I’ll be headed to prison today. Today is the last session for the current cycle. Little by little, I’m helping organize a powerful group of women.
I’ll be away all day and night. Here’s hoping your day teaches you something useful.
* * *
“Love isn’t a feeling, it’s an action.”
People experience that initial rush of neurochemicals as a powerful feeling. Powerful enough to make them want to help and support each other, to make each other happy, and create a family. However, this feeling of love is not enough to create the substance of relationships – the hard skills and personal qualities that are essential to maintain it and help it grow. There are personal qualities crucial for a healthy relationship: commitment, sensitivity, generosity, consideration, loyalty, responsibility, trustworthiness. There is the crucial need for cooperation and compromise, as well as following through with decisions. Couples need to be resilient, accepting, and forgiving (especially forgiving of themselves!). Couples need to be tolerant of each other’s flaws, mistakes, and idiosyncrasies.
As these skills and qualities are nurtured over time, the love develops into a mature love. That initial onslaught of overwhelming feelings bordering on insanity and obsession? That’s what is defined as immature love: a love that states, I love you because I need you. Mature love turns this on its head; a mature loves states: I need you because I love you.
You don not progress from immature love to mature love through feeling alone. It takes fuckin work! I find the notion of soulmate to be ridiculous – it’s the adult version of Santa Claus, as far as I’m concerned. But let’s take this myth as a given – just for arguments sake. I’m willing to bet that even if soulmates (and Santa Claus) existed, the vast majority of us have already kicked them to the curb! LOL!
Wake the fuck up!
The fact remains that most of us don’t know jack motherfuckin shit about how to make relationships work. A part of that is this buy-in into notions of soulmates and love at first sight as well as the horribly twisted depictions of romantic love. For me, what is depicted as romance in the popular media is a corruption that pals in comparison to the real thing.
People are usually good at dealing with individuals outside the relationship, but few enter into an intimate relationship with the basic skills that make a relationship flower and evolve. There is a total lack of know-how of how to make joint decisions and how to listen to their partners. While a couple can readily fix a leaky faucet, once the Love Boat springs a leak, they have no clue as to how to stop the sinking.
A committed relationship is different from any other relationship in life. When a committed couple live together, expectations emerge. The intensity of the relationship itself fuels the yearning for unconditional love, loyalty, and support. Oftentimes these yearnings have been dormant for a long time. Couples, directly or indirectly, through their actions or express vows, make a pledge to meet these needs. What happens in an intimate relationship is that whatever a partner does is endowed with meaning taken from these desires and needs.
Many of these need are deeply rooted in childhood conflicts and because the power of these feelings often make us attach deep, symbolic meaning to their partner’s actions. This leads to a lot of misinterpretation. Most often conflicts occur as a result of miscommunication and partners are quick to blame each other rather than perceive of the conflict as problem that can be solved. As is bound to happen in any healthy relationship, problems arise and multiply and eventually partners begin to lose sight of the positive qualities their lover represents and provides: someone to support them, enhance their experiences, and share this journey called life. Ultimately they begin to doubt the relationship and the motivation to see through the problems decreases. They lose out on the advantages of seeing conflicts as opportunities to unravel the knots of misunderstanding,
I’m a pretty much intelligent person. I don’t ay this to brag, I don’t think it’s anything to brag about, it’s a fact – I’m “smart.” I think anyone who knows me, sees this right off. In fact, I think one positive quality I bring to a relationship is this ability to stay focused and crafting a vision – a mission, if you will. When I approach an issue, I’m usually very thorough bringing to bear my foresight and ability to act in any given situation.
I say all this because the other day I was having a conversation with an ex and were discussing my current issue with my living arrangements. Now, sometimes – people please listen carefully here — sometimes, a person doesn’t want to hear solutions. It’s not that people don’t want to resolve a situation, it’s just that sometimes that’s not what a person needs to hear. Believe it or not, if I’ve been engaged in a particular situation for a substantial period of time, the last thing I need to hear from you are questions and/ or suggestions I have mulled months ago. I am not stupid! LOL!
People do this shit all the time!
Sometimes – people please pay attention here – sometimes, people are looking for genuine support, not necessarily fuckin solutions that your limited experience with the situation may bring up. The last thing I want is to hear your bullshit at this point in time. Be a fuckin friend, for once.
Of course, my ex proceeds to tick off a list of solutions, all of which I have gone through a million times on my own, thank you. I had to stop her. Sweetie? I think I’ve gone through all this; I really don’t want to go through it all over again because it’s a precious waste of time.
Yes, I like to be clear, folks. LOL!
This is what happened: she immediately attributed by disinclination to listen to her “solutions” to what she perceives as my stubbornness. I love this woman, but she has no clue as to who I am or how I work, which is sad considering we spent so many years together. In her mind, I am a certain way and it will forever keep her from knowing just exactly who I am.
When I hung up the phone, I breathed a sigh of relief, thanking the Universal Principle for the fact that we’re no longer together. I got a headache just talking to her! LOL!
I write this to highlight a common problem within relationships. It’s not that the communication itself is faulty, it’s the expectations and how when those expectations are frustrated, there is this tendency to jump to negative conclusions about the partner. This amounts to what I call mind reading: the frustrated partner jumps to making character judgments about the cause of the problem: He’s too pig-headed and arrogant to, listen to what I have to say. Gawd! I’m glad he’s not my husband any more!!
Love is never enough, people.