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Simply Solo Spotlight: The Great Unknown

January 18, 2011

Today’s Simply Solo Spotlight is written by Chris over at Just Me 365. Chris got divorced last year after being married for 12 years and having two boys with his ex. After a tough ending with his ex-wife, Chris is rebuilding his life at the age of 37. What impresses me the most about Chris is how hopeful he is about the future. When I asked him to write a guest post about his perspective on love and relationships, he decided to focus on the unknown. I think it’s an interesting take and I really enjoyed his guest post.

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at: simplysoloblog@gmail.com.

The Great Unknown

We still seem to be confused about our relationships. And obsessed. Trying to figure them out. Trying to figure out whether we want to be in or out of one. Trying to figure out why we are in or out of one. Searching for the key and balance to having a loving and lasting relationship and experimenting with our heart and mind as the scale. Looking for that balance and the right fit. Sometimes looking for perfection. Sometimes settling for a warm body. Neither of which is healthy.

Relationships are confusing because they are living, breathing things. And it is not just about us. It involves other people. Other variables. Too many intangible unknowns. Yet we crave them. The touch and feel of another person. The relief that you are not alone. The instant “click” where the world comes into focus, you take a deep breath, and wear a contented smile. A new part awakens and you have the rush of living.

And it scares the bejesus out of us. Because, we want them. We want to not want them. The great unknown. Never quite figured out like our grandmother’s recipe for lemon meringue pie. Never quite solid enough to guarantee we won’t get hurt. Never quite to the point where we can say, “This is what works.” But, there are some things that are sure.

If you pretend in a relationship, your relationship is pretend. Eventually, all the makeup comes off. The best foot forward gets followed by your worst foot. Lies become unraveled and exposed. Objects really are closer than they appear in the mirror. Pedestals fall. All that is left is just you. Which is scary cool. Why cool? Because, in a true relationship, everything that you think is good or bad is erased. And that person loves you for the real you. The you that even you have trouble with.

To even begin a relationship, you have to trust yourself. Trust yourself to be honest. Trust yourself to succeed. Trust yourself to fail. Trust yourself to do not only the right thing for you, but care enough to do the right thing for others. Know that, at some point, you will get hurt and that you will still be OK.

Relationships are not about you and me. They are about us. “Us” requires a different mindset. A mindset that requires forgiveness. Trust. Honesty. Faith. Belief. Selflessness. Love. Truth. Patience. Kindness. For ourselves. For our partner. For the relationship.

Relationships are not about dependence, but independence. Just because you are in a relationship, doesn’t make you dependent. It should, in fact, foster your independence. The person you love and who loves you in return didn’t fall in love with “us.” They fell in love with you. The irrepressible, independent, wonderful you. You should be able to look at that person and say, “You are where I can be myself.”

The relationship, and who you are in the relationship, is always a choice. There should never be, “I have to, because.” It should always be, “I choose to, because.” We would rather find blame than grow a pair.

The only control you have is of yourself. You cannot make someone else feel, do, want, or be someone you want them to be. So be yourself and allow them to be themselves. Relationships are about sharing. About support. About going the same way. Not about getting your way.

I hope this helps at least one person. We often try to make things too difficult. Just relax. Trust. Believe. Try. And enjoy the ride.


19 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2011 9:42 am

    Thanks again, Catherine. I really am honored to find a place on your blog. 🙂

    • January 18, 2011 11:08 am

      No problem! I really enjoyed your post, it was beautifully written. I LOVE the paragraph that starts with:

      “Relationships are not about dependence, but independence. Just because you are in a relationship, doesn’t make you dependent. It should, in fact, foster your independence.”

      It was like an aha moment when I read that. I’ve always associated relationships with dependence on someone else, but now I see how it doesn’t HAVE to be that way.

      Thanks for sharing, Chris!

  2. natasha permalink
    January 18, 2011 11:19 am

    Great post, Chris! I loved the line about “that person loves you for the real you. The you that even you have trouble with.” This is hard, especially when you don’t want to show someone you love those sides of you. But it’s true… If they love you, they will love all of you!

    • January 18, 2011 2:01 pm

      Definitely hard. But much easier that continuing to pretend. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Keep Your Woman permalink
    January 18, 2011 11:39 am

    Excellent post. Chris, you are VERY right in that relationships are PARTNERSHIPS and NOT about dependence. If someone finds themselves in that role (of dependence) the best thing they can do is recognize it and run like hell. It’s only going to drain the other person and make things lopsided – then comes the unhappiness, resentment, etc. Great job here.

    • January 18, 2011 2:05 pm

      Relationships are no good if you end up losing you rather than being a better you. A lesson many of us learn the hard way. Thank you so much for your comment.

  4. January 18, 2011 12:06 pm

    ‘If you pretend in a relationship, your relationship is pretend.’

    So very true. I found this lesson out recently. I wanted to believe, and even did believe, that because my ex has a good heart, and intended to be a good person, that he WAS a good person and the right person for me. However, I recognized later, (with signs I should have seen earlier) that he didn’t disclose some things that I wish he would have… he tried to be the person he thought I wanted. I wished he could have communicated more openly with me, instead of holding things in for fear of what I might think or do.

    Also, it was me, attempting to paint a nicer picture of the man I was dating, because, in some reality, he didn’t quite measure up. Is he a good man? Yes. Of course. Was our relationship as healthy as it could have been? Obviously not.

    Beautiful post. So many layers to this. Thank you.

    • January 18, 2011 2:11 pm

      We all want to fit somewhere. With someone. It’s hard because life happens to us and we don’t want to stand alone. So we change. We blur the line. We do thinks to make things work so we force the fit. Like I did for a long time. Don’t worry about not seeing the signs at first. At least you did. And you are where and when you are supposed to be now. Thank you for your comment.

  5. January 18, 2011 8:33 pm

    i like that you said “relationships are about going the same way”– there’s a quote i’ve seen, can’t remember who said it, that essentially says “love is not gazing into one another’s eyes, love is looking in the same direction together”– i’ve always liked that– nice post, thanks for sharing–

  6. January 18, 2011 9:51 pm

    “Love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wind, Sand, and Stars
    Thank you so much for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  7. Lost in France permalink
    January 19, 2011 6:21 am

    To see it put in those terms is in fact very informative and refreshing.

    your thoughs on dependency were intersting to hear and have me thinking about things differently.

    • January 19, 2011 12:47 pm

      I am glad you appreciated it. I am thinking, from the amount of comments on independence/dependence, I may ask Catherine for another guest spot on the topic 🙂 Thank you so much for your comment.

  8. January 19, 2011 7:21 am

    Loved everything about this post! What great thoughts you have and thoughts that are spot on. Thanks for sharing!!

    • January 19, 2011 12:47 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

  9. January 19, 2011 1:11 pm

    “We want them. We want to not want them.”

    So true. I was like you, divorced with two kids after more than a dozen years of marriage, and starting out again at the age of 37, so it’s very interesting to read your take on this.

    • January 19, 2011 4:22 pm

      Sometimes I wish it was as easy as everything I put forth…but you have to start with your ideals somewhere. Thanks for your comment.

      • January 24, 2011 6:26 pm

        What is up with us, the 37-year-olds, suddenly single and reinventing?

        37 must be the new 45.

        I am also reinventing at the age of 37 — 2 children, more than a decade of marriage. It is definitely a struggle, but it’s also a journey for which I’m grateful.

        Thanks for the post. And best of luck to us all!

        🙂

        • January 25, 2011 12:30 pm

          Definitely best of luck. And when did reinventing get to be such a pain in the butt?!? And I believe it is about time for another post, Mikalee…. 🙂

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