When I hear people talking about relationships, I often hear them describing how difficult they are. For me, though, while relationships can be challenging, scary, rough and tumble, I don’t think they are ever difficult. For me, a “difficult” relationship points to one that probably shouldn’t exist in the first place. Difficulty usually means that there is a great mismatch between the wants, needs and desires of both parties. When there are huge differences at this very low level it can be difficult, if not impossible to find common ground. In this case, I think it is better for people to go find a better fit for them. Sure, after years and years of struggle they might find a way to make the relationship work, but the odds are certainly not in their favor.
There can be many reasons for staying in a difficult relationship. We might feel stubborn about getting things our way and that stubbornness can cause us to invest more time than is probably justified simply to satisfy our own ego. We might think we can change someone if we just try hard enough. I am old to realize now that you can change someone else, you can only help them decide that the change is in their best interest. If the person can’t bring about the desired change in themselves, your best efforts will be frustrated. Finally, we can stay in difficult relationships because we simply want to believe too much. We will discount obvious evidence of a mismatch because we want — or need — the relationship to work. We don’t feel that we will ever find another person to share our life with ever again and so we have to make this relationship work, not matter what. We are trapped by our own need and desire to believe in something that might not be true.
Watching those around me engage in their relationships is an interesting way of analyzing my own. How comfortable are the people with one another? Do they always seem to be putting on a facade for the other person? Is it obvious that they want something very particular from the relationship that the other person is incapable or unable to deliver? I know I am surprised by how often I see these fundamental issues in the people around me. Even more amazing is how few people recognize these issues. Now matter how obvious they might be to outsiders, those embroiled in a relationship often have the worst perspective of what is happening. Remember this fact and look for these issues yourself, so you don’t end up trying to believe too much yourself.
For me, a relationship starts with comfort. It allows for periods of silence. It doesn’t require acting like someone you are not. It requires converstions both shallow and deep. It requires an underlying connection that allows all others parts of the relationship to flow. When you find this, you have a solid foundation for future growth, future interest, future love and, perhaps, a relationship that could be the most important in your life.
Previously on End of the Day:
- A “normal” Saturday – End of the Day for May 24, 2014
- Don’t feed the trolls – End of the Day for May 23, 2014
- When Opportunity Knocks – End of the Day for May 22, 2014
- A simple night – End of the Day for May 21, 2014
- What are your secrets? – End of the Day for May 20, 2014
- Did someone get the number of that bus? – End of the Day for May 19, 2014
- Communication and confidence – End of the Day for May 18, 2014
- Attention, Mindfulness and Code Words – End of the Day for May 17, 2014
- Not ready to retire…in any way! – End of the Day for May 16, 2014
- Partners, friends and humanity – End of the Day for May 15, 2014
- What to do? What to do? – End of the Day for May 14, 2014
- Il Piccolo Pisolino (A Little Nap) – End of the Day for May 12, 2014
- It’s the small things – End of the Day for May 11, 2014
- A day off, more or less – End of the Day for May 10, 2014
- The importance of stopping – End of the Day for May 9, 2014
- Expectations of change lead to disappointment – End of the Day for May 8, 2014
- Loneliness – End of the Day for May 7, 2014
- Some days are best when they are over – End of the Day for May 6, 2014
- Control your technology, life, work, don’t let it control you – End of the Day for May 5, 2014
- On tradition, ritual and the smaller moments of life – End of the Day for May 4, 2014
- Of boats and oceans and foxes – End of the Day for May 3, 2014
- Off to the islands again tomorrow – End of the Day for May 2, 2014
- End of the Day for April 2014
- End of the Day for March 2014
- End of the Day for February 2014
- End of the Day for January 2014