As a teenager and young man, my reaction to emotional pain was to pull any lesson, any value, that I could from it. “If I can at least learn something,” I’d tell myself, “then this isn’t pointless suffering.” I began at some point to believe that if I learned “the truth” over time, I would be free of pain and suffering, that my life would just be joy and free of any pain or suffering. That’s what I subconsciously believed.
And I brought that expectation of myself with me into relationships with girls and women. Which became me judging them and trying to get them to see what I was seeing, to know what I knew. “If only,” I’d tell myself, “they saw this thing another way (the way I see it), they’d be happy.”
Later in my life, I realized what a bunch of shit this all is, that there isn’t a pain free life and that my behavior of trying to push women out of what they were thinking and feeling was really just a desire to meet my own needs (for a “perfect” relationship that was happy and joyous all the time). I thought I could make a life full of only happiness and joy and that my relationship would also be like that. I was projecting onto women and my relationships with them my belief that I was this linear being, that there was a destination and that I would evolve to a state of something like “perfection” over time with the right input and awareness.
I’ve learned there isn’t a linear destination of anything like “amazing all the time” or “perfection” for me, for the woman in my life or for my relationship. I don’t see there being an end to my growth and becoming as a human being. Nor do I see that in any woman or in my relationship.
Instead of linearity, I now see something more circular. That I am not “cured” of triggers, that I am fully human, that my wife is and that our relationship also is. And over time, as my belief in anything like perfection fades, I am not only left with me as I am, my wife as she is, our relationship as it is, but also with a sense of relief, appreciation and humor. It doesn’t stop me from learning and growing. It slows me down from expecting.
I realize intellectually (or just believe) that the nature of life and humanity is duality. We do not know “this” without knowing “that,” its complimentary opposite. We learn and experience ourselves and each other through comparison and contrast. Our minds do that automatically. But there isn’t a destination. We do not grow beyond being human. And that makes me easier with myself and others.
And I’m usually good with that!