Married but Single
I overheard an interesting conversation in which a gentleman referred to himself as being “married but single,” now, in his specific case, he meant that he and his wife had separated but never officially divorced and now lived independent lives. An interesting arrangement in itself, it made me think about the way other people act in their relationships. We’ve all had that friend who gets into a relationship and suddenly disappears, or worse, becomes a “we” person.
I, like many people, have fallen head over heels in love, but I learned through good and bad experiences that it's rarely productive to completely become absorbed within someone else. We are all individuals, and we are whole. Our relationships, romantic or otherwise, should add value to our lives and encourage us to become more ourselves and not less; they should nurture our growth into our highest selves and help us to fulfill our dreams. All of those cliches sound good, but how do we put them into practice?
The first thing to remember is that your relationship with any person is between you and that person. There is nothing messier than friends, family, or worse, society getting involved in how you structure your relationship. Now, obviously, if you’re having relationship issues, it’s human nature to turn to others for advice. However, don’t let other people’s opinions or thoughts kindle discontent in your relationship. Your relationship should make you feel free and empowered. Of course, there are going to be expectations but make sure they’re your expectations.
Secondly, remember that you and your partner are on the same team. Everyone has disagreements but try to direct your energy at the issues and not at each other. Always fight fair, don’t be underhanded or hit below the belt. Sometimes it seems like people have intentionally hurt us, but that’s rarely true in healthy relationships. Don’t be reactionary, be analytical instead and ask yourself why you’re truly upset.
Thirdly, what’s important to your partner should matter to you. Not in the sense that you have to share all the same interests; I actually think it’s healthy to have different interests but don’t discount their dreams and ambitions. Support each other and occasionally invest in one another.
Lastly, an idea that I’ve emphasized in all the various suggestions; give each other grace. Not a single one of us is perfect. I’m not saying that you have to put up with abuse or mistreatment in any way, shape, or form. But, remember that people are going to make mistakes. It’s not malicious. It's human. Remember that grace and forgiveness is a gift for both of you.
*If you or someone you love is in a domestic violence situation please call
1.800.799.SAFE (7233), they have resources for survivors and people currently experiencing issues*