Relationships and identity

Discussion in 'Family, Friends and Relationships' started by MorganaNever, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. MorganaNever

    MorganaNever Well-Known Member

    I know how it seems everyone just wants a relationship and hates loneliness but is there anyone like me who feels they are better alone and who cant handle that type of partnership?

    I never longed for a relationship, they would happen to me, and i was never able to put lot of myself into them usually ending with the other person doing everything to keep it going and my biggest problem was just breaking up cause id feel bad for them. I never thought there will be a situation where a relationship can take a tool on me, mess me up emotionally.

    I think i was mature intellectually to appear like i can handle things but i wasnt mature emotionally-- its not just age, i dont know why. But after falling in love and starting a real relationship my life and sanity degraded. I cant handle it emotionally, it is so difficult. I know it depends on a relationship but big part of the problem exactly was that i had to grow and learn everything and it was a painful damaging process on both sides. Love binds me with this person but i know id be happier alone, and if anything ever happens i dont think i would ever commit myself again. I also changed my sexual prefrence i think but thats another story.

    In many ways i feel i unintentionally tricked my partner and it is a painful realization. He is older and we bonded intellectually so he thought i was mature or my age (8 year age difference, no big deal). But its hard to live with someone who is in a different stage of life, its almost putting him in a position of being a parent to me in some ways whereas i am hurt cause instead of learning trough life at my own pace i have to hurry and learn and its often not a nice fun experience.

    But my specific situation aside, i wonder why people desire relationships and how do they manage to function and not lose themselves in the process if they are still relatively young and not fully formed and defined (20ies but even later). How do people accept each others differences and freedom and dont end up bitter and damaged?

    I dont know many good relationships that last, there seems to be much pain in most of them. I love my partner but i need to be my own master and i cant find that balance, cant be me without hurting him, and i dont know why its so difficult. I ended up so lost to the point where i dont even know who i am, what i want, and how to get to what i want. And since im not alone, every decision and every mistake has to affect someone else, even i its only my bussines. I cant even be depressed without the additional weight of hurtig him, and the other way around. How do people handle it and dont lose themselves?
    Specially if their life still isnt shaped and they have a lot ahead, like choices about career, living in a new place etc.

    For that matter why does anyone ever want children? I know for me it would be worse then dying and am glad that that is one thing at least i can be sure about that it wont ever happen to me.

    Am i insane or do others feel it too cause it seems like all everyone wants is these things.
  2. marklondon

    marklondon Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to say thanks for writing this. You've put into words so much of what has been bothering me for the past year (or more) but I couldn't really articulate. I'm afraid I don't have any real answers to any of those questions, because they're exactly the questions I keep asking myself. I suppose the only way people ever have relationships is to put these questions aside and take a leap of faith--I really have no idea whether it's possible to say more than that.
  3. gloomy

    gloomy Account Closed

    If you're both at the same point in your lives, then you can sort of relate to each other and help each other through, and I think that there's a lot to be said for going through things like that together.

    I know that this isn't exactly the same thing, but I don't really have many relationships in my life to compare it to, so this will have to do.

    Last year I was hiking in the Himalayas with my guide (loners need guides) and there was all of this incredible scenery around me and I kept wanting to stop and take it in. Where I live, you really don't see 8000+ meter mountains every day… so I knew it was amazing but at the same time I really felt like I needed to bounce my amazement off of someone, maybe just to make sure that I was really amazed.

    But every time I looked over at my guide, he was just like 'yeah, it's great'…because he had already seen it probably hundreds of times. And that was the point where I really wished I had managed to find a friend… or even just someone else to come with me, so that they would be amazed as well… because seeing that look on his face actually sort of killed it for me. The whole reality of it being a tourist thing where hundreds of thousands have been before and felt exactly the same feeling in exactly the same way came crashing down and it really kind of sucked, considering one of the only reasons I go traveling in the first place is to potentially feel awe at something new… basically, that's one of the most important things keeping me alive right now, and this guy sort of took half of it away from me.

