Monday, February 28, 2011

Living in the shadow of past relationships



Occasionally, Gentleman Jack and I will have an argument.

Depending on our cycles (because I honestly believe he has a period too), the argument could be a simple misunderstanding that leads to an intense, conversational growth experience... OR... the argument could turn into an ugly blow out.

The problem I have, when it turns into a blow out, is that we're generally casting each other as our exes instead of seeing each other as we are.

After reading Jobo's, Nicki's and Misty's posts regarding similar situations with their men, it felt good to know I wasn't alone.

It SUCKS to live in the shadow of past relationships.

***

Obviously, our exes are called exes for a reason, right? I mean, by this point in our lives, we've already been through at least one, if not two... possibly more. With every relationship, we've grown, we've learned and we've also, in many cases, been shat upon.

Hence the reason, again, we're no longer in those relationships.

Again, that anger, those beliefs, the pain we felt isn't really gone. It is simply buried beneath the luster of "moving on" and "being strong". Until that pain is dealt with and looked at through healthy eyes, it's bound to raise it's ugly head again.

Relieving, healing and forgiving all takes time. I get that. What should we do in the meanwhile, as the current partners, in order share feelings that may stir up such pain?

***

From what I know, nearly 2 years into this relationship with my Gentleman, he didn't have much in the way of positive relationships with the females in his life.

  • His mom, divorced from his father when he was just a toddler, didn't enjoy being a single mom from what I gather. He won't talk about his childhood much. It sounds like he was either with his father (and his evil step-mother) or grandparents as his mother moved away. They seem to be close now.
  • An older sister, a powerful and strong woman, with whom the relationship still seems tense.
  • His exes, each with their own stories, and neither of them a "friend" to him, according to family.


How can you be married to someone who is not your friend?

And here I stand, his best friend and lover, a confidante, and... female.

When an argument turns ugly, I often find myself adamantly denying my "female-hood" so that I won't be compared to the seemingly loveless female relationships of old. I loathe to have irrational female feelings or emotions that might stir up an "oh great, here we go again" issue from his past. I don't want to be compared with those he's left behind. I don't want him to believe that I will do the same as them.

But... I AM woman. Hear me try to stifle my roar.

I'm learning to shout louder than the din of his past and say, "I am NOT them. Look at me NOW. I am NOT the enemy. It is NOT my mission to hurt you."

Most of the time it works. Other times... it feels as if I'm beating my head against a brick wall.

***

I do my best to be aware of my issues. I try to avoid the pitfalls of "oh he's just being a man". I am not a man-hater. Besides, if more than one man is pointing out something in me, I cannot deny that I am the common denominator. I allow GJ to say to me, "I am not your ex." It snaps me back to reality if not instantly, then after some analysis.

I wonder if men are as cognizant of the stereotyping? Yes, it's true, we are from Venus, we will never see eye-to-eye on many things, there are some things that don't seem fair. But dare I say, can't we all just get along anyway?

The truth is, in every relationship, we have our baggage and perceptions. Each of us are fragile creatures. There is a fine line between hurting and healing. We must tread carefully, with ourselves and our partners, if we are to continue to help each other.

"Relationships serve but one purpose: healing. But that healing can turn to hurting if no one's paying attention."

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