Wishing it was

Relationships- any sort of ’em- are complicated. They’re not always logical, or straightforward, or fit into our predefined notions of them. We go and involve emotions, feelings, things that dismiss rational thought to the back burner. We can plan and plot and justify and explain it to ourselves and others as rationally as we like, but in the end, it’s what we FEEL that makes relating to others a  great/awful/wonderful/uncertain/good/miserable experience.

It’s been on my mind a lot recently, in connecting and re-connecting with people, and watching others do similarly. I’ve often talked about the need to be intentional in relationships, especially those we want to maintain, to grow. And it’s been great to have that experience, with a lot of different people these last few weeks.

This is hard for me. I’m not an easy person to get to know. It has more to do with my own insecurities than anything, though I suppose that’s a trust issue as well.  Do I trust my friends to accept me if I’m open about who I am and what I think? I don’t always. Am I worried about losing that relationship, about rejection? Absolutely. I live with that fear, more than I’ll ever admit.

Logic says that true friends accept and love you, no matter what. Emotion clouds it. Emotion stirs up fear, and hope, certainty and uncertainty. It makes the doubts or excitement grow louder in your head, more defensive or aggressive about what you feel.

It came to the forefront for me this week when a friend told me that his significant other was cheating on him. I had no words for him. How could I? His trust, his faith in that relationship had been violated in the worst way. There was nothing I could say to make him feel better.  I listened, I helped, and tried to make things easier.

Sometimes, a relationship changing for the worse, or ending, is inevitable. There’s distance, time, changes in feelings, other commitments. Emotion says we’re sad or happy or relieved about it, but in the end, there may not be a right and a wrong to it. It’s my nature to (eventually) find that middle ground, and rationalize it that way. I’m analytical, and like to find compromise. I believe that even relationships have those shades of grey.

With a case like this with my friend, it was a little easier to make it black and white. Even if there was more to it (and there always is), both my logic and my emotion agreed here: His trust was violated. For someone like me, who struggles with insecurity and trust, that’s the worst kind of violation in a relationship, especially an intimate one.

But we need other people. We’re meant to live in community. And when you have those friends and family, relationships that are wonderful and lifelong, it makes it all worthwhile. We have to get past the hurts. We have to work, to be intentional about connecting with people, about supporting and being supported. It’s not always easy, but we’re meant to be together. Another case, I would say, where logic and emotion agree.

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2 thoughts on “Wishing it was

  1. Josh

    A wise counsel asked me recently ” are you living for an emotion? If so don’t” emotions lie to us and are actually not bound to logic at all, see Stockholm syndrome or the reason why a woman will stay with a man who is abusive. Emotions are based on subjective experience and even expressing them is based on properly communicating your experience to another person who may be having a different experience than you. I do agree with you that there is no right or wrong emotion, what we feel at any point in time is valid. here is a right way to respond to those emotions My experiences recently have taught me not to shut off my emotions but to live through by mastering them, much of what I talked about in my blog about being a real man applies to being intentional about relationships and ones own emotions. Our emotions are one thing, what we choose to believe and do about them are two different things. Tell your friend to take Tylenol, it will help with the pain from the heart break. I can see the ads now “Tylenol, it helps heal broken hearts.”

  2. DaveC Post author

    You nailed it. That’s part of why emotion and logic don’t always agree: They’re not measured in the same way.

    I like your blog, Josh (Readers, he’s linked on the right!), and can often relate and agree to what you write on emotion. Learning to express emotion in a healthy way can help all our relationships.

    I didn’t really know the details of my friend’s relationship, but my first instinct was to reach out, knowing what had happened, and what kind of state he must be in. He admitted that he probably wasn’t in a great state, and wasn’t afraid to admit that- I admired him. A couple of brews- or Tylenol, as you suggested- might not heal a broken heart, but people can certainly help.

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