Get this right, and life becomes special!
You might well think the biggest investment in your life is going to be the property you purchase as your home, but I would beg to disagree. You see, I’m not referring to financial investment, but something which is so much more important and valuable if long-term happiness is high on your bucket list. Whether you’re straight, gay, or even bat for both teams. I’m referring to the huge emotional investment which goes into the personal relationships we develop with our life partner.
So, why do so many people get it wrong?
Speaking from my own experience, and those similar mistakes I have watched friends and acquaintances make, the answer and solution is quite obvious. We all started by choosing the wrong partner to create a meaningful long-term relationship with. It was doomed to failure right from the start! My first wife and I had quite unusual reasons to come together as a couple. But most people whose relationships don’t last make similar mistakes.
The solution is simple, don’t ever accept a second-best potential life partner. Take your time, get to know each other well, and never compromise when it comes to your future happiness. Remember, no relationship is always better than a bad one. By the way, sex is the worst reason for getting together as a couple. However good it may be today; a different day will soon arrive when more than good sex is a requirement to make you happy.
Only get together for the right reasons!
My first wife and I both got married for completely the wrong reasons, and ten years later this fact became crystal clear to us both. At the time, things just happened too quickly for us to keep up and think clearly. As a result, we were more thrown together, and neither of us had the space to make a considered choice about each other.
The big problem was her mother, whose actions triggered the landslide of events that permanently removed her daughter from her sphere of influence, and threw us together. Contact with her mom totally ceased, although it never stopped her mom from trying, and she constantly brewed and cast spells that caused misery and anguish upon her daughter. To say she was not a pleasant person was a gross understatement. I soon discovered her to be the Wicked Witch of the East, a village east of William Shakespeare’s home hamlet of Stratford-upon-Avon, that is. However, witch is a fitting clarification of her ongoing actions. Although, as a storyteller, I feel almost obligated to sporadic bouts of exaggeration. On this occasion, I’m being deadly earnest.
She was a truly evil woman, who could have quite possibly have been Cruella-de-Vil’s older and darker sister. For years she tormented and mentally bullied her daughter and poor husband as well as regularly interfering in our relationship. I could never understand her motives.
You need to get to know them!
Your first impression of someone, or even the second, third or fourth for that matter, can be as misleading as a master magician performing a well-practised illusion. At the beginning of our relationship, we’re on our best behaviour and generally present our persona in the way in which we want to be perceived, rather than how we actually are. Continually pretending to be someone we’re not is tiring, and soon our true character and persona become revealed. You need to know who the true person is and have the opportunity to recognise their true character as well as their virtues and abilities, or their lack of them.
We never had this opportunity, and my wife and I only experience that one short date together before becoming an item. As it drew to a conclusion, she became more and more nervous and distraught at the prospect of returning to her home, more specifically to her mother. She became agitated by how her mom would react to the point of freaking out. At first, I thought she was joking and kidding me. However, as we drove closer to her little village, she began malfunctioning to the point of hysteria. Although I didn’t understand or even believe what was about to happen, even for an insensitive lump like me, it was easy to see she was extremely alarmed.
I had unknowingly put myself in an unfair position for a first date. I had met her mom a few times already, then I met her again when I collected her from her house on the evening of our date. She seemed totally fine to me and a nice lady. Perhaps I should have been more vigilant. Surly the black cat cauldron bubbling on the fire and her pointed hat and broomstick by their front door offered a clue. My wife in waiting’s behaviour confused me and sceptically I wondered if I should drop her off and run, or should I help? For me, it wasn’t a difficult choice to make. Although others may disagree, I don’t think I am one of life’s sh**s, so I compromised and said I would wait outside in my car in case there was a problem. I didn’t think there would be! I couldn’t have been more wrong.
No sooner she walked through the front door than world war three began. Her mother started to breathe fire upon her, as well as shouting and screaming. I could hear every word which she said. None of them was pleasant or true, especially the distortion and attack upon my character. The sound of things being thrown around inside the house was hard not to hear. For the first time, I understood what it meant to have a nightmare neighbour, and I was so glad she was not mine.
