I will tell you an interesting story.
When I was little, I wanted to have a dog. My parents’ acquaintance had a litter of puppies. I saw the four furry balls through the fence as we were approaching. I also saw a boy choosing a puppy before me.
“They have a good pedigree, you will be happy with your choice,” the man was saying to the boy who was about my age. “Well, except for the fourth one. One of his paws has not developed properly.”
“I want that one,” the boy said, surprising us all.
“But,” my parents’ acquaintance pointed out “you won’t be able to run and play with this one like with the others.”
Instead of answering, the boy pulled up his trouser. I was amazed to see a prosthesis for the first time in my life. “As you can see, I can’t run myself. And I think that dog needs someone who will understand him.”
The words I will never forget…
Those words sound loud and clear in my head to this day – even at this stage, when I know that the world is full of people who need someone who will understand them. Since the publication of my last book 100 Shortest ways to You, you have started to reveal your life stories to me with ever increasing trust, asking me: Is IT (my relationship) worth it?
This is one of the reasons why I wrote The Christmas Special to help people who are in need of understanding find their path to each other. Naturally, I cannot address each individual case from a distance; however, I am writing this article in an attempt to define the basic general boundaries between which a relationship needs to make it worth it.
Do you understand me?
We all have our own limits. We need to communicate to understand where the other person’s limits are and for the other person to understand where our limits are. What can we still tolerate and what is too much? How much should we sacrifice for the other person and when do we begin to lose our own life and our value? When is it still good to keep a dysfunctional family together for the children’s sake and when are the charged emotions and tense atmosphere detrimental for the children?
I realise that we are all different. On the other hand, I am an old enough dog to know that true love is not about finding the perfect person. The perfect person does not exist. True love is about finding an imperfect person with whom we can work on improving our relationship.
Work on this with me, please…
Yes, I have used the correct word. Love is about work. Just like success. Just like a career. Just like anything that is worth creating.
Therefore, where should the boundaries be and with whom is it worth working on a relationship?
1st boundary: Both still respect their differences
Opposites attract, according to the old adage. Partners do not necessarily have to be complete opposites, it is enough if they are different. And they are always different. All people throughout the world are different one from another. We can never agree with each other one hundred percent since we have different genes, upbringings, pasts, experiences, wishes, thresholds of pain, and decision-making methods. The boundaries in a relationship appear where the two people are able to disagree with each other. They can go their own way in the small details. This is not a problem because differing opinions add spice to a discussion.
Life goals, however, need to be in harmony. We must be on the same page. Both parties do not need to hold the same paddle, but they must paddle in the same direction.
Therefore, we shouldn’t expect our partners to approve of all our decisions any more than they should expect us to approve of all their decisions. We have our own truth and so do they. The success of a relationship lies in the ability to respect the opinions or wishes of the other person. You can never outvote the other person in a relationship. There is always either a clear agreement (both for/against), or a clear disagreement (one for and the other against). This is good. Partners are forced to seek constructive solutions that will benefit them both.
Just like two neighbours who have gardens with a shared fence and always meet at the gate.
This is the best solution because they always meet half way.
2nd boundary: Both still reconsider the original assumptions
I will give you an example:
Partner A grew up in a loving family. Everybody constantly expressed their love for each other. Therefore, this person likes to say how much he/she loves their partner and expects the same in return.
Partner B grew up in a rather pragmatic family, where energy was never spent on sweet words. This person therefore “does not have time” for any hugs, declarations or presents and expects a little distance from their partner.
How will partner A interpret the natural behaviour of partner B? As indifference? A lack of love? A reserved attitude? Or even unfaithfulness?
We all begin our relationships with certain “assumptions”. We expect the other person to behave towards us in a certain way according to our upbringing and past because this reflects the pattern we have lived so far. We don’t know anything else. Our friends support us in this. Quite logically – they are part of our past and our patterns. If you want to make a big mistake, discuss your partner with your friends. It is only natural that they will slander your partner because he or she behaves “so strangely”.
However, it is not our partner who is to blame. This all comes mainly from our assumptions, which may not have much in common with reality. What if your partner is not indifferent, reserved or unfaithful at all? What if this is precisely HIS/HER way of loving? And HIS/HER way of loving is no less true than OURS.
If we want to break the vicious circle of uncertainty over whether our partner ignores us or not, we need to ask the key question: What are the facts? Feelings are not facts. For example: “I love him but he probably doesn’t love me as much.” Nobody knows how much the other person loves them. We certainly cannot judge this simply according to the number of hugs (perhaps insincere ones), declarations (perhaps empty ones), and gifts (perhaps thoughtless ones). None of that may have any actual value. After all, even love is just a word before someone who gives this word meaning arrives.
Think about this when considering whether it is your assumptions rather than your partner that is killing your relationship.
Why do so many people think that others can read their mind?
Please, continue to the 2nd page