Sometimes, we may not know exactly what we want, but we often know exactly what we don’t want. That in itself is a good thing– at least it helps us eliminate that which we do not desire in our lives. This is especially true, when it comes to love.
When we are dating, we all have some checklist of the characteristics we are looking for in a partner. Typically, these include traits like good looks, intelligence, a good sense of humor. Most of us seek someone who is kind and enjoys our company. And at first glance, it would appear there are a lot of people out there that can fit that bill– especially in the beginning, when we are all on our best behavior, presenting our best-selves.
Real moral dilemmas do not arise until the honeymoon phase is over. Once the lust-phase is over, and you are under one roof confronting real life problems that have to be addressed as a couple, this is when you really start to see a person’s true character. How we manage money, divide household chores, maintain work-life balance, and define family, are all difficult areas to address when you are not on the same page.
As tension builds, you can see that we all cope with conflict differently– some are complete conflict avoiders, while others beautifully rise to the challenge of finding solutions, and then there’s everything in between. Unfortunately, communication problems often exacerbate clashing styles for resolving conflict. And with each and every argument, if you don’t find yourself understanding each other better, that means the opposite is occurring– you are growing farther and farther apart, while also losing trust and respect with each and every seemingly minor spat, until the chasm between you has grown so vast that when you face the other person, it feels like you are staring at a stranger, or worse your mortal enemy.
If you find yourself lying in bed with someone that feels like your adversary, it’s inevitable that a new sort of checklist will start to formulate in your head– you start to weigh the pros and cons of staying vs. leaving. Only you can decide whether it is worth trying to save your relationship, and I imagine a lot depends on whether you still believe you can win back the friendship and love you once had.
My final key point to those that are conflicted is this: you may not know what you want, but at least be clear on what you don’t want. Love is not cold, harsh, mean, judgmental or unforgiving. Indeed it is the opposite of all those things. Love is warm, gentle, kind, sweet, understanding and patient. Love is the one thing we all seek, and that which we all deserve from those closest to us. Don’t accept anything less.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.