Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Deconstructing Relationships

The word Relationship has two "Is" - looking at it one way each could symbolize the individuals involved. But right now I'm going to assign these Is two different definitions - imperfection, and insecurity.

As I crawl back into the world of relationships, I confront moments where I am reminded of the many facets that don't involve first dates, giggles and stolen kisses. Because along with all that fun stuff comes the reality of allowing another I-clad person into your life, and laying your own Is on the table.

Last night the Frenchman and I had a lovely meal, worked on some details for South Africa (he's going to visit at the very end of my trip) and enjoyed down town San Diego. At some point I made a joke in poor taste that ended up hurting his feelings. As I (with my head in my hands) tried to un-do what I'd done, which was to basically chide him for something that he has a lot of insecurity about, I realized that this was the first real touch of me and my imperfections meeting him and his.

As we sorted through what I'd said, and he in turn made a statement that ended up hurting my feelings (both of our actions totally unintentional and as far from malicious as could be), I realized that at some point relationships go from being surface-level and lovely by default, to deeper and lovely by virtue of really getting to know someone. Because now, in front of me, was the reality that to be with someone you have to admit to the pieces of yourself that you don't like, and accept that someone else can like you in spite of them (which was really my point in making the joke in the first place).

Nothing we were discussing was major or about deeply-seeded character traits - but this small experience did make me realize that this is where "baggage" comes up, because I was suddenly unable to imagine admitting to someone else just how far from perfect I am. I wanted to hold on to that glow I get when someone has fallen for me and I can do no wrong in their eyes. And yet that's not real, and what's more important than actually being perfect, is finding someone who you can be at peace with your imperfections with.

We both confronted this a bit last night, and I think we came out on top - our communication and care for each other remains strong - and while in the midst of it I was a bit panicked, in the end it was yet another confirmation that I'm more and more ready for the real deal. Whether this is it or not remains to be determined, but it feels real, and I know at the very least that I'm bringing the real me to the table.



Blogger NAME: Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

What did he say to hurt your feelings, damnit! Was it a tastes great VS less filling debate? Those are always heated relationship killers.

3/07/2007 7:46 PM  
Blogger Indiana James said...

That was very insightfully written. It's always tough to think or even believe that someone will love you back even with the imperfections. I think I was a victim of that with my ex. The line out of Forrest Gump where Jenny asks Forrest why he's so good to her comes to mind. The end of your 4'th paragraph was spot on. Sounds like you 2 are on the right track though. : )

3/07/2007 9:41 PM  
Blogger Princess Pointful said...

Definitely very thought provoking.
I'm in a relatively new relationship, and I kind of hate those moments when my imperfections shine through. I know we all have them, and I don't judge anyone else for having them, but I still kind of want his conceptualization of me to be a little more perfect than the truth.

3/07/2007 10:07 PM  
Blogger Peter DeWolf said...

Great post.

"what's more important than actually being perfect, is finding someone who you can be at peace with your imperfections with."

Sooooo well put.

3/08/2007 6:19 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

very well put. I think the true test of a relationship is being able to offend the other person and then rationalize and understand what happened. You have to be able to be totally honest and, sometimes, that can be harsh.

3/08/2007 11:22 AM  
Blogger Eve said...

Wow. That's so true, and so scary. Dangling over the precipice of real rejection/recognition.

3/08/2007 1:17 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

But don't you think that imperfections are sometimes the good stuff about people? Nobody wants to hang around with a perfect person. The fact that I can't hear/understand half the things you say to me, or that I get lost very easily, or even physical imperfections (of which we both have very few) are some of my favourite things about life.

3/08/2007 4:17 PM  
Blogger Airam said...

Exactly ... eventually it's time to take off the rose-coloured glasses and really see if there's a fit. It seems that most people always put their best foot forward early in a relationship ... but eventually you stumble. It's what comes after the stumble that can make you really see if the guy is worth the fall.

3/08/2007 6:07 PM  
Blogger Mood Indigo said...

Dr. Ken - sounds like you have my back :)

James - glad you can relate!

Princess pointful - exactly! Good luck in your new relationship, and don't be afraid to be YOU. Thanks for coming by!

Peter - I suppose that's what we're all after...

Natalie - honesty is SO important. It's amazing how we sometimes rationalize our way around it, or even keep it from ourselves in order to try and make things work. And they WON'T work, without honesty!

Eve - "dangling over the precipice" - that's exactly how I felt!

Adrienne - You are very, very right. Of course imperfections make us more interesting - but some people will hold them against us - that's when you know it's not right. I of course would never hold it against you that you don't understand me, just as you don't hold it against me that I'm a soft talker and I mumble :) In fact, I love all your imperfections - why don't we date? JUST KIDDING.

Maria - exactly! I'm feeling like he is worth the fall more and more, but we're still getting to know each other so I'm trying to take it slow :)

3/09/2007 10:11 AM  
Anonymous dionna said...

It was good that you took the time to talk through everything - these early misunderstandings form the pattern of later arguments . . . it's important to deal with them in a healthy way.
And ryc: I would have risked my stomach for peanut butter fudge too ;)

3/09/2007 11:29 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

This is a scary point, because you're invested enough that you can get hurt, and you want to seem perfect, but you want to be real...It sounds like you both approached the situation perfectly. And like you communicate well, which is fantastic.

3/09/2007 2:50 PM  
Blogger mysterygirl! said...

I really like this post. Part (not all, but part) of the reason behind my last break-up, I think, is that I had such a hard time letting certain "imperfect" parts of my personality surface, even when those parts might have been okay or even desirable or necessary for me to express. A lesson learned the hard way.

It's great that the two of you have been open in dealing with these things as they surface. That's certainly a positive development.

3/10/2007 10:29 AM  

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