I heard a phrase in a programme I was watching today: “I realised that he could be a man and he could change”. It started me thinking about relationships and why so many people seem to think that love is enough and that basic incompatibilities can be overcome “because we love each other”. I realise that when you’re in love with someone you wear blinkers to a certain extent and I myself have been guilty of that on more than one occasion but in the significant relationships in my life, I’ve been prepared to walk away when something basic was not open for debate. In one relationship, my partner wanted children. I’ve never wanted to be a mother under any circumstances and right at the outset I told him that if he wanted children, then he would have to find someone else as I had no interest in motherhood and would not change my mind. He, on the other hand, decided that he would put this particular ambition to one side as he regarded being with me as more important. Whether that would have changed in the future I had no idea, but even at the age of 22 (as I was then) I knew that it was more than likely that if the relationship continued for a long time and I maintained my wish, it could potentially become a big issue later on. I would never have agreed to have a baby for the sake of keeping the relationship going, even if that meant us splitting up. I never expected my partner to be more than he was when I met him but I don’t believe (from a lot of observation and discussion) that many people think the same way.
Many times when I was younger, I entered into relationships because I felt there was something missing in my life and I guess that I hoped at the time that the relationships would fill that void. It’s only been as I’ve got older that I realised the void wasn’t in my life but was actually within myself. I have no problem with admitting that I went through a number of years visiting a psychotherapist in my early 30s and, thanks to the insights that afforded me, I’ve learned a lot about human nature and relationships and, more importantly, I learned an awful lot about myself to the extent that I finally became comfortable in my own skin and content with my own company. Once that was achieved, I was finally able to be happy and no longer required validation from a third party. I’m not saying that I’m completely zen nowadays and that I always know where I’m going and what I’m doing. If I did, I’d be a liar.
What I have learned is that it’s OK to me. And it’s OK if people don’t like me or disagree with my beliefs and my opinions: I’m happy with who I’ve become and I feel that’s one hell of an achievement for me. I have absolutely no interest in getting involved in a relationship. That’s not to say that if someone suitable came into my life I’d run a mile – simply that it would have to be someone who could complement my life just the way it is. I’m not prepared to compromise anything about myself and where I am in life for the sake of being “in love”.