“One of the sources of pride in being a human being is the ability to bear present frustrations in the interests of longer purposes.” – Helen Merrill Lynd
This is certainly true but how much frustration is too much?
Each of us has to answer that question individually and one day may differ from another. You may want to kill him/her one day and want to love him/her to death, (no pun intended), the next… or the next week… or month… or year.
How we deal with our frustrations and the issues that cause them is again a very individual matter. From the outside, someone may wonder how does he/she put up with that crap? The thing is; no one can ever judge a relationship from the outside. Only the people in it who are involved can know what they feel, and what upsets them and what they do about it.
In counseling couples, I have heard it all. For some, it’s the tiniest thing that gets them furious while for others it has to be Mount Vesuvius going off. We all have our own toleration levels and they can change at times.
Sometimes we are on overload and the littlest thing upsets the apple cart. Sometimes it’s things going on outside the primary relationship that make it go off track.
Many times women will ‘settle’ while men will ‘demand.’ Call it sexist, I don’t care that’s the way I see it, time and time again.
Love causes all sorts of strange behavior, in the best of them!
When working with couples who think they want to end a relationship I always ask what might have prevented this from occurring. My background is educating people to hopefully avoid problems.
Most say that the things that attracted them were so strong they excused or thought the qualities they came to dislike and not want to live with were minimal or ‘cute’ and might go away. Lots of luck!!
We all hopefully grow and change. Our values can be altered as we experience life. Our relationships go through ups and downs and are tested. Some couples grow up; some give up!
There is little that anyone can tell people who are ‘in love’ that would stop them from getting together. It could be the most outrageous personality trait to the smallest habit; it doesn’t matter.
Once that passion rules, there is little if any chance of stopping the process from moving ahead
It’s like many things in life; prevention doesn’t do it… we respond to crisis. Then it’s usually too late.
By the time couples come for help the pattern and feelings have been well established and are difficult to break up. However, people like myself and other counselors have had successes or we still wouldn’t do what we do.
The reason for this blog is just the reason; learn before you shop for the china and dress!!
They say that couples from similar backgrounds and values and goals have a better chance of living a long time happily together. It certainly makes it easier. It can also make it very boring unless you spice it up.
Couples who treat each other as they might a stranger with kindness and politeness find that helps.
Watch how he or she treats other people and close family and you might get a glimpse of your future with this person.
Not everyone is a chameleon or sociopath!
So what do you wish you had known beforehand? Was it hidden or in front of your face? Did you disregard it? Overlook it?
Humor helps get us through this tough life but some things are not funny. Sometimes people use it to hide real feelings. Sometimes they are busy criticizing others to hide what they are or to feel superior when then don’t really feel that way. Sometimes they are just selfish and only care that their needs are met. Sometimes they have to be in control. Sometimes they are just really not interested or curious and are depressed or boring. Take a look… first at you and what you need. Then take off the rose colored glasses and see what you are dealing with. If your feelings can tolerate what you don’t like it may be fine for a while BUT in time it may wear thin…. or out!
So, can we be forewarned?
The answer is yes, intellectually. Will it prevent us from making mistakes? Probably not.
The good news is that many of us learn from just those mistakes and then we can have hope that the next time will be better.
“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.” – O.S. Marden