by Johanna Smith, Perth WA
It just so happens that since initially writing Blog Part 1… a man came into my life. We initially enjoyed a short but fairly committed and serious relationship.
We came from different backgrounds so at times there was a language and cultural barrier. Also, how we had been raised since childhood, and all the ideals and beliefs we used to get us through life came between us at times. These would show themselves as ‘issues’ that we could both see as something to work through.
I found this man to be open to the way I treat myself and the way I have today chosen to live – with care, respect, tenderness and love for myself. I found him to be gentle with me, understanding, simple, caring, considerate and supportive – with the ability to sit and talk with me, and listen… but most of all I found him to have been willing. Willing to work on a relationship which was more honest and true (a true relationship) to that which he and I had experienced before in our independent pasts. And we both had to work out what that was along the way for us. For me, it had been (and still today is) ‘me being all of me in a relationship’ – (something which continues to unfold in discovering how that actually looks and feels on a practical level, with all the daily activities such as work, chores, kids etc.).
While he was with me, he was there, without any part of him wanting to give up on the potential of a loving (and true) relationship. He allowed space for ‘us time’ in our relationship, whilst at the same time was mindful of the space and time I had needed to have for myself, and also with just my daughter. He knew how important each was.
After being in this relationship for a little while I started to notice and feel more of the dynamics of how I had chosen to be in all past relationships: I saw the patterns, ideals, beliefs that we as partners use to stop us from being our true selves – which ultimately stops us from being love with each other (until we had at that time addressed them). I was also able to see and reflect on: just how much I actually had chosen to ignore, numb and disregard myself during past relationships (I could see where I had accepted things or behaviours as being OK, knowing deep down they were not. And where I had become complacent as a partner, allowing such things to slide unexpressed, and sometimes unnoticed).
Reflecting on these issues and patterns (in regards to my recent relationship), they seemed like a much milder version of what I had experienced in the past, but they were, nonetheless, still quite big when I allowed myself to feel the issue as a whole – and its root (sometimes my original hurt went as far back as a very little girl). However, I can see today how I have been repeating those patterns over and over again…
So now speaking from my part – knowing that these issues have been present throughout all of my relationships, I have and am being given an opportunity today to really look and deal with them honestly.
At times this can feel a little overwhelming, and I catch myself for instance, over-eating (to numb what I am really feeling), or perhaps eating something I know that does not agree (i.e. bloats me or reacts) with my body. But now I have the awareness to stop and ask myself, “why?”, or “what am I doing?” and, “what choices will I make next?”.
To me it is actually really sad just how much unresolved issues can play out between two people – interfering with them being love with themselves and also being love with each other…
So, towards the end of this recent relationship I could feel an ‘uneasiness’ in me. And after a while, I realised that it was because I still had a few things to deal with myself: I had been holding onto an agenda or ideal picture (the exact same as I’ve done in the past) as to what a, and therefore our, ‘relationship of truth’ should look like and be. And I could see (then) how this projection of an ‘ideal’ was only colouring or tainting my commitment to him as a potential partner: tainting our connection and thus our relationship.
So, with this honesty I felt the true and loving thing to do was to focus on our relationship being friendship for the time being. And the beautiful thing is I could feel his understanding in this, and his genuine love for me.
So very recently my friend (i.e. my former and ex-partner) and I spent some time together with no pressure, being honest about how we felt and what was happening and had happened between us. We enjoyed our time together – walking, eating, laughing and chatting in a very playful and childlike way. It felt amazing! And I could feel that the previous hidden agenda I was running before was no longer there: that present was just a ‘pure love’ between us. I then said to myself – “this is what Love is!” and “Johanna! if this is what love is, then why can’t you have this in a relationship all of the time with a man – this man?!”.
I sat with my questions for a couple of days and then asked my friend (!) if he would like to re-commence our relationship as partners!
So at the moment… I can say that I am working on honesty and Love being a focus in all of my relationships (including with my now partner), and taking responsibility for how I express myself both in words and in actions.
I am forever learning…