it’s love, you should know no fear.
#3–The final point I’d like to touch on is unity…actually, the lack thereof. I don’t know about any if you, but in this ultra modern, microwave age of over connectedness and instant gratification, I find selfishness in an increasing number of people. Everyone is on their own thing and “I gotta get mine” has become the universal hall pass to disrespect and disregard anyone, including but not limited to our mates.
Once upon a time couples, moved in unison. I don’t know how or when it became popular for everyone to have their own agendas, but I know this mindset contributes to the downward spiral of many relationships. People (couples) use to plan, execute, and celebrate together but it seems like that’s as out of style as high top fades, neon colors, and polka dots!
It seems as if one can’t see a direct payout for self then they don’t value the importance of being in agreement with your life PARTNER!! If we’re sharing our space, our family, and years of our time we must learn one another’s rhythm and select a beat we can both boogie to. The relationship is not about you or me; it’s about you AND me…we’re an us!
Moving forward, before you categorize your situation as an actual relationship, be sure you 1) can relate to the life experiences of the person in question, 2) have no fear or reservations that will stagnate your growth together, and 3) find multiple areas of like thinking so that you are able to walk together harmoniously.
Best of luck in life and love to all!!
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