May 11, 2008

There is no Mr Right

This is a conversation I've had on and off with a very old friend for some time. We are both in utter agreement on this point; Mr Right is a myth. He just doesn't exist. Utter fantasy.

Relationships that work are not made up of two people who are 'Right' for each other, who then magically cruise through life with nary a cloud of dissent or angst on the horizon. They are not made up of two people who read each other's minds and simply know what the other person means, without being told. They are not made up of two people who never say unintentionally insulting or stupid things to each other.

Relationships that work are made up of two human beings who say stupid things all the time. Human beings who are intrinsically selfish and need to work hard to consider the other person's point of view. Who come from different backgrounds with different expectations and different desires. Who on some days would really prefer a slave to a spouse, at least for short periods of time (I'd like a dishes slave...), and who both have really irritating habits (that might even have been endearing and attractive long ago).

What is absolutely necessary is TRUST and TRUSTWORTHINESS. Because this sort of relationship needs open, honest, vulnerable communication. Without trust, vulnerability cannot exist for long, and without vulnerability there is no true communication, and without true communication there is no intimacy, and without intimacy you are in big trouble.

COMMUNICATION is very very very important. Each person needs to be able to say what they would like to say, clarify the situation, ask what the other person means, let them know when feelings are hurt etc etc without fear of relationship armageddon. I've had to learn that when Merl asks what the problem is, or why I did something the way I did, that the question should be taken at face value. He is not accusing me of anything, he is not setting the framework for a big argument - he just wants to know what is going on in my head, and has no other way of finding out.

Communication does not ever stop, because people change all the time. Life changes, expectations change, experience changes us. The person I communicated with in our pre-married angsty phase is not the person I am now married to. And, thank goodness, marriage has changed me too.

The next thing is FORGIVENESS. We all screw up. When I'm a hose-beast with raging PMT I am very grateful that Merl is fully capable of rolling his eyes, not taking it personally and being instantly forgiving when I come to my senses and apologise for being a cow. (Incidentally, I am also getting better at not being a cow). Likewise, when he has a sore back or has had a bad day at work he can be snippy and short-tempered. Instead of taking it personally, it pays to give them the benefit of the doubt - after all, not everything in their life is about you! Not even your life is all about you.

So. Mr Right does not exist.

Instead, there's Mr and Mrs We Want This Enough to Both Work at Making it Work.

Not so catchy, I'll admit it, but most things in life are more complicated than your average bumper sticker.

Hmmm. This sounds a bit like a rant, and I guess it is. I have recently observed someone giving someone else bad ('your way or the highway' type) relationship advice. It made me sad and cross at the same time. If you both like each other enough to learn new skills and be patient with each other then you can have a beautiful thing. If on the other hand, you get to have tantrums and be irrational, but he has to be the world's best psychic and never put a foot wrong, then what you want is a fantasy - better stock up on your Mills and Boon because psychic lovers only exist in fiction.

6 comments:

roseyphoenix said...

Ouch

home handymum said...

Sorry. I was having a bit of an aAargh! moment. By the time I saw Saffron's 'advice' it was too late to offer another perspective without it being a slap :(

And of course, that stage of the relationship when you're both still deciding whether or not it is worth it (and even what 'it' is) is horrible and angsty. You have my full sympathy and understanding there . I was not at all saying you should stay with him - only the two of you can decide that.

But, from what I have read of her posts, I think Saffron wouldn't recognise a well-functioning relationship if it slapped her. So my rant was definitely more saffron-directed than to you.

Very sorry for pain caused by my inability to express myself more gently
xoxo

roseyphoenix said...

Have to admit I've felt pretty tempted to do some Saffron-slapping myself at times: pretty hypocritical to accuse me of lacking in self-respect while she is continuing a relationship with an openly unfaithful guy. Don't worry, I didn't pay her a whole lot of attention in my decision making.

I did, however, recognise myself in your comment about tantrums, and that hurt.

Trust me - it isn't that I think I deserve a perfect guy or that relationships are easy - I'm far more inclined to attach myself to someone who treats me badly and persist in trying to compromise and make things work well after the point well after the point that it is obvious to everyone else that that isn't going to happen.

I like Mr Niceguy a lot, and I'd be prepared to try and have a serious relationship with him if I didn't think he was just saying what he thought I wanted to hear in order to be able to continue to have a casual one with me. Have to admit defeat on this one. Don't mistake this for indifference.

home handymum said...

I am sorry for that comment - it was not fair of me to make it. We all have tantrums. It was not the presence of the tantrum so much as Saff seeing that it was okay for you to do that (which it is), but then saying it was not okay for him to have moments of indecision as well.

Even in the absence of perfect guys, you do definitely deserve someone who will treat you well and cherish you above all others - for the long haul. If you think this guy is just stringing you along, then I totally agree that now is the time to make the break. You've had too much hurt from selfish/nasty guys already.

Forgive me for adding to that hurt.

Anyhoo. Glad we're in agreement on the Saffron-slapping :)

xoxo

roseyphoenix said...

Course I forgive you : ) Hugs ; )

home handymum said...

{{hugs}}

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