When I was single, I consistently said, “I don’t have the patience for a relationship.” I meant that I didn’t have the patience to deal with another person. I never realized that the person I would need patience with is myself, not my partner. I’ve been in a relationship for approximately two years, and I can attest that I was slightly right, love is demanding, but not in the way that I thought.
I feel that it is possible that I would’ve learned the same things while riding solo, it just would’ve taken longer. The reason for this is because I have been forced to quickly confront things about myself that I would never have had to if I was alone. I have always been self-reflecting to a point, but I missed some significant flaws while looking within. Many successful women like Elizabeth Gilbert and Jen Sincero have stated that your subconscious mind actively works to shield you from greatness – out of fear of failing. That means that your brain literally won’t bring attention to specific flawed ideals, hefty goals, and bad habits, in an effort to keep you safe. Since the subconscious mind lives in survival mode, it can be difficult to face certain things about yourself. We often don’t want to confront the ugliness within ourselves for obvious reasons. But when you inhabit a space with another human being who is also eating, drinking, shitting, and sleeping by you 24/7, it becomes impossible to ignore certain aspects of yourself. This is why fighting with your partner can be healthy because this person can bring the hidden flaws to your attention.
While in my current relationship, I’ve learned the following things about myself:
1. I am nowhere near as open-minded as I thought I was. I always felt that I was this open hippy-dippy, fun, free-spirited person. I’ve come to realize that I’m actually a fan of structure, with the occasional spontaneous adventure thrown in.
2. Guilty as charged, I often leave the cap off of the toothpaste.
3. I am a crybaby drunk. Drinking with me is just not fun. It’s too much of a gamble.
4. Forgiveness is a one-size-fits-all sweatshirt that I hate wearing. I’ve had to work on this one. I now realize that you have to forgive everyone. When your partner’s ex-fling thinks it’s okay text/call and show up at his job, you have to relax. When the stranger two cars ahead of you is driving like shit, you have to breathe. Taking things too personal will ruin you, not them. I’m not saying take everyone’s shit, but I am saying not to give things more energy than you have to. I certainly have done both, and neither benefited me in the long run. I’m obsessed with respect, and when respect is absent –I am out for blood. It’s taken me a while to truly understand the weight forgiveness has on your life. You are what you think about. I now know how detrimental forgiveness is to my happiness. I forgive everyone, whether it’s a big or small infraction – but it takes a lot of time and patience.
6. I would like to reference the “if you give some people an inch, they’ll take a mile” quote because I feel it applies to me. I can be insecure about my looks. And to my misfortune, I tend to fall in love with very attractive people. This wouldn’t be a misfortune, but because I can be insecure, it ends up being one because of the jealousy. It takes a lot for me to believe someone when they say they actually like me. When people say they love me? PSH, forget about it. I take years to convince. So in the past, if I noticed a reason to be jealous, I would often take it too far with the spying and the questioning. I’m a little proud of my snooping skills (I’m missing out on a promising career as a detective), but I’m not proud of the jealousy that causes it. However, I know that I’ve grown a lot in the last two years. It’s not okay to not trust your partner. Not trusting your partner is a reflection of you not trusting yourself. I believe that if your partner IS actually cheating on you or doing something to hurt you, you should just leave them.
It’s taken a lot of discussions, openness, and understanding to get to where I am both in my relationship, and my life. Practicing self-love is a fundamental part of loving another, and addressing your faults is part of that. With a lot of patience from both myself and my partner, I can honestly say this is the first time in my life where I don’t feel like I have to worry about my insecurities. More importantly, I can say that I trust myself enough to choose my wonderful, caring, and intelligent partner every day. I can’t say much about the toothpaste cap though – a person can only grow so much.