When I was younger and thinking about how my life would be, I can be 100% certain this is not what I pictured. It never once dawned on me that I would be spending any part of my adult life not with someone who cared about me, worrying about finances and how I was going to manage to do all the things that need to be done by myself.
It wasn’t that I bought into the idea of “happily ever after”. My parents were the reality that it was really “as happily as you could tolerate the other”, and not much else. I just believed that maybe, I would have a chance at a better marriage and life than the example I watched growing up.
Of course, having the dysfunctional example growing up, I really had no idea what it meant to be in a healthy, functioning relationship. I also realize now, this is more than common among people in my peer group. So, there were all these dysfuctional people looking for relationships, really having no idea what makes a successful, happy relationship.
That’s a pretty sad realization, particularly at my age where it is even harder to find someone, let alone someone who has taken all the negative experiences and used them to be a better person. At my age, it seems like most people have given up trying to be more and improve themselves. The questioning of the 20’s and 30’s has been lost to bitterness and resentment, mostly because they did not bother to figure out their parts in the negative experiences. God forbid we be honest with ourselves about our own mistakes, bad behaviors and involvement in making things worse.
Anxiety has always forced me to look at my own self first for any wrongs done. It has never allowed me to remove myself from all accountability. So when someone tells me they feel I haven’t acknowledged my part, I just laugh. Believe me. I know exactly where I errored and how and to what extend it contributed to the problem or situation. I’ve taught myself to only take that which I am responsible for and no more, and to not let anyone attempt to put it on me. It’s a standard that I won’t settle on. It is for my mental health so I’m not beating myself up over things I didn’t do.
My dream growing up was to marry someone who appreciated me and my role in their life and relationship. They did their share and I did mine and we worked together to create the life we wanted. I look now and realize that kind of relationship requires trust, respect, open communication and desire to work with another towards goals. Things I couldn’t have articulated when I was younger because those concepts didn’t expand to a loving relationship. My parents had none of these things and had no problem displaying they didn’t exist. It hasn’t been till my adult years and no longer being around the kinds of relationships my family created that I could see that there was more to being with someone than just existing together.
This year, even though I have no idea how to even go about it, I am focusing on the idea of a relationship, exploring how to perhaps manifest that in my life and find ways to actively work on this in my daily life. Wish me luck!