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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Relationships are hard

Artwork by *ReehBR

Relationships are hard.

I believe that humans are fundamentally selfish. More often than not, we tend to put ourselves first before others. What we feel. What we think. What we want. What we are looking for. What makes us happy. What makes us comfortable.

That is why when two people enter a relationship, tension and conflict usually follow closely after the petals of love and romance have fallen off.

No one realises that loving someone and being with someone can actually take so much out of you. It is not a simple equation of giving and receiving love in return. A lot of relationships require a hell lot of sacrifice, and an amazing level of tolerance. It demands that you forget your needs and desires sometimes, so that you can fulfil those of your partner. It expects you to be forgiving and understanding , even during the times when you think you have every right to be a bitch. It totally compels you at times even to turn away from who you really are, to be someone else he prefers you to be.

One would like to assume when you love someone, these actions come naturally. You naturally want to be a better person for your partner. But as a human being like everyone else, I am not infallible. I am innately selfish and I cannot change that.

That's why sometimes when the self becomes more important than the other person, conflict becomes inevitable. We can only hear ourselves. Our needs suddenly become more amplified, and nothing else matters but how we feel, what we want. It is so easy to slip back into that selfish state of mind, and how justified it felt at that point in time too.

And it feels liberating to feel like that sometimes. I have always lived my life for others, and allowed them to make me feel guilty for doing otherwise. Even till today. Many times, I have wanted to shed that selfless facade, that all forgiving nature, and scream my lungs out. I want to lash out at all those who have hurt me, and be that selfish bitch who cares only for herself.

I can hear myself screaming, but no one else can. I am too disciplined to let that happen. My upbringing has moulded me into a conformist.

And maybe that's why relationships are so much harder these days. We are in conflict not only with the person we are with, but with ourselves as well. The war we fight internally rages on, even during the good times. Because deep inside, we want to live for ourselves. We want to be ourselves. But in a relationship, the couple should always take precedent over the self for it to last, and hence the self has to be locked away in the depths of our heart.

It's for the greater good, they say.

Relationships are hard. They are a beautiful dream to possess, but a harsh reality to live in.

And for a person like myself, it may take me forever to come to terms with that.


Anonymous said...

Relationships are never easy. Often it takes two hands to clap. Conflict happens when only one is more committed than the other. Its very true that nowadays relationships are hard as people tend to think of themselves more. It takes lots of work to keep a relationship going, but at the same time it also teaches one how to tolerate, accommodate and get along with someone else instead of focusing on self. The end process is all the more beautiful to be savoured.

Richard said...

Sounds like you are stuck on stanza 3 of I’m a Believer by The Monkees

I thought love was more or less a giving thing
Seems the more I gave the less I got
What's the use in trying?
All you get is pain
When I needed sunshine I got rain

I have never seen relationships as vessels of compromise, sacrifice and accomodation. Of course, deep down inside, I consider people to be selfless, generous and noble – not selfish. Which often let to a lot of bewilderment when I was younger – surely, selfishness springs from ignorance, yet, in our day and age, we are surrounded with information, history and knowledge (more so in 2009 than in1979), so this should not be happening.

I always consider people I invite into my life to share common values and bonds; to share similar dreams and ideals with me. It may not be perfect, but it should be good enough.

As I got older, I realized that I always gave more than I got. I don’t expect relationships to be perfectly symmetrical, a tit-for-tat reciprocity. That is childish. I expect everyone to do what they can and not be taking an free rides (unless they really need to).

And then, we get into the more intimate relationship and I always figured it would be harmonious. I always felt that together we would accomplish and realize shared dreams. That we would help each other achieve one another’s dreams and aspirations. Of course it may not be possible to do everything at once – both may not be able to study at the same time, but I expect that if I support, I get eh support back. Sadly, it is not always the case. We set up expectations in the other person, expectations they should never have about roles and about how since we have invested in one dream, the other dream is not so important.

As I get older, I think what I look for in friends (since I am certainly not planning on changing wife), is more than just compatibility. I want synergy. I think relationships should be synergistic and not just beneficial.

im-still-learnin' said...

hey, been some time since i last visited your blog. This entry strikes a chord in my life too... yah, after peeling off the petals of romance, we have to deal with the ugly truth.