Wednesday, August 28, 2013

When love falls apart

My dear friend, C, has faced a lot worse relationships than I have, physical beatings as well as emotional destruction. I admire her for still being a loving, growing, beautiful woman after all she has been through. It would make sense to be bitter, and she isn't.

About a year ago, she reconnected with her childhood sweetheart. Everything was wonderful. After multiple abusive marriages, she thought she had finally found someone who accepted her for herself and was willing to walk beside her through life. She was so happy.

I began to feel that maybe loving again wasn't so unrealistic. After all, C and N were doing great together. Maybe you just need to know each other really well? I thought.

They got married ... and now only a few months in ... its already over. She wasn't who he thought she was when he married her. He wasn't willing to work it out with her even though she desperately wanted to go in for counselling.

I'm not idealistic enough to think only one of them had issues. They both went in with preexisting wounds that would cause sensitivity to things that might otherwise have been tolerable. I do wish he had at least tried to work it through instead of running. They might have managed to heal together and support each other with some effort.

Now they are separating. I don't know enough about their relationship to understand why ... but I do know this.

I'm afraid of living that story. It affects how I think of Hawk. And I'm very, very thankful that we are merely friends right now, because if we were dating I'd pull back because of what C is going through. I feel wary.

How can anyone know?

Sometimes those relationships work out. I've met couples that only knew each other for a few weeks before getting engaged ... or who reconnected after years of separation. They have strong and mutually supportive relationships, somehow. So I don't think the problem is universal, or perhaps it is?

Maybe, instead, one might say that most people don't know or implement the solutions to our common relational problems. If only one is willing to try, it isn't going to be enough. A relationship needs both people.

Every individual brings their past into every present interaction. And when you have two people who have been hurt, it's going to cause problems even if they both choose to heal no matter what the other person does.

No one person can take the full burden of being "the one who heals" the other.

And there isn't anyone who is capable of being in a close relationship without hurting the other person at some point, even if they never intend to do so. Everyone is different, and that comes with misunderstandings.

It's worth thinking about, next time.  How do you heal a relationship before it falls apart?

I don't know ... but I do have some observations from the perspective of one who has been on the receiving end of a whole lot of problematic "solutions" that caused more problems than they solved. And I know what helped me to heal enough to open my heart.