Relationships are not without challenges.
We will inevitably feel hurt or uncomfortable at some point in all relationships.
Relationships require a tolerance for messiness, imperfection and discomfort.
Perfectionism is not a plausible concept in relationships.
Partners will disagree.
Some topics will be irreconcilable.
Our ability to tolerate this is the key to beginning and maintaining relationships.
It is not essential to see eye to eye on every topic.
We do not both need to like heavy metal music.
We do not both need to like walking at the weekends.
Love doesn’t give a damn about hobbies.
As long as you can be in the same place enough, and hold kindness in your hearts for each other that’s the basics sorted.
That’s not idealistic.
It’s impossible to find your mirror image.
If you need to stipulate what your partner should be like, down to the greatest detail, it’s more about looking at all the fences you have erected around your own heart.
I also want to be clear
that when I talk about tolerating pain or differences,
I’m not talking about being in abusive relationships or settling.
No. No. NO.
Seeking fulfilling and loving relationships is essential.
Although for some of us, we need to learn to discern the humanness from the abusive. And we need to get truthful about how unrealistic expectations can sabotage our chance of having/maintaining a relationship.
If we have ever experienced an abusive relationships it is likely, and entirely understandable, that we are going to be resistant to the idea that at some point most relationships contain challenges.
It can be because we’re now so sharply focused on maintaining only healthy and loving relationships, that we find it hard to experience pain in a relationship without an internal warning siren going off.
It is essential, however, that if we want to have relationships, that we are able to firmly hold the belief that we’re worthy of loving relationships whilst also having enough flexibility to accept that we will feel hurt at times in the relationship, and that this is not always because the other person is abusive.
I feel impassioned to write about this because there are a spate of articles at the moment that tempt us be lazy in the way we think about relationships, i.e. that if we feel hurt or experience difficultly it is all the other persons fault.
These articles talk about the narcissist and the co-dependent. The object of this blame, as you’ve probably guessed it, is the narcissist, whilst the codependent gets off scot free. That’s confusing, because they are both distorted ways of relating.
This both worries and angers me. These articles perpetuate shallow thinking. Thinking that gets us no where.
If someone hurts us, and we simply pick up the narcissist label, or reach for any kind of blaming, we have not given the matter any introspection or depth. We have safety deposited the problem OUT THERE. It is the equivalent of swiping left on tinder.
We have also denied ourselves the opportunity to grow.
We may find in very rare cases this really is the reality, and that they are indeed a narcissist.
However according to the largest study ever conducted on personality disorders by the U.S. National Institutes of Health 6.2% of the population has narcissistic personality disorder.
Like I said, it’s rare.
If we go along with this kind of thinking we’ve lost the opportunity to learn how our behaviour has created the current relationship dynamic that we are unhappy with.
If we expect all our relationships to be without challenges, and end up immediately dodging those that are, we also end up denying ourselves one of the richest and most rewarding experiences of our life.