It was ordinary. Not fluffy, not overly romantic. Real. The kind of real I coveted in couples who married shortly after high school, in wrinkled older spouses walking down the street, still holding hands. I had wanted “real” so badly I often wondered if I had given so much power to the fantasy relationship that I couldn’t hack it, that I sabotaged it so I could never have it for myself.
What I missed when assessing other people’s relationship was their real. I saw sugar topping the cookie, not the month-old flour involved in the baking. I saw the delectable outside they presented to the world and attempted to live by what I saw; one irresistible duo, with no flaws, no weaknesses. No wonder it never worked. At the first sign of trouble, I wept, panicked and began to mourn the loss of what would surely be next. I just knew the end was coming. I beckoned to it and created all the right circumstances for it to happen.
I viewed relationships as a cycle: infatuation, crazy-making love, annoyance slide, disinterest, then the break.
Until this morning, reading those words “Love is a Choice,” I never realized, making love a choice means you give yourself permission to make decisions, too. You know how aggravating it is to complete a series of jigsaw puzzles, only to discover that each one is missing a piece? A piece you had hidden, but forgot where you put it? I can finally understand how to hold myself accountable for what I do or don’t do in relationships, and that was the missing piece.
I had been a subconscious victim of my past relationships, “But he was like this and was angry all the time, and he was unfair and a slob.” I was spouse blaming and removing my own control.
This is what happens when we hand the reins of our life over to another. I ceded my own power, subtracted my own vital input, and lingered on the outskirts of my partnership, forever a blamer and bystander until I changed something.
The Good Men Project started off with some strange stuff and even stranger controversies but they really are coming into their own with a lot of thoughtful pieces. This is one of them.
So many couples break up not because they need to — but because the fairy tale went away. Because it always does.
But that doesn’t mean the relationship needs to end…Read more