We don’t always notice the broken places in relationships – especially when the cracks seem small or we tell ourselves we’re being too sensitive, we’re overreacting, we’re misinterpreting…
When we fall in love, we’re skillful at avoiding any failings we may notice.
What We See, What We Don’t
When we’ve been raised to doubt our value, when our sense of identity is too closely tied to being in a relationship with a man, when we are not entirely comfortable on our own or we do not fully understand what we need, we are easily played, swayed, persuaded.
Especially when we hear the word “love.”
We overlook what a wiser head would not.
We may still be learning who we are in the world – or perhaps relearning – and so we convince ourselves of almost anything, especially if it eases pain or feels good.
The Cracks in Everything
Sometimes the cracks and fissures are like a spidery set of veins – fine lines, but posing no threat; the foundations are otherwise sound and so the presence of imperfections serves only to remind us that we are all fallible, flawed, fragile.
These are important reminders to take care, stay focused, tread gently.
There are cracks in everything.
So we tell ourselves: Be kind, count your blessings, do not judge.
In fact, we may reinforce foundations over time: Laughter and tears and lovemaking are the mortar; challenges and triumphs are the bricks; we complete our constructions to house our children.
Sometimes, fault lines persist. We think the foundations are sound but we are rocked by troubles we never anticipate. There are moments of breakage that we cannot recover from. We know the most common – a lie that reveals betrayal we cannot accept; an infidelity; an act of abuse; a persistent state of disrespect.
There are other types of breakage that we may not notice as they occur – yet when they accumulate, there is a sort of tipping point or a Domino Effect or a No Man’s Land into which we enter, with no capacity to return.
What Does Emotional Support Mean to You?
I’m thinking of our notions of “supporting” one another. I’m thinking or our assumptions and myths of loving “unconditionally.” I’m thinking of the difference between going through the motions and actively participating.
As for support, don’t we expect the ones we choose in our lives to be our stalwart fans, our heroes, our wing men, our better angels? Don’t we hope for cheerleaders to believe in us?
Too often, one person becomes the recipient of all the energies and attention we might wish to share and the other leaps, splits, smiles, waves, supports – whatever the climate and however long the game.
On “Being There”
It was years before I understood: My husband did not believe in me, in my competence, in my dreams, in the beauty of my depths. He preferred the shallows and I should not judge, but that is not where I wished to dwell.
There were cracks before we were engaged, there were cracks before we married, there were cracks as apparent in the early days as they are looking back from the vantage point of here and now, some two decades later.
I was the cheerleader, the pit crew, the backup on the sidelines. I didn’t know enough to ask myself: Does he truly know me? Does he want to? Does he believe in my talent? Will he respect my dreams? Will he be willing to share in the sacrifices that I need – as he expects that I will sacrifice for him?
A Wiser Head
When we’ve been raised to doubt our value, when our sense of identity is too closely tied to being in a relationship with a man, when we are not entirely comfortable on our own or we do not fully understand what we need, we are easily played, swayed, persuaded. Especially when we hear the word “love.”
We start from a place of cracks, of fissures, of breaks.
Now I am a wiser head. I do not overlook what I can see. I will not sacrifice my “me.” I will not sacrifice my dreams.