“I told my wife the other day. I have chronic immaturity, of which there is no cure. If I can live with it, so can you.”
Imagine if you can a story like this.
The person you married isn’t who you thought they were.
You were warned by friends and family not to marry them, but you did not heed their advice. You believed everything this person said and further believed your life would become better than it was after marrying them.
Then over a two-year period this person, who was married before, has brought up their ex more than a few times, and although they are considered a despicable human being by most people, your spouse has had nothing but nice things to say about them. In the meantime, your spouse has repeatedly put down your friends, many of who are good people. Said horrific things about minorities, and even mocked a handicap person. And, has acted in ways that even you have to admit are quite awful and bizarre, especially for a spouse.
Besides all of this. The person you somehow still love, decides to go see his ex, who he has seen before and always defends. And you look the other way, once again, even though this ex has been accused by your friends and family of affecting them and you in negative ways. You keep the faith, though. After all, this spouse has told you time and again about all the wonderful things they have done for you so far and what they promise to do for you in the future.
Now, however, your spouse is once again going to see his ex. He is still defending them. This time, though, it has become clear that they have harmed your friends and family, and you finally begin thinking something might be wrong here.
You begin to wise up and realize you cannot take it anymore. Not just the apparent love your spouse still has for their ex. But everything else that they have said and done.
You can now see there is something truly wrong with the person you married. You can finally see what friends and family have seen since the beginning. Your spouse is a lying, vile, narcissistic ass-wipe and cannot be trusted.
You want a divorce. But the only problem is that many lawyers and judges seem to like your spouse and have defended him on every occasion he has acted in ways unbefitting a loving, caring spouse.
You feel trapped and afraid. You’re thankful you don’t have children now. But sadly your friends and family do. And you fearfully ask yourself, “what now?”
I know this is only a story. But I’m sure that something like this it has happened at some level in people’s lives and it is quite scary to think about.
You want to hear something even scarier, though?
Imagine if this story was about a president we elected?
My wife and I are not always a happy couple—we have our share of disagreements. But we have been a couple for over 38 years now. Through ups and downs. Through sad times and good times. Our relationship has endured.
Not a perfect one. But a loving one.
People who truly know us, know we don’t pretend to be a perfect couple. We exist as a couple for many reasons, with the love I mentioned being one of them. But we also love our children and grandchildren. And we have certainly learned to love ourselves.
It is only when we love ourselves and become happy with who we are that we stand a chance at having a relationship where we don’t settle and simply try to make the best out of it. (Sadly, some couples do.)
Now a few may think my wife and I pretend to be a happy couple—a perfect couple. But again, those who truly know us, know we are both far from perfect and don’t claim our relationship is. We’re just two people who refused to give up during times when it seemed like we should have.
Two people who faced fears and insecurities, both alone and together, who endured as a couple and learned the secret to having a long-lasting and mostly happy relationship.
Not a Perfect one. But a loving one.
“Some people go through life believing a relationship will fulfill them. That all they need is to be with someone they love, who will love them in return, and they will finally be happy. I agree that a relationship is worth having. That to love someone and be loved back is a wonderful thing. However, it wasn’t until I learned to love myself that I became more fulfilled and happier in life. And it wasn’t until I learned to love myself unconditionally that I was able to love someone else the same way. It was then and only then that I stopped believing a relationship was what I needed to be happy. And learned how to have one.”
When we give our love and friendship to someone and receive little of the same in return, we can wonder if we’re doing something wrong or start believing they just don’t care that much about us. Either way, the lack of receiving something more has the power to hurt us and often does.
We can talk to them about it and hope the relationship improves, but sometimes it’s simply a case of expecting more out of someone than they’re capable of. It’s this reality that should prompt us to reevaluate the relationship and decide if an unequal friendship is worth having.
I know it can be hard to distance ourselves from people we love and I’m not suggesting we should give up easily on our relationships with them. But there needs to come a time when we realize we’re hurting ourselves more than they are, and love ourselves enough to end any emotional pain we feel.
“When a relationship becomes more like work than it does an intimate connection we need to ask ourselves. Do I really want the job?”