Sometimes I feel very strongly that life is like a training ground, and it teaches you today the things you’ll need to know in the future. It might teach you patience, perseverance, tolerance, strength of character, understanding, compassion… All kinds of things that will help you as you get older and experience more. Of course, it might not even teach you anything, but is that the fault of life, or of your own obstinate character?
A lot has happened in my life. I’ve experienced a lot of things, and learned a lot of things. Some things I’ve learned along the way is that some things are worth it, even if they cause you pain – the pleasure you get from it is worth the pain, and so you continue to pursue it. As long as there’s pleasure in it, of course!
I also learned that everyone has their issues or idiosyncrasies. A friend once asked me what I thought determined the quality of a relationship. I said:
“The quality of a relationship is determined by how much of the other person’s emotional baggage you can handle, on top of your own…”
– Alan Howard
I made that comment about 9 years ago. Since then, I’ve not found anything to prove it wrong in any way.
Everyone has emotional baggage of some sort, and the older you are, the more you’re likely to have. Even teenagers will have emotional baggage, even if it’s not as much as someone in their 50’s. But to that teenager, there’s nothing more important than their baggage… It’s theirs, and they’ll hold onto it with all that they’ve got. And it only gets stronger as we get older.
Many years ago I went out with a woman who caused me a great deal of emotional pain. It made me fear going out with someone else who had similar emotional issues as she had. But over the years since then, I’ve learned we all have our shit to deal with, and none of us are perfect.
Sure, we can seek perfection, but that just shows we’re afraid of dealing with the shit in ourselves and in others. We want to avoid it so much that we seek someone ‘perfect’.
None of us are perfect, so how can we ever hope to find someone who is. And even if we did, why would such a perfect being want to dirty themselves with our imperfections.
I learned to be a bit more tolerant towards others. To avoid rejecting someone just because they had some emotional issues. Hell, I’ve got my share of issues, it’s stupid of me to try and look for someone who doesn’t have their own.
But how much of someone else’s issues can we tolerate? That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it.
In February I met a woman online who had Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). At first I was a little scared because of my own past experiences. But as I got to know her, and got to understand how it affected her and was expressed, I started to feel I could handle it. I started to feel that with all the things I’d learnt over the years, and with how things were developing between her and I, that maybe my life had been preparing me for exactly this woman. Who I am now is majorly different to who I was 10 years ago.
The more we got to know each other, the closer we became. The person that she was, underneath the outer shell of emotional issues – and maybe even because of them – was the kind of person I’ve been looking for. Someone who would let me be me, who would accept how I wanted to have a relationship, and was looking for that kind of relationship herself. Someone who wanted someone like me, as much as i wanted someone like her. We fell in love, and everything seemed wonderful.
But it wasn’t, because there were these emotional issues to deal with… In both of us. And the challenges of working through our issues in an online relationship. It’s certainly not easy.
But we’re still there, still working on it. I admire her commitment, and I admire her strength. Even in the midst of the pain we’re both experiencing, we still want each other, and the pleasures that we feel the other person can bring us.
I love her, and oddly enough, I’m loving the growth I’m getting from our relationship. It’s painful… But she’s in pain too. The least I can do is join her in it.
Like everything, they say time will tell… I’ve said that a few times in my past. I’m saying it again as I look forward to this next great adventure of my life.
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