Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Relationships that go wrong

I've been looking back at old photographs and feeling sad about relationships that have gone wrong through misunderstandings.

Trying to communicate well with another person's brain is extremely fragile. You can have patches were there appears to be no problem and then like the flick of a switch, the relationship turns nasty over a very trivial misunderstanding. The problem can just as easily be with oneself as with the other person.

My saddest experience was when someone younger than myself imagined that I was saying that I thought she was immature. I wasn't at all in the sense that she heard it. But her belief that I was thinking this became so set in stone that there has been no shaking it since then. Correcting such a wrong impression can take many years and it will only change when there is enough further sharing of activity that the misunderstanding becomes less important and for trust to be re-established based on present experiences. For this to happen, perhaps the two people have to share time together with visual contact so that a rich environment of communication exists. Working together in a situation were the two people are trying hard and are interdependent works wonders. Perhaps this is why relationships with a couple pulling together to survive with jobs , mortgages and children cements a good relationship. Perhaps this why wartime friendships between soldiers are so strong. Or why members of a pub team develop such close bonds. Something I witness at my local.

I believe that there are people who are highly susceptible to the possibilities of misunderstandings - they could have had really bad experiences earlier on in life and quickly assume that they are now experiencing a repetition of something similar to what happened before. There are others that are unbelievably easy to get on with - one of these said to me that he  had no problem even if someone  called him immature because this is what he believed he was - immature - with loads of maturing to be done ahead of him through his life. It wasn't an insult but a statement of fact with a future full of learning experiences ahead.

There is a magic ingredient for relationships to work well : trust - or is it familiarity and the belief one has no choice than just get on with it and stop looking for problems? If we believe change from what we've got is totally impracticable then we adjust to be more accommodating and making the existing relationship work.

I have been fortunate enough to be allowed to listen in to women discussing with each other the relationships they have with their partners. They have come to the conclusion that even though there are important failings in their relationship there is also a lot of good. They have come to be comfortable with the familiar. They know were they stand. Trust has become established.

The fact that some societies have developed where couples are brought together by the choices of the couple's parents and the partnership seems to work without this magic ingredient we call "falling in love" or "being in love". Could it not be that being stuck with the partner and learning to respect them even though they are different, actually works? And that the belief one can walk away any time we feel like it - doesn't. The grass may not be growing greener the other side of the hedge.  Perhaps the magic ingredient is self-belief and willingness to fight for one's own belief in oneself leads to the strength to be able to have strong relationships with others.

Perhaps the belief that relationships are dispensable because the vast communication possibilities provided by the likes of Facebook. When a relationship goes wrong, some people may believe that ditching it is the easy option because a new one will be better. In fact making one that is having difficulties is the one to go for because this is 'real' and will be far more satisfying in the long run.

Does any of this make sense. As they say perhaps its not rocket science and obvious to most people - they see it as that  rare commodity called "Common Sense".

Here's to not letting relationships make you feel sad, but instead focussing on the ones that go well or even moderately well!


Anonymous said...

You must be very sad to write those words!

Geoff Dellow said...

Not at all. Glad to be sorting this out in a way that others can share their thoughts.

Meet me for a coffee to see what you think first hand!

Geoff Dellow said...

Aren't having good relationships the most important thing in life? Which would you rather have: a really good set of trusted friends or a luxury car and house?

Which is the easier to achieve? Which needs most effort?

Anonymous said...

You can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.
I am difficult most of my mates are difficult
What Fun

Geoff Dellow said...

I'm at an age where I have no interest in pleasing people. I do appreciate straight talking to people who can cope with disagreement. People who are flexible in their thinking but know their own mind. People who are willing to commit to action in limited ways when convinced.
People with whom you can have what I call an 'honest' exchange of views. People who have a proactive positive approach to life.

My, what a list!

Anonymous said...

In order to see clearly we must stand on the shoulders of our ancestors.

Geoff Dellow said...

Wow, That's very wise.
This is perhaps why reading books by impressive authors can be so helpful.

I've just been reading a book by Doris Lessing that draws on the experiences of centuries of human experience: so insightful , yet pointing out the obvious - so obvious that we don't see it!