Friday, November 19, 2004

Relationships

Raye's Newsletter never fails to bring a smile to my face. And this week it has really made me think. Issue #7 discusses relationships.

How many times in the past while have you heard or thought:

"i'm too selfish and self-absorbed for a relationship"
"i'm too independent"
"i'm not good at them"
"i'm used to doing my own thing and other people just complicate that groove"

Raye asks: Are we getting too individualized as a culture? Is our quest for independence and autonomous success creating a trade-off that we can't possibly be happy with in the end?

I can relate, even though I am in a relationship. I wonder about my ability to give and be selfless. I wonder if this is why I'm not married. I wonder if our culture, which so highly values independence, has ruined that part of me that really wants to need another person to "complete me".

Reading Me to We, I have become more aware that we are such a ME-society. It's all about self-help, instead of helping each other. Are those that depend on others less happy? Statistically, the answer is no. So why do I loathe the idea of relying on others?

It's difficult to put trust in another human being. Unfortunately, I must have high expectations and I am easily disappointed. And I mean, you can't CONTROL what that person does. Inevitably, they don't do what I would do. They have different priorities, needs and goals. It seems easier to just go on my own merry way, doesn't it? Why bother making someone else feel like they're a failure for not living up to my exacting standards? Except that we persist with the idea that the "couple" is the ultimate happiness. Except when it isn't. When it doesn't work - when it isn't right - whatever that means - then it's the worst failure.

Sigh. I don't have the answers.
But I'm searching.
At least I know that others are, too.

(If you would like to be added to Raye's list of newsletter recipients, let me know and I'll pass on the info. Otherwise, feel free to post a comment here about the issue.)

4 comments:

Kat said...

I think when you become a "we" you think of yourself as more of a team. I know that there were definite changes in my relationship when I got married - that support system became so much deeper. Scott says that nothing changed for him, but I know it did for me. I now take him much more into consideration when I make decisions. I know that when either of us is going through a hard time that the first person we talk to is eachother. I think that when you find your best friend and your lover in the same person you have hit the jackpot. But that is just my experience, others make it work in different ways.

Cathy said...

I know that the first person I talk to when something sucks is Alex. And I already take him into consideration when I make choices.

But I know that if I don't do the things I really want to do, even if they are selfish, then I resent him for indirectly preventing me from doing it. And then I become embittered, much as I believe my mom is.

I don't want to saddle anyone with that. It's not fair.

But how do I stop wanting the selfish things?

Kat said...

Well, I'm not saying I don't sometimes wish I could put myself first - it's just that I look to find some sort of a middle ground that works for both of us. And of course I am sometimes sad that I can't have my way all the time (who doesn't like having their own way?). But I don't feel bitter about it...says me, the friggin' expert after just short of 3 months of marriage ;-)

Cathy said...

Mar wrote me a pretty interesting response to this:
"there's no one right relationship...all are different as we're all different too....we come from unique upbringings then try to put 2 together and say "make it work"...yeah right?! It can be tiring, exhausting at times to achieve the comfortable, happy place we want to be in."

That's what I want though. The comfortable, happy place.