Lord knows I’m not perfect. I know it, and many others know it. You, my readers, know it, because I almost go out of my way to write about the dumb things I’ve done just as much as I write about the dumb things that others do.
I’m currently engaged to a wonderful man, but as wonderful as he is, I know my own imperfections, and I can’t help but think that something’s going to go wrong because, as emo as this sounds, something usually does go wrong.
That something is sometimes my fault.
And you know what could prevent that something from happening?
Go ahead and guess. I’ll wait. I’ve already given you the answer. Look up.
That’s right. TALKING. Novel concept, yes?
Part of the reason I’m engaged to JB (aside from his wonderful attributes and the fact that we absolutely adore one another – gag, I know) is because I can talk to him, and he to me. If something is bothering us, we bring it up. The other listens, responds, and if there’s a problem to be worked out, we do our best to address it as it comes so that it won’t get blown out of proportion later.
In my family, we’re not big talkers. We’re passive-aggressive, and we like to do things behind others’ backs, because while it may not fix the problem, it makes us feel better for a short time, and we’re selfish people.
This has led to several emotional affairs on my part, and actually helped contribute to the situation where I was raped. No, I’m not playing the victim-at-fault on that one…I just know that playing hooky from work to go off with someone who, frankly, I shouldn’t have even been talking to in the first place helped lead to a problem that was bad enough for my brain to suppress it for 3 years.
My first engagement ended because I never talked to him about what was bothering me, instead preferring to take comfort in food and booze and people who were close to my location (we lived in separate cities at the time, which didn’t help matters any).
I was involved in a long-term relationship that had many fits and starts in it because neither of us could talk to each other. Frankly, we weren’t that great for each other (we were “cute” together, but that was about the extent of it), but we might have found that out sooner had we actually interacted with each other in a meaningful way rather than merely existing in each others’ presence.
My current relationship snuck up on me. We were casual friends, then good friends, then best friends, and the next thing I knew, I’m wearing a diamond ring and making wedding plans. Nothing feels different about our relationship – I still think of JB as a great friend, but one that I’m actually committing myself to for the rest of our lives. I never in a million years thought that I would take that plunge.
And the secret? Is that we have no secrets. He does things that I don’t like, and I do things that he doesn’t like, but neither of us does them behind the other one’s back. If it’s something that’s truly problematic, we discuss it and find compromises. This has worked extraordinarily well for the past year, and has allowed us to become comfortable enough around one another to call each other on bullshit and laugh at ourselves with each other. It’s a good system.
Perhaps it was all of the bad relationships I’ve been through that have made this possible.
Perhaps this is a fluke.
But I don’t think so.
I think that being avoidant and passive-aggressive seems to just be easier for some people, when in fact it’s more difficult. I speak from personal experience.
There’s absolutely no reason to engage in any romantic activity outside of your current relationship (unless that’s something that gets the two of you off, in which case my message of communication is the same, just, uh, modified slightly). There’s no need to let problems simmer. Sooner or later the lid’s going to blow off, and you’re going to be left with a ruined dinner and no one to help you clean up.
If you’re unfulfilled in your current relationship, you hold half of the blame. Yes, YOU.
Relationships are a two-way street, good or bad.
And staying in a situation when you’re not happy while seeking pleasure elsewhere isn’t making anything better for anyone. Not for you, your SO, nor the person forming the third point in your triangle.
If you’re reading this and wondering if I’m talking about you, you should probably be talking to your SO instead.
We wonder why so many marriages end in divorce these days, and everyone wants to blame everything else in the world, when in fact that problem is this: too many people seek instant gratification. You want to get married right then? Okay, do it. Oh, you’re not happy any more? Okay, get divorced. In-between there were probably a million other harbingers of doom that occurred, but you’re too wrapped up in your own existence and happiness to notice.
Number One comes first, but in a marriage, you’re both Number One, and every single decision you make reflects on your spouse. EVERY. SINGLE. DECISION.
I’ve seen too many relationships and marriages get fucked up because of neuroses and lack of communication. I’ve experienced a few. I hate to see it happen again just because someone’s being stupid and selfish. Don’t let that person be you.