Bittersweet Victory

If you’re in a long-term loving relationship, you might have had this argument:

“I love you more than you love me!”  “Nah uh, I love you more!”

Trust me, it’s not an argument you want to win.

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Enlightenmentors in Relationships

Every once in a while, in (I hope) everyone’s life, someone comes along who helps show you things about yourself that you never knew.  They facilitate learning about yourself and help you discover truths that you weren’t even aware existed.  From that point on in your life, you are changed and even if you tried, you couldn’t go back to the way you were again.  I like to call these people Mentors.  Yay, capital letters.  A Mentor is someone who will challenge you to be a better person, and who cares enough to ask you to explain yourself just so that you yourself will learn about what and who  you are.

This is heavy stuff.  But, I think everyone can think back on their lives and find an example of one or two people like this, at least.  If not, I suggest you find one, because a life lived unquestioned is a life not lived at all.  What I want to explore in this post, though, is what happens when your significant other (SO) is such a person.

There are four scenarios as I see them:  First, that you and your SO both mentor each other.  Second, you are mentored by your SO.  Third, you mentor your SO.  Fourth, neither of you mentor the other.  I would like to explore them one by one.  Keep in mind, though, that I don’t have very much experience with relationships, so I could be dead wrong on any of these points.

First I will address the case where neither of you mentors the other.  I would imagine, even though I don’t know, that such a relationship would be exhausting.  Each person would be unchallenged and stagnant.  If both parties are very very secure and comfortable with themselves and each other, they may be able to get along without growing as people.  I think, though, if one of them did find someone who could challenge them, it might end this relationship.

Second, if you are being mentored by your SO, I imagine you will feel insecure.  Your growth and possibly your self-esteem will be dependent on interaction with them.  I also imagine that it would get very tiring to be moving through stages of life that simply blow you away while your fellow traveler is where they always were, not being challenged.  You run the risk of becoming a very different person who will not be comfortable in the relationship any longer.

Third, if you are doing the mentoring, it can feel very good.  You are helping someone you love improve themselves and learn about themselves.  You are taking care of them and watching them blossom.  I feel like this is what I did in the earlier stages of my life with Melissa, and I enjoyed immensely.  I hope this is not an unfair characterization.

Finally, you mentor each other.  I think this is a very difficult situation to find.  Each person has to have something unique and powerful to bring to the relationship.  Each person cares enough about the other to want to see them become all that they can be.  I imagine that this can be very fulfilling.  If either of you are having an existential or philosophical or ethical crisis, the other will be there to provide guidance and get you through it.  If the spark stays alive, you can learn and grow and improve for the rest of your life together.

I feel like I’ve experienced only one of these four types of relationships, and I think I would like to experience more of them.  I don’t know which is the right one for me, but I think it could be the last one.  I am pretty solid in my understanding of my own world and belief system and philosophies, so I know I can help others see what I see.  However, learning is one of the most important things for me.  I would like someone who makes me do that for the rest of my life.

Another depressing divorceblog

So, Melissa is away visiting her boyfriend for the weekend, this is the third of such trips she has taken.

I am dreading her return; the first time she went, she told me that she loved him, and she might leave me for him.  The second time, upon return, she told me that she was definitely leaving me for him.  What more could there be for her to say?

It seems like being with him gives her the courage to tell me things that will hurt me.  They are things that should be said, if they are true, but nonetheless they hurt very much.  I am preparing for anything bad I can think of so as to try to steel myself against them: that she is going to move out immediately; that she doesn’t love me; that she won’t go with me on our last planned vacation to Costa Rica; that they are engaged; that she will never touch me again.  Some of these things are worse than others, I know.

Does anyone else have any ideas for things I might want to steel myself against?

I’ve got you, to thank, for this

The hardest times for me are the 1-3 hours nightly Melissa spends on the phone with her new boyfriend. I just have the most terrible urge to mope, and I am very lonely.

My strategies for dealing with this are mainly to distract myself by watching netflixes (always thought it should be netflices!), chatting to old college friends online, and now blogging. Being distracted helps but it is still the most painful part of my day.

How to befriend your soon-to-be-ex

When your marriage is ending, if you and your spouse are both reasonable and compassionate people, you will probably want to try to stay friends, if it is at all possible. If it is going to work, you will want to avoid a few pitfalls. Here are the tips that I have discovered so far going through this process myself:

  1. Don’t sulk. If you feel the need to sulk, go do something else to distract yourself. Or maybe you could start a blog!
  2. Offer to listen. They are no doubt feeling some strong emotions and might want to talk about them.
  3. Don’t talk about sex. Your ex will be turned off by it and think you are trying to get them interested when they are not.
  4. Be honest. Don’t tell them something just because you think they want to hear it. A real friend is not afraid to tell the truth.
  5. Don’t press them to talk if they are not ready. Sometimes people need time to process what is happening to them. They will talk to you when they are ready.
  6. Offer to do new things with them. Invite them to join you in taking a class or learn a new skill. These kinds of things won’t remind them of your old married life and will make them see you in the new light you want them to.
  7. Don’t spy on them. It will make them paranoid and that’s the last thing you want. The comfort level is what is really important.
  8. Ask for help if you need it. Most people are genuinely interested in helping the people they care about, and it’s a way to put yourself out there without being offensive.

I am still in the process of developing some of these guidelines, if you want to give me any tips please leave a comment! I’m not even sure these will work, this is just what I’ve discovered over the past few weeks.