Today in 5 months I marry my best friend and soul mate to become Mrs J! I am so excited and happy. I still can’t believe my luck that I have found my perfect match, a piece of the puzzle of my life that fits perfectly, joining our two pictures together.
I have had my share of unsuccessful relationships. Always intense, always serious and ultimately when they ended it was messy, painful and life changing. But I don’t believe that people are bad. I just believe in bad fits, and in weaknesses that don’t match strengths. I’ve been cheated on, treated like I wasn’t a priority and had my heart-broken. Am I bitter? Absolutely not!
None of the men I was with before were right for me, just as I wasn’t right for them.
I sometimes wish I knew then what I know now – that relationships shouldn’t be that hard. That’s not to say that there won’t be challenges. A significant amount of effort is required on both sides to make a relationship work, but your energies should be spent on building a life together and facing the daily grind as a team. Struggles should bring you closer together, not pull you apart. Fighting constantly and feeling like you’re always conflicting is a waste of precious energy and will ultimately drain all those involved. That feeling of ‘if only we can just get through this’ as though by magic everything will suddenly fall into place – I’ve been there. It doesn’t work.
But it was absolutely important for me to experience the wrong relationships, to appreciate how good it feels now. How easy it can be.
Relationships are full of compromises, but that should never mean compromising who you are. I often felt alone with ex-partners, like I was fighting against them instead of with them. I used to feel like I was abnormal as I tried desperately to hide or fight against my faults, as though they were something to be ashamed of. All because the person I was with didn’t like that part of me. But I was guilty of the same thing. I wanted the selfish boyfriend to put me first, I wanted the reclusive one to take me out more. It wasn’t fair on them, or me. You just end up bringing each other down because all you are showing each other is how they don’t measure up in the way you want them to.
Do we not all deserve to be loved for exactly who we are, warts and all?
I wasted a lot of time trying to make relationships work because I thought I was ‘in love’ and that all the hard work would be worth it in the end. The truth? I loved the person that I myself projected on to my partners, a persona that I created. I wanted someone who put me first, and would then try to fit the men I met into that mould. Instead of waiting for someone who naturally was who I needed, I berated those who weren’t.
Ultimately it comes down to one thing. Do you bring out the best or the worst in each other? Do you like yourself when you’re together? Or do you find yourself scolding yourself, and the person you’re with? I know I did. I felt like a worst version of myself. Like relationships made me weak, made me doubt my sanity and myself.
I’m far from perfect. I have a temper and get over-emotional. But while this used to irritate previous partners to the point where the smallest thing would escalate into a full-blown argument, this never seems to happen now. Somehow my Mr J is able to balance me out and he knows instinctively how to react, but not because he’s trying; but because it’s who he naturally is. He doesn’t try to appease me, I would have no respect for him if he did. He just knows how to tell me to shut up in a way I don’t feel attacked or criticised! Ironically, my temper isn’t nearly as bad as when we first met. But equally I don’t have to feel guilty when I’m being emotional or upset. Our faults don’t seem to aggravate some other part of each other’s personalities.
He puts out my fire before it gets out of control, instead of pouring petrol on it.
This was made no clearer to me than the other day when I apologised to him for being so up and down. I can be the happiest person in the World one minute and the saddest the next. His reaction? – “You don’t have to apologise for being you. I’m marrying you, and that includes all that you are”. And that’s how I know. Not because I feel some in-explainable feeling of ‘he’s the one’, ignoring warning signs because ‘love conquers all’… Not because he ‘completes’ me – we’re both complete people on our own and the notion that you complete someone, in my opinion, relates more to codependency. It’s because we allow each other to be completely and unconditionally who we already are. While there are things about our life we would like to change, we don’t want to change each other.
A love with no disclaimer.
To me, the relationships that stand the test of time are the ones that may not always agree behind closed doors, but ultimately it’s them vs the World. Their disagreements don’t escalate into mud-slinging matches, attacking each other on a personal level with intent to hurt. Arguments happen, but they don’t result in two people slowly breaking each other down until they are shadows of whom they once were. Successful relationships, compatible relationships, make you feel stronger – like you have double protection. Together you are impenetrable.
We’re not perfect, but our faults compliment each other. We fit perfectly around each other like two pieces of a puzzle. And our life is a one big puzzle that we create together, finding other pieces that fit making up the bigger picture that will be our life.