Recent Insights: May 2000

Updated: Monday, May 22, 2000

Endings. My six month relationship has ended. From this journey, I have learned many things about myself and about relationship.

1. The Yeas and the Nays. Within myself, and I suspect I'm not alone in this, there are the parts of me -- the Yeas -- that root for the relationship that I'm in, to a fault. I focus only on the joys, the blessings of the relationship, and the positive features of my partner and ignore or minimize the messages from the Nays -- the parts of me that see warning signs, incompatibilities, unacceptable patterns in the interaction or in the other person.

This favoring of the Yeas and silencing of the Nays has many consequences. For one, in being primarily kind, generous, and affirming towards my partner, I didn't keep her apprised often enough of what wasn't working for me, and left her believing that things were generally fine on my side, even when they weren't.

In "cutting my partner too much slack", I was also abdicating the responsibility to keep the relationship in shape, and giving far more than I was being given to.

By not calling out the upsetting pattern(s) so that we could face them and deal with them, I also built up inner tension, which later gave rise to periods of my feeling marked discontent with the relationship.

I kept more present in this relationship than prior ones, but still didn't want to fully face and deal with the patterns that were telling me, from the start, that this relationship could not last. I understand this, and am compassionate towards my need to be loved, but now realize that I need to be even more present and authentic in the future.

2. Listening to the Nays. Since all people have sides that are wonderful, and sides that are more challenging, I need to see the whole person all of the time, instead of focusing only on the their best sides.

This requires that I listen to both my Yays and my Nays in proper balance. That I integrate both sides of myself, so that I can be in touch with all of my feelings more continuously.

3. Expecting Improvement. When my relationship started, I saw patterns in my partner that I convinced myself were the result of the stress that she was under, and that with my loving care, things would change for the better.

In fact, as she responded to my care, the patterns -- if anything -- increased. Again, I realize the need to take the person as they are and not to attempt to heal them into major change.

4. Gratitude. Even though I am no longer in this relationship, I am very grateful for the journey. I realize that I had the opportunity to learn, to experience deep joys and sorrows, and to practice kindness. If given the chance to do it over again, I definitely would.

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