What shows up in the mirror of a close relationship?


I am sure most of us whose parents have separated and later divorced experience varying degrees of fear about marriage or even getting married. We can never quite believe that marriage is for life or will last as we have experienced the reality that sometimes ‘love is not enough’.

While my friends were dating long term I preferred the one night stands. The idea of committing to someone was a scary thought particularly at 15. I had watched friends, usually the females one, become broken people when a relationship ended. Why would I do that to someone when I knew the likelihood of remaining together was remote? That said I am aware of people from my school days who started dating then and who are still together now.

I had an idea I would not stay in N/Ireland and I had so many things to do that I saw a committed relationship as a milestone. That is not to say I did not yield to temptation and break my own rule. It was after the ending of one relationship that I decided ‘I needed to become the right person in order to find the right person’.

I remember seeing myself using relationships like a petrol/gas pump to fill me emotionally. I needed to become emotionally whole in order to give to another, not suck emotions from them like an emotionally drained vampire.

If we are depending on others to give us acceptance, love and everything else we are rather fragile and susceptible to seeking another once we drained the present victim emotionally dry.

But who teaches you how to love another particularly if you have witnessed negativity in your parents’ relationship? I like many things in life reach for a book. A friend who was studying psychology recommended the book from which I got this quote. It is a strange thing that I don’t remember the book nor the author though I have always remembered that quote. Our truth is like that it comes from anywhere and everywhere.

At university, I developed a close relationship with a fellow student and in time we became partners. I felt I had served my time and tried as best I could to sort out any outstanding issues. I faced fears about the future, what if we divorced, could I handle it. In truth I was probably processing my pain from parents’ divorce. There is nothing like an impending reality to make you face what you were always distracted.

As always my faith played a crucial role in me making the decision to ask her to marry me, she said yes and once we finished our degrees we married.

It didn’t take long for me to realise once I had ever present company that I quite enjoyed my own. That was quite an amazing revelation as all my life I had felt quite alone and believed that I sought company yet when it was constant I was then needing my own space.

Was it that because I had spent so much time alone as a kid that it became part of me without me realising it? Was it like so many other things only going to show up in the mirror of such a close relationship?