For all my talk in my posts about relationships being my Achilles’ heel… I actually have quite a good relationship with myself… and I am in a stable relationship with another human being. Did you just gasp and wonder who the sacrificial lamb is?
I’ve been in this relationship for just over fifteen years, don’t ask me for an exact date… my partner has given up hoping I’ll remember (btw, my partner wants you to know it’s just over sixteen years)… my brain does not do time very well. If I say – the other day – it could mean yesterday, the day before, last week, or several years ago.
For some, fifteen years (sixteen years) is a long time for a relationship, for others it’s short. For me, it’s long and short. I am looking forward to fifteen (sixteen) more years, and I can’t believe it lasted this long because it has been a very bumpy ride. Thing is, during all the bumps, never once did either of us ever actually think that splitting up was a solution to our problems. Sure we thought about it, but it was the kind of thought that pops into the mind when your partner has pushed all your buttons and lead you to the edge of a cliff, demanding that you jump to prove that you love them. You look over the edge at the sharp rocks far below and know there is no way in hell you are going to jump, so maybe splitting up is an option. But there are always other options.
We’ve been through a lot together. We know how each other’s fart smells, and we accept that farting is a part of our togetherness. There are worse smells in this world. There is a town close to where we live which smells of sewage, because there is a sewage plant there. And there is always a handy incense stick around, so if it gets sulphurous, it can be mixed with nag champa. We know what the other person is like when they are ill, and how the non-ill partner behaves under duress of dealing with a sick person. My partner had to empty bottles full of my pee when I was confined to a bed for a while. That’s love, not that airy fairy stuff of roses, diamonds, and trips to Paris. Those are nice, but the nitty gritty of a relationship lies within the day to day.
I don’t talk about my partner that much in my posts. It’s a privacy thing. However he has had an enormous effect on my life. He has accepted me in a way that even I couldn’t do until he showed me how to do it. And I have repaid the favour in kind (he looked very dubious about this, his sense of humour is one of the things I adore. Pretty sure he was joking there). That is also an integral part of relationships, there is always an element of teacher/pupil with both of you switching roles.
After the honeymoon period and the first flush of love wears off, there are many other phase you pass through. Some difficult, some beautiful. Some positive, some negative. All of them as important and meaningful to each person individually and as a couple.
And this is why I am writing this, because I see a lot of quotes on the internet advising people to ditch others just because the other person isn’t being an ultra positive cheerleader. Now I know we live in a consumerist society, but people are not disposable. Sure there are some people who are best avoided, but if you start dumping everyone who says anything negative, who makes you feel less than positive… that just seems wrong. We all are a mix of both negative and positive, sometimes we lean towards one more than the other, and if people only want us around when we are positive, and abandon us when we are negative, how are we ever going be whole. How will we ever learn to accept all of us, how can we embrace that other very popular quote trend which encourages us to be ourselves… you can’t be yourself if only the positive side of you is allowed to express itself.
Dumping people because they are negative seems like a very negative thing to do, just like hoping karma kicks someone’s ass because they were mean to you, perhaps they were mean to you because karma was kicking your ass.
Respect is a vital part of any relationship, whether it is with yourself or another. People are not things, to be tossed aside when no longer needed or when broken. People are also not there to be who you want them to be, to serve you and your needs, they are living breathing humans just like you, and just like you they have needs, and desires… one of those is to be respected as an equal.
Respect is a key element in my relationship with my partner. If we go through a rough patch, that respect holds us together. He is with me because he chooses to be, and vice versa. We are not in Stockholm Syndrome love. We are free to leave at any time, we stay together because we enjoy being in the relationship.
I read this to my partner before posting it.