Ah, relationships. It still boggles my mind that I could be turning 26 next week and still be so confused about matters of the heart. Shouldn’t I have enough experience now to have it all down? Yet, I think my particular experience with relationships is what has left me so confused. After my marriage failed, I realized that I had never thought long and hard about how to truly make a relationship work. When my husband and I met, we fell in love almost immediately. It was like everything was so easy we didn’t have to try. Obviously now I realize that mindset contributed to the ultimate demise of our relationship (though there were admittedly many other factors).
Relationships take work. Yes, this is something we hear time and time again. But how many of us put this into practice when it gets down to the nitty gritty? We are a generation of instant gratification. We click a button and we’re instantly connected to hundreds of peers on Facebook. We want information and it’s at our fingertips. We expect the world to be handed to us on a silver platter, because we’re…special. I am by no means saying this is a catch all explanation for everyone in Generation Y (in fact, I have many friends who seem to have it all figured out), but I do think patience is a harder skill to learn in today’s social landscape.
I grew up attending a large church every weekend, which offered me a large community of support. My own parents have been married for 36 years, and I’ve seen countless examples of lasting couples. You’d think I would have learned tools for relationship success merely through observation. But here’s the sad truth…I simply wasn’t paying enough attention.
After my marriage I spent a lot of time simply trying to move past the hurt and anger. After that however, I realized that I must become intentional about my relationships. In fact, I realized that my emotional situation was so dire, that if I didn’t get down to the bottom of it and learn how to function in a healthy relationship, I was setting myself up for a lifetime of hurt and tragedy.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get to the bottom of my emotional hang ups, tendency to withdraw and general commitment phobia. I’ve read books and talked to friends. Still, I find myself struggling so much in my current relationship that I finally broke down and enlisted professional help…I contacted a therapist. It’s true that this is probably something I could (and should) have done long ago. But for some reason I was very hesitant to poor my heart out to a stranger. Now that I’ve bit the bullet, I’m hoping that therapy will give me the tools I need for success. To be continued…