“The Questions of Relationships”
By Erin Mann
Relationships in general are confusing. Whether you are 14 or 40, the emotional instability that accompanies physical attraction, intellectual camaraderie, sexual chemistry, and emotional connection blurs any sense of rationality and logic. The chase for butterflies in your stomach, the desperation for approval and acceptance, the rush of capturing what you want and claiming it as your own.That’s the beginning of every romantic relationship, from the initial meeting these games seem to begin. The questions swirl. The obsessive overanalyzing. Am I attractive enough? Funny enough? Smart enough? Cool enough? Popular enough? Talented enough?
That’s just night one. Whether it be in a club, at supermarket, or on dating site. The same predictable cat and mouse chase begins. But then what? What happens if you manage to get the phone number, or make it through the first date, or second without being put in the dreaded “Friend zone” or worst just another number on the list of one night stand conquests.WIll they call you? How about email? And how long before they do? Does that stupid 3 day rule still apply? Will they tell their friends about you? And if they do what are they saying? Do they like my hair better up or down? dressed up or in sweats? With or without makeup?
What if you make it through meeting their friends, meeting their family, become “facebook” official…..and then ….. marriage, kids, etc. etc etc.
What are the rules? Are there any? Should there be? And do people EVER really just accept the other for who they REALLY are? How many people actually hold onto their individual identity completely in a relationship? And should you even try?Isn’t part of being in a relationship compromise? But how much of who YOU are you willing to or should you compromise in a healthy balance? How much compromise is too much or not enough?
How much of your own personality, likes and dislikes, are you willing to camouflage to gain this person’s acceptance and interest. If you hate sci-fi are you willing to sit through a star wars marathon? If you don’t care for football do you spend money on a jersey and cheer for things you don’t really understand? Drink beer instead of wine?
As a writer, I have accepted and embraced the fact that I am and have to be an open book. I have revealed the skeletons in my closet for the most part, although in all honesty don’t we call just keep a few details or memories to ourselves? With that being said I am certainly no relationship expert. I have been married and divorced twice, have been in more than a handful of “serious” relationships that have more ups and downs than the Rocky Mountains, but I think that’s what has left me with all this insight and even more questions.
The go to answer is communication. I suppose if a couple can get on the same page with as many things as possible, things may have a better shot of running smoothly. BUT,, those of us that have not been blessed with the endurance that battling the differences creates, these are the things we are left with figuring out.
And even when both parties are willing to sit down and have those sometimes awkward and difficult conversations, how much action are we actually willing to put behind our words and promises. Will there ever be a point where one or the other stops feeling taken for granted when the “honeymoon stage” is over? Will there ever be a point where we stop expecting our partner to read our minds and just do what we want them to do without instruction, prompting or bribery? Will we ever stop feeling jaded, angry, hurt, unappreciated, unattractive, annoyed, passive aggressive, or just generally disappointed when they don’t. Will we bite our tongue to keep the peace, or voice or frustration in hopes we will survive the war that our partner’s defensiveness will wage on our expectations? I don’t have the answers to these questions. I doubt anyone does, at least that will fit every person and every relationship, if the they did that could author the rule book that we could all just reference and adhere to find that happy ending without enduring the hurdles of the incredible amount of time, intensity, understanding and compromise that any truly successful relationship contained in the years of struggled history. What I do know is this - Romance is real and it does exist, the answer I don’t have is how long it can last. I do know you can’t pretend to be something you aren’t forever, nor should you ever be expected to try. I do know that every human being feels things, whether they express them or not, but expression is the only way we can ever truly not feel alone in those feelings, I know that balance is possible, I just don’t know how easily it’s attained. In life, and with people - you will be loved, hated, liked, tolerated, made fun of, admired, hurt, happy, jealous, confident, insecure, lied to, trusted, looked up to and touch on some level. I also know the only way to even have a chance at love, success, fame, friendship, happiness, etc is to put yourself out there, over and over and over again, if necessary - because the happy endings happen, but only those who are willing to take the journey and risk in finding them, get them.