The Relationship Conundrum

As with anything, relationships always have room for improvement.  Some things work and others do not.  All relationships have good points and not-so-good points.  But sometimes the line between those points gets blurred.  And instead of it being some organic thing that evolves and changes, the relationship becomes a thing of complacency.  Stagnant.  Moribund.

And no one says anything about it.  And yet, some people think that is doing something.  The truth of it is the parties in a relationship like that are neglectful.  They are uncaring and lazy.  Leaving it there in an undesirable state allowing it to slowly die.

And when it dies, will someone call out the time of death?

Does refusing to do so mean death never actually comes?

We all approach relationships differently.  And that, my friends, is why they are all different.  That is why there is no recipe for success when it comes to relationships.  Sure, there are some good foundation-building tricks of the trade, like honesty, communication, love, respect.  But that’s all a bunch of flowery bull shit if you aren’t actually prepared or willing to put in the work to maintain that foundation.  Those beginning bricks, while tough enough to build upon, require nurturing and support.

Or they will one day crumble.

Stranger Relationships

People are tricky creatures.  Hard to figure out.  The very nature of human beings causes them to be unpredictable and surprising.  Partly due to our emotions.

Maybe it’s the thumbs?

Whatever it is that makes us so also causes us to be unreliable.  We human beings are very inconsistent too.

Some people over-share.  Whether they mean to or not is debatable (and likely, something to be determined on a case by case basis).  When I first meet someone I am not inclined to tell them my life story or shocking personal details.  But quite a few people are.  It is something I have noticed now that I am working again.  I forgot how odd and giving of their personal information people can be.

I didn’t need to know that your husband doesn’t clip his toe nails while I sell you a winter jacket…

Perhaps, some people are more giving to strangers because therein lies the notion that there will not be future interactions.  Could that be the allure of online chats and such? Perhaps, it is harder to be honest with people you actually, physically see all the time.  Maybe that is harder because you will be held accountable.  And likely, rightfully so.

Line Drawing

We all have boundaries.  Unfortunately, not all of us know what they are.  And because of that, we struggle to maintain them.  We struggle to tell others what those boundaries are and when they are being pushed.  If we do not know, recognize and adhere to what our own limitations are it is unfair to assume others will.  Especially if we have not communicated where the line is.

People get comfortable.  A relationship will never be the finished piece of art people like to think it is.  Or want it to be.  A lot of folk find someone who “gets” them or “lets” them be themselves and then they stop.  It isn’t that I don’t understand why people do this.  In fact, as I said above, we human beings are lazily natured.  I figure that’s all the explanation necessary but what I struggle with is how we arrived at the notion a relationship doesn’t require work.

Most artists (being one I feel comfortable expounding) do not throw a few lines on a page or splash some paint on a canvass and call it a day.  Some can.  But most do not.  There is often a lot of planning, sketching, etc. that goes in to a singular piece of art.  I have pieces sitting down in my studio that are from years ago.  Sometimes I will scoot down there and rework them or work on them when I feel inspired.  Sometimes they sit there for…years.  And, if I decide that I cannot complete the work or if I lose my inspiration or change my direction, I erase the drawing or paint over the picture.

As a rough sketch becomes a plan then a sketch and then a painting it goes through changes.  Many sometimes.  And so do relationships.  We need to remember that.  There will always be work to be done.  And sometimes it will be a lot of work.  Other times so little it is barely noticeable.  Like customary maintenance.

A conundrum by any other name…

No relationship is perfect.  All relationships experience problems.  And anyone foolish enough to deny that fact is…well…foolish.  Not all difficulties rise to the surface.  Not all troubles are obvious.  Sometimes the issues are so well hidden it would appear as if they are not there at all.

My husband reads my blog.  He will probably click the old LIKE button down at the bottom of this post.  A sign of support.

But we have problems too.  We have had financial troubles (on several occasions).  We lived with my mother-in-law for several years and that was not easy.  We have both been through various jobs during our time together (not to mention, when we met we were both in school).  And we have been through A LOT of health related things.  Right now, we are in a period of transition.

I was on the verge of twenty-two when hubby and I got together.  Now into my thirties it is fair to say that I have changed.  Though to say I have done so dramatically would be wrong.  I am the same person but life and experience have shifted my focus.  Changes in life should change us as people.  From those changes we can experience and perspective.  That alters you.

Hubby and I have decided to reassess our relationship.  There is no doubt that we love each other.  We just want to make sure that we are doing it healthily.  Properly.  Because I do not think we are loving each other right.  Right now.  I think we can do a lot better.  A LOT better.  I know that I am always honest with him.  Almost.  I am not very good at hiding how I feel and I am the world’s worse liar so hubby is always aware of where I am.  But recently I had to let him in on a little secret I had been keeping from him.  And that secret (now no longer a secret) is that I want out…unless there are some serious and dramatic changes.

The Winds of Change

I hope this time hubby takes the bait and changes.  I really do not want to flip the kill switch on our relationship.  But I also want (and need) to be happy.

Neither of us is a perfect person.  Hence our imperfect relationship.  But one of us is working harder than the other and that is no kind of equal partnership.  Like the one we discussed working towards…way back when before we were married.  Since I had never been one to want to get married, I insisted we have a very open and brass tacks kind of pre-marriage chat.  Laid it all out.  On the table.

