A “great relationship” means you have nearly everything in common, you think and feel the same way about nearly everything and you enjoy nearly all the same stuff. Crazy shit! Where the hell did all this come from? Disney? It’s just nuts. And when we start to find out this isn’t true, we start to judge the other person and question what we’re even doing in that relationship.
Years ago a friend of mine suggested this: “Write down on paper every single thing that you think would be the perfect woman and relationship.” After scribbling the first two pages (front and back) and wanting to go on and on, I stopped and looked over what I’d written. I started laughing because I realized…. this description wasn’t of a human being! I’d described a West World robot. And I realized on the spot that the map I had in my mind about the person and the relationship had been unconsciously planted there (by aliens, presumably!).
It began a process, however, of unraveling and questioning all these expectations and starting to rewrite my map for the relationship and for the woman (my wife). I understand that my wife and I are human beings on a journey in life to learn, grow and enjoy the best we can. And that means that sometimes there’s very little that connects us. And that we’re acting at times in ways we’re not proud of five minutes later. Sometimes we’re parallel playing like kids do when they play next to each other without seeming to connect. I’m doing my thing; and she’s doing hers. Until we make time to connect.
Unlike the map in my mind for most of my life, I realize that the “overlap” between us, our “connecting space,” is much smaller than I thought it should be or had to be. We are very different people with very different hobbies, interests and (often) priorities. And while I can feel all sorts of things about this (including happy for her, proud of her, enjoying my own time, lonely and neglected), we are deeply in love and nearly always terrific “friends.” And our core values are dead on!
I use the term “friends” carefully because it’s not like any other friend in my life. She is actually my partner in life. We learn, grow, laugh and cry together and have woven an intricate web of life together. I mean “friend” this way: we care completely for the other person’s happiness and well-being. We support each other doing whatever each of us need. We love each other and are committed to growing and being more loving and happier in our lives separately and together. And that has become the new normal.