Yesterday was about what real love is really like. Today I’m using an Other Perspectives post to discuss the dangers of where most of us start with love, and why we have to shift our beliefs before we can have a mature healthy relationship.
Keep in mind that when I say “start” I mean when our egos start, because few of these requirements are associated with true love because egos can’t do true love. Egos are conditional.
The need for 100% Honesty is based in a fear that we really don’t have the person on our side in a meaningful way, which is largely true in every youthful relationship and all the jealous ones.
We worry it might not be true when they say I love you so we constantly need to check. Also, as the hilarious hemorrhoid scene in the film This is 40 illustrates, later in life we realise we often always want full honesty….
Where this t-shirt is accurate now, is Forgiveness. That is the best skill one could hope to have for a relationship. 100% is impossible, but we can get pretty close. Great Communication helps.
As long as they are aligned, even little communication can work because there are some couples that remain quite private by nature, choosing internal reflection over a lot of sharing. These people often feel most comfortable with someone just like them. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a valid form of love.
Trust is good–we want to aim to always feel trust– but there will be times where we’re insecure and we just won’t be able to help worrying and we’ll need some reassuring. Even putting on weight or losing one’s hair can increase our needs to feel secure. Not to mention women who experience breast cancer or men with testicular cancer. But that’s all okay if the feelings are temporary or fleeting.
Faithfulness is far rarer than people realise. Not that it isn’t natural for some, but as many experts, including Dan Savage, often point out; most marriages actually survive thanks to some monogamish behaviours that can strangely remind us of the value of our long term partners.
Patience at 80% is hopefully where we will all get to, but we shouldn’t be surprised if our maturity won’t allow for it until we’re at least over about thirty five years old.
Similar Values at 50% is one of the few that’s backwards, That one should be closer to a high percentage because as we age we realise that don’t people divorce because one likes golf and the other likes marathons, it’s because one will cheat at golf whereas the other would never do that in their sport.
Time Apart at 20% only happens when we’re young and before our adulting starts. After that it is impossible because we’ll be at work for a third of our day so we’re already over the 20% limit. Not to mention one parent spending their evening at hockey with one kid while the other’s at dance with another.
Romance at 100% is the funniest. As any adult quickly learns, life gets too busy for things to stay romantic –which is fine. Romance actually means more when it’s mixed into a life that has other responsibilities.
As previously noted, we can agreeing on 100% Friendship. We can’t love the person’s appearance or style or identity because those are guaranteed to change. We have to be with someone who will be a good life partner and roommate, more than just a good romantic one.
On the contrary, Zero Selfishness isn’t healthy. We do need to put ourselves first at times. We can’t give our partner what we do not have. And Playing Games also comes naturally to people dealing with their discomfort around being totally honest. But it’s the last two that are most important.
Under Unrealistic Expectations, we should not expect to be able to avoid our Insecurities. That is an entirely unrealistic expectation to put on ourselves or our partner. Again, think of breast cancer or testicular cancer survivors. It makes sense that would take some adjustment to get comfortable with.
On top of all of this, we must also remember that there can’t be a peaceful psychological and spiritual path unless there’s a not-path. Not-path is ego. We can get good at keeping it at bay, but to not have it at all is to miss out on a valuable aspect of being human that incites healthy growth.
We all start with unrealistic beliefs that were created by culture, so I’m sure they’ll sell a lot of these t-shirts. But inevitably, over time, as we age, the shirt will seem more and more ironic as we attempt to apply it to the messy edges of the real world.
All of this is why the real keys to a good relationship are the Friendship and the Forgiveness. Forget the rest. Focus on getting good at those and you’ll be headed toward the most successful kind of relationship there is.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.