    But yeah, I'd say that the only reason that I would ever get into a long-term relationship, besides sex and not being lonely, is probably to have someone to bounce things like that off of, someone to discover with-- not someone to just 'be' with. People feel things on their own, but they also sort of feed on the reactions of others and then together those reactions become a lot more than their separate parts… or a lot less.

    If you have the wrong person with you for those moments, then it can really wreck them… that's why I'm more afraid of a bad relationship than being alone. I don't think that it's reasonable to expect the perfect reaction from the other person at all times, but you really do need to be in the same headspace for the big, earth-shattering moments or it's going to make you start wondering why you're with this person.

    I suppose that you can achieve all of this with a good friend as well… which is why an ideal relationship would probably be between likeminded friends who are perfectly open with each other and completely clear about each other's intentions. The sex wouldn't even be important if you had that… because you can always work on the sex… or to be honest, do without it. There are a lot of things in life that are more stimulating… I know because I've seen some of them.

    I think the big thing nowadays is people think about the sex first and if it isn't immediately there then they completely write it off-- and they'd probably rather meet someone who had sex appeal but no real connection and then watch the sex appeal dwindle than meet someone who they really connect with and then work on the sex appeal… and they'd be more likely to regard the latter as a waste of time. And there are so many options and so many choices out there that it doesn't really matter if something doesn't work out, because you can always go on to the next-- actually, I think some people are so plagued by choices that it makes it impossible to make any choice whatsoever and the whole process is daunting.

    It's not just an intellectual connection either-- it's more visceral than that. Intellect usually has more to do with how you see yourself than how you actually are… and it's nice and altogether possible to really connect over the big ideas or what-have-you, but I suppose it all depends on keeping things moving along and staying fresh, and after a while you need to feed the fires, so to speak… older people can offer you all sorts of new information and perspective, but then there's also the danger that when you actually do get to that age and realize where they're coming from, then you'll realize that what used to be so special and so unique is actually really common and not so special after all…

    Yeah, those are my thoughts for today.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2012
  4. MorganaNever

    MorganaNever Well-Known Member

    Marklondon- it is good to know im not alone in these feelings. I think taking a leap of faith is what i did, i guess depending on circumstances it can end up better or worse. I think i had a problem where it happened to quickly and involved me moving to another country and really ending up knowing only my partner, so a lot of the whole identity loss and confusion probably comes from these factors too. I think when people just fall in love they feel a fascination with each other and want to do a lot. Then as they realize no one is just perfect and the things youd never expect can turn into problems when youre truly close, someone starts keeping some score and people start putting all the pressure of life on each other. People in love need too much intimacy and its difficult to keep some emotional independency without hurtig that intimacy. Balance is hard, its easier to pick extremes. Unfortunately relationships can be a long record of mistakes that keeps pulling you down until it breaks. It is hard to just clean the slate and start fresh if things are wrong without breaking it once the dynamic is set.

    Thats the worst because even after you realize the issues and get wiser, it can still be impossible to make changes that are fundamental. Then two people who can love each other get stuck in roles neither likes and you just have the other to blame.

    I think we want love cause other people are what defines us, in a sence, who you are in yourself is very complex and fluid, but with people in your life you get a "character" that you then feel is you. Falling in love is great not just because we feel we met someone amazing, but also because there is someone who defies us as amazing, funny, smart, beautiful... So it must be true. Its a wonderful high. But when that same person starts seeing flaws (real ones or subjective ones, or often projectons of their own), its as if they are suddenly transforming us into a loser, a jerk, or whatever. Two unhappy people are like two mirrors pointed at each other that start magnifying details more and more until you hate the you you see in them.

    I dont know how to escape it. If you protect yourself fully like i used to you can only feel the highs and avoid this, but you cant really achieve intimacy that leads to love. But that intimacy is what will eventually make you vulnerable. So you need to have lots of trust and prefrebly keep other outlets such as friends, family, collegues etc close so you keep other personas alive and dont fully depend on one persons definition. But even so, its hard not to be affected when your partner will still be the one who knows some depths others dont.

