It’s curious that people who say they have no advice to give about love relationships, still give advice.
“Don’t ask me,” they say shaking their head. “Not with my track record.”
Ah, the track record. Because relationships are like … horse races? Track and field competitions? Formula One races? But track is the mark left by the passage of something, like fingernails down a backside or footprints in sand, or parallel lines of steel or chalk, or a song on an album or CD.
As I pondered the images, I wondered about relationships and how tracks mean different things. And what relationships are like metaphorically.
And then, and then… I was asked that question the one that makes me dive for mental cover: what makes a good relationship?
Well if reincarnation is true, then I have had a ga-zzilion relationships. If it isn’t, then just a zillion have had I.
No matter. My answer would be the same. It isn’t waffling to say there’s no single, universal, one-size-fits-all answer. I used to believe there was, but I know better. Oh, and define GOOD in the context of a relationship. That’s not to say I don’t have a few thoughts about what might contribute to a good relationship. I do. In no order of priority, here is today’s list of my key ingredients for a good relationship:
A good, honest, working knowledge of who you are and what you need and what you will give, recognizing that you are always a work in progress.
Liking each other, because this will get you through those moment when loving is hard.
Loving each other, because this will help when that liking thing is hard to conjure up.
Humour, because being able to laugh together is your personal vaccination against all the silliness viruses in the world..
A profound ability to communicate with each other with words and senses and empathy, with openness, acceptance, trust, respect and kindness.
Music, coriander, lime, curiosity, pepper and Prosecco.
Too much? I don’t think so.
To my mind, and in my experience, a relationship is a microcosm of the macrocosm, a universe containing innumerable galaxies that is at once breathtaking, hilarious and heartbreaking. Like universes, relationships expand and contract. We’re good at the expanding part. Less so with the contraction. But if you think of expanding and contracting in a relationship as breathing, maybe it’s not so bad.
Because none of us is perfect (except maybe you) a relationship will at times take work. It’s true that for some it won’t seem or feel like work. Yet for others, it will, not for any reason other than the fact that two people are not and will never forever be a single unit of one. Hard at times does not mean bad or wrong or ill-fitting. It just means hard at times. What’s key is WHY it’s hard, and how it’s being handled. Here’s where knowing you and your expectations come in handy.
For example, I have an expectation that is this: someone who is respectful never tells another person to shut up. However, I also know that’s not the norm. I have also had time to examine this expectation, know why I have it and why it’s important to me and have decided that it is a reasonable one to continue to uphold. But if I expect someone to think and feel and behave exactly as I do about this, without communicating it, well, good luck to me on that.
And it’s this point where even thinking about what makes a good relationship is causing my brain to seize up.
So I am back to thinking what relationships are like and at this moment the metaphor is: like water.