We had another chat like that this weekend.  Our little one was with my parents so there was the freedom to discuss things in the absence of tiny (and always listening) ears.  I think a few things got sorted.  Unfortunately, time and action will prove if they really did.

Sometimes the weather changes without warning.  Sometimes the weather we get is not the forecast that was predicted.  And sometimes that is okay.  Because it allows to see what we are made of.  What we can handle.  Sometimes it is a test to see how prepared we really are.  And sometimes, well, the weather just fucking sucks.

But every storm passes.  Every dark cloud dissipates.  Eventually.  Giving way to sunshine.

15 thoughts on “The Relationship Conundrum

  1. I liked your call for action at the start of this post. It’s true that people are lazy in their relationships and would rather watch theirs die than do something about it.
    Life does change us but there’s another type of change which is intentional and purposeful. It’s not just a change in behavior but a fundamental change of mind in spite of life’s circumstances. It’s incredibly difficult and this is, I think, what you are asking your husband to do, or the marriage is over.
    What if he could change but it required 90% your effort for 1 year. Would it still be worth it? Or are you wanting to contribute 50/50 toward his change, or for him to just do it?

    • Our situation is one of a evolutionary nature. However, sadly, he has remained in one place for a few years now.
      I have given over 100% these last few years (and he would agree, I think) and simply cannot give that much anymore.
      Why should or would I give more of myself towards his change than he is? I find your comment slightly confusing.

      • My wife openly agrees that for the first years of our marriage I was putting 100% of the effort in. There was no effort or change on her part and life was very difficult. But I learned about the changes that really needed to take place, deep rooted issues and worked on them. First glimmers of hope, then some motivation on her part, then changes started. Now she is the same person but 1000% a better version and she knows it and we love it. Now we work on change as a team and I’m just starting to blog about it.

      • Good for you guys. That is really lovely. I am glad that you work together. You are very fortunate.

        I take my marriage very seriously. I do not believe that a love shared between two people is enough to build a successful life or relationship. And my husband knows that. I look forward to him reading this post. And the comments.

        Thank you, for taking the time. 🙂

      • Thanks for being open minded on such a personal front. One last thought(x2!): My wife was emphatically against changing and would never have done so if I’d just asked her to. She also wouldn’t have known how to unless someone had coached her step-by-step through the process, largely against her will at the time. It’s a different story for us now but I think to some extent both of those points apply to your husband too. Wish you well. John

  2. Hey, RR. Sorry to hear that you are at a crossroads. Sorry in the “oh man, this is gonna hurt” way. But also, I’m glad to hear that you are seeking change, growth. I wish you both well.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • Thanks Maggie. Like my mom said, no one said marriage (or relationships) is easy.
      My mission in life is change and growth…and I once had someone walking beside me, holding my hand and experiencing with me…but a few years ago that hand slipped away. I am hopeful it will return.
      Cheers (as always) Maggie.

  3. Your strength comes through and will stand you in good stead, whichever way this goes.

    You are so right that love isn’t enough. Fang and I loved each other. I still love him. That doesn’t make a relationship.

    Love doesn’t negotiate the needs of a couple trying to share a living space.

    Who cleans, not just dishes, and counter swiping, but actually cleans so that surfaces are safe–esp. with a child in the house? Who does the toilet, not just inside, but outside, and on the floor around–as often as needed? The front of the vanity? The tub ring? Who does the same with the stove top? The burners and knobs? The refrigerator shelves and door handles? Light switchplates? UNDER the beds? Who does the laundry, including putting it away neatly, and does it right–and yes, there are right and wrong ways. Who dusts? Vacuums? Washes floors? Mows? Trims outside plants? Waters inside ones?

    Who likes what shows on television when? What music when, at what volume? Who is messy, who clean? Is someone expecting another to pick up their mess? Is that good modelling for your child?

    Love doesn’t negotiate the needs of a child being raised by a couple.

    SO many questions here. Issues of positive/negative consequence, education, dress, religion, attitude toward parents/authority/women/ethnicities, etc.

    Love possibly should, but doesn’t, determine the nature or scope of how one partner accommodates to the wants and desires of the other. Does one want to go on hikes with the other, who hates hiking? One wish to dance with their dance-hating lover? If only one partner is willing to do unfavorite activities the other likes, the power imbalance will set the spinning plates to tumbling.

    I wish you–both of you, and the wee one–all the best in figuring this out.

    Merry Christmas. May this Christmas and the new year be the start of positive change.

    • Thank you. And all the same warm wishes to you as well.

      Sometimes the sticky parts of the journey are so to remind us that we cannot simply slip away. There is a place for love, however, in order to foster it practically must be paramount. At times. Other times, at least it appears to be this way, a larger light is needed to shine on the obvious and make it so.

      I agree with the dangers of a power imbalance. Not only will it set the spinning plates tumbling but it can also erode all else with the implementation of resentment.

      Thankfully. It would appear our relationship (while at times a conundrum) is definitely one with an evolutionary nature. And so, we continue to grow and change. 🙂

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