    Problem is also misintetpretation- eveb when someone knows you they dont necessarily understand your true reasons and implications of everything, so they think it means sth it doesnt. But then just the fact you have them believing it makes it true.

    One of the hardest things i had to learn was how little pure facts and fairness matter, how really relative it all is. You want to resolve all with a bit of logic, prepare your case like in the court, and somehow you only get a disaster. Relationship is like a bizzare world gouverned by two and every rule is a relative thing coming from two human psychologies that are shaped by personal complexes, ideals, weaknesses.. With best intentions it is still messy.

    One thing i can say though is that avoiding it all leaves you in a secure bubble, but sometimes you cangrow complacent and stop some deeper emotional development. Being with someone you love is constantly forcing you to examine yoursef, to work on yourself and to grow. I have learned a lot and gained insights i couldnt imagine before no matter how much theory i can have. It turned me from a self obsessed kid into a real human. Problem is, being a real human can really suck and we need our illusions. Sometimes its them than make us do anything, and without them it gets very empty and lonely
  5. MorganaNever

    MorganaNever Well-Known Member

    Gloomy- great example and you mentioned many things that are going trough my mind lately. Specially the need for a friend in my partner and sharing the experience.

    Great imbalance in my relationship comes not just from (sometimes trivial) age difference, but also totally different life experiences. I grew up in one place, not much trauma, middle class, not many worries and only academic requirements i didnt have problem meeting, everything was just a theory for me. I only started living alone and even that wasnt much of a change since my family was still close and life was so on track it made me slightly bored and careless.

    He was living on different continents his whole life, changing shools and dropping out, working in different places, having some very bad experiences on many levels, almost dying, counting fully on himself, experiencing almost everything.
    It made him very alert, untrusting, and seeing the world in a very unique way.

    For a short while we were friends before getting together, he wanted it and i was scared to commit. When i did realize i love him and will take a leap of faith, he was left with some hurt feelings. It seemed his love was a given thing cause it was never in question, and mine was sth i need to prove or it will seem it isnt as great as his was for me (not true, but i understand). For me to prove my trust and dedication i started letting him take more control and bigger involvment in my life, unfortunately it then shaped our relationship.

    He was always the one showing me things- we liked it because he did introduce some great things to my life and he loved it because (i think) he felt i am this potential he can introduce his world to (that he shared with no one) and shape me to be his perfect person. Like he was showing me mountains he saw million times but my excitment made him feel he sees them for the first time. But i understand your story and disappointment you felt in the guide to whom it was after all a normal thing. Sometimes i wish he wouldnt know it all can figure things out with me slowely instead of just giving me answers.

    Problem is he (feels) he knows it all and i cant win an argument cause what do i know. He has his best way of doing everything and theres no room for me to discover on my own. Everyone sometimes feel the need to mentor, everyone sometimes needs to be a studnet, but everyone also needs a friend and i feel i lost one in him.

    Take cooking for example- i was always looking forward to the fun of experimnting together, just having fun.. He however acts like gordon ramsey in kitchen nightmares or whatever its called. He is very good at it and learned it while living alone but every time i try to do sth i end up getting yelled at for every move i make, rushed, until i get totally confused and dont even feel like doing anything. Then only he can do it right and i feel like shit cause i want to be able to participate fully, ad not just depend on him. This is just a small example but it goes to the deepest levels- he knows why takig one job will be a mistake (hey, he worked everywere he knows what hes talking about, right), how i need to structure my time, how i need to talk to people... Even if he is right about some things, i dont want these shortcuts. Then we can fight and he can say i wouldnt be capable of life without him- i would and was, id just learn from MY mistakes And not his criticism.

    And i have no friends here where i moved and i wish hed be on a same page rather tren mr perfect, i wish he could be clumsy, insecure and uncertain himself and we were each others support. Id rather eat burned food and laugh about it until we learn then listen to speaches about doing things right, eveb if the intention is good and it makes all the sense. Sometimes a little understading means more than a wise advice and set of instructions.

    I am scared of what i am going to become and if my perfect me and his perfect me arent the same people.