Life is like a box of chocolates most times you DO know what you are going to get. I have always believed that people make relationship choices based on the reality they have distorted in order to satisfied their own wants and desires. I understand the pressures of wanting to have a companion for life and the preverbal family ideals which consist of a loving spouse, kids, maybe an animal, house and a comfortable and happily-ever-after life.
For this terminally single gal, I have never had that image for myself; however, I sometimes run into a bombardment of relationship stuff. The funny thing is the outer shell for most relationships is in stark contrast to the reality. Maybe it has something to do with my field of work that sheds a harsh bright and less rosy light on the inner thinking and working of the happily-ever-after. Someone asked me if my experiences in behavioral health have affected my desire or approach to relationships. He did not finish the sentence before I said resoundingly “yes, absolutely.” I have loss the virgin eyes of this world and it is hard to go back to seeing things as ‘perfect’ when my 8hr days are filled with imperfection masked in ‘perfection.’
I am damaged goods. My perception of others, depending on the situation, is covered in distrust and suspicion. Each person has to prove his worthiness before being allowed into my inner sanctum. It is my choice to protect me until the intruder is identified as friendly. For most people, it’s the opposite – safe until proven dangerous. I haven’t afforded myself such a luxury because it’s against my world crafted nature. I am cynical when it comes to the idea of ‘”the one.” I think I have always been cynical since I was young. Despite growing up with married people around me, I had great anxiety about marriage and long term relationships. I believe that anxiety came from recognizing the role of self and the level of giving that is required in order to foster a healthy long lasting relationship. I can be absolutely selfish about my life which is not conducive to male-female long term bonding.
There is hope for me yet :-). In the last 5 years, I have soften my hardline approach to relationships. As I age, I become more and more confident with myself, understand the power of making choices and taking full acceptance of the outcome of those choices. I recognize that I have the power to change things that are not conducive to my physical, psychological, and emotional wellbeing (I am still working on the spiritual). I fully recognize the importance of taking care of me above everyone and everything else. With this change, the idea of choosing a mate has been bumped up 1-2 points from the bottom of my list.
Temptation is real. We all have different temptations when it comes to relationships. The temptation to hurry into a relationship; the temptation to stay in a bad relationship, the temptation to engage in a forbidden relationship, the temptation to compromise values, integrity and self-esteem/image, the temptation to delude ourselves etc. No matter the temptation we have the power of choice. You can quote the scripture that God will not give you more than you can bear but I disagree. We have broken people-emotionally and psychologically because we are given more than we can manage at times. The choice is to accept defeat, ask and accept help, learn and grow from our brokenness.
I never point to a couple and use them as my ‘relationship goal’ actually I never use anyone as a goal for myself. I know better and in my world, what I see and hear are more brokenness than contentment. I also know me very well and I am aware that what works for others does not always suit my fancy. Every choice I make has some varying degree of importance for me. It shapes me. Every choice I make about the people in my life has a huge impact. People – how they treat you and how you treat them – play a vital role. It is imperative that they are worthy of me and I of them. Sometimes someone may be good for us but we are bad for them which inevitability make for a disastrous union. When you know who are, then you know who/what you want in your life. You easily recognize the unhealthy and you put the trash to the curb.