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.