When we are children, we are exposed to fairy tales where a white knight comes to the rescue of the damsel in distress and after slaying the proverbial dragon, they live happily ever after. Girls play with Barbie whose boyfriend is Ken, the “perfect” man. Boys play with GI Joe “saving” the world, and grow up with the likes of “love them and live them” James Bond. We come to believe that the “perfect” love is out there. Because we also live in a disposable society where even toasters have a date by which they will fail to operate, we are quick to dispose of a relationship that is apparently “broken.” (For the power of that word in relationship, see: On Being Single … And the Power of the Words “Break-Up“)
Thus, we come to believe that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. That the neighbor has a better car, house, children, partner, etc. Problem is, when we jump the fence, we discover that the grass is greener because it’s artificial (easier on the knees allegedly, but not Earth-conscious). Moreover, as we look up, we see there’s yet another fence. And, if we were to peek above that fence, we would discover yet another fence, and another, and another, ad infinitum.
Is it any wonder that a lot of us are single and, for the most part, lonely because we have “failed” to find our “soulmate”? Women tend to see the potential in a mate … that is the ephemeral white knight. They get together and hope that he becomes what they think he can be. Men take women as they believe them to be, hope they don’t change (especially physically), and always look for that nurturing environment they only knew in the womb and as a child. Either way, we idealize our partner based on the images of what the ideal mate is supposed to be, as remembered from our fairy tales and later projected by the media. Soon, reality opens the doors wide and steps in. Whom we thought we were with turns out to have flaws. Imagine that? A human being that is flawed!?! The man is gaseous (a polite way to say he farts), has a “nothing box”, and doesn’t know how to “communicate.” The woman expects the man to be the provider and to listen emotionally (hint: men listen in order to uncover problems and solve them … it’s in our DNA). Both parties, regardless of age, still have the image of the ideal mate in mind and neither has been taught, nor is prepared, to deal with the flaws. After all, as I noted, we are a disposable society and what surrounds us has a “use by” date. Why should it be any different for our mate? If it doesn’t work, don’t fix it … throw it away and “buy” another one. Jump the fence, yet again.
Would our relationships be better (last longer?) if we weren’t so busy doing things to take the time to know each other, to talk, to hug? Would cooking a meal together, setting a dinner table together (complete with candles and soft music), dressing up (we’re not talking tuxedos and evening gowns, nor suits and cocktail dresses, but dressy casual would be nice, no?), shutting off the TV and looking into each other’s eyes while having a real conversation go a long way to cementing a partnership? I don’t know. I do know that eating while sitting in the front of the TV does not. Nor does wondering if a different relationship would “complete us.”
A partnership is a bond. A commitment you make every morning when you wake up to be together, to talk, to listen, to hug, to kiss and to love. The ideal mate is a figment of our imaginations reinforced by our fairy tales, movies and TV series. We are all flawed. Successful partnerships are made by people who recognize their flaws and willingly accept them while working on them. Successful partnerships are self-reliant (I know, ironic isn’t it?) and each partner understands that their own self-love allows the other partner to expand and love him/herself.
So, before you even prepare yourself to jump the next fence, perhaps you should peek over it and see what kind of grass, if any at all, is there. Then peek behind you and see whether a little fertilizer (i.e., sincere compliments, taking the time to listen, taking the time to understand your partner’s fears, taking the time to truly be together) may make the grass in your yard greener.
Of course, there is always the relationship that should not remain. There are so many wonderful relationships out there that it’s hard to find words to describe them. At the same time, there are a few that are so dismal, that I wouldn’t want to find the words to describe them.
As usual, I welcome all comments, feedback, discussions and questions. In the meantime, hoping you have plenty of fertilizer for your grass, I remain in love and light with you, Jean-Pierre