We had both chosen our destiny!
My date for that evening raced out of the front door and jumped into my car and directly into my life, and without a clue of what to do next, we drove away. She was only seventeen, and I instantly realised her mother had exposed her to years of this type of abuse and torment. I can’t blame her one bit for running away from her inexcusably horrible mother at this, her first opportunity for freedom. Although, the question has to be asked? If she knew this is going to happen, why did she go out with me at all?
Had she engineered me into the position of obligation and becoming her minder. In just one voluntary action, she made the choice to become MY responsibility? Was I the fool in this sad scenario of events? I have wondered about this fact for so many years already.
She had very little experience in life and in establishing independence, and as a result, she stayed close and a hundred percent reliant upon me. In hindsight, she was too young and inexperienced to get married or start putting her life in order. Although it wasn’t always what she wanted, I made certain that she was comfortable and cared for.
Then I bought a house, and she naturally moved in with the speed and enthusiasm of someone claiming the winnings of a six-number lottery scoop. This marked the beginning of us living as man and wife. Why I felt we should get married, why I’m not totally certain, although she was quick to agree. Perhaps I became entangled in the heat of the moment? You see, we were out with another couple for a special soon-to-happen event. He was my old school friend, and I knew that tonight he’d produce a ring and propose to his girlfriend. Being a bit of a drama queen, and that the house renovations were complete, I felt a gate-crashing surprise coming on, and that this was a good time for it to happen. I followed his surprise proposal by making one of my own. I thought I was being romantic and I love a bit of drama. I suppose I thought marriage would bring stability and happiness to our relationship, and I think for quite a while it did.
What heterosexual man wouldn’t want to share a bed with a good-looking girl where the sex between us was excellent? The ostrich side of my personality swept the fact there were fundamental flaws and problems between us and hid them under the carpet. Shame on me. My reason for marrying her was simple, but not a good one. I felt I could change and mould her into the woman of my dreams. BIG MISTAKE! None of us has the right to change anyone unless we’re willing to change. Her reasons for marrying me were transparent. They were simple; I was her provider and protector, and perhaps she also felt obliged to marry me? Another poor-quality decision, whatever her thinking.
We both married for the wrong reasons, but being older, I was the leader in our romance, and so I have to accept the bigger proportion of the blame. I must have felt safe and secure in our relationship, as it lasted nine or ten years before it fell apart, both suddenly and dramatically. For most of this time, I think we were friends, and certainly, we had lots of fun together.
I never saw it coming!
Although the cessation of our marriage thankfully came to a swift conclusion, my levels of self-confidence and ego had suffered a severe mentally damaging blow, and for quite a while I felt six inches shorter. I was approaching forty and suddenly felt as if I was back at the starting gate. I was, and the feeling was, an uncomfortable one, although this time I had the valuable knowledge of the mistakes of a failed relationship to draw upon in my next attempt at romance. I contemplated deeply where it all went wrong and wrote down all of my faults and failings, the ones I recognised anyway, which was a truly cathartic process.
However, as the winter days grew shorter, I become lonely. I missed having someone special in my life to be there for, and someone until recently who had been there for me. I had grown fond of being a player in this team of two. I wanted this gap filled and knew I wouldn’t make the same mistake again with the next lady. In a strange sort of way, I was grateful to my now ex starter-wife for the precious education she had provided.
This time I knew what I wanted from my relationship, and one of my requirements was someone who was keen to conceive and grow a baby together. Although, quite selfishly, I DIDN’T want someone who already had children. Absolutely not. I had dated a couple of ladies with children and soon discovered this was about as smart and painful as cactus wrestling.
An untraditional solution!
I have many Asian friends, mainly Sikhs and Hindu Indian, and I often admired their relationships that without exception they seemed to last a lifetime! Even though often, they hadn’t even seen each other before their wedding day, their relationships work, and work well! The rationale of this scenario is simple. They build marriages on the rock-solid foundations of respect and commitment. Especially when compared to more shaky relationships of the western world built on the far less reliable shifting sand foundations of looks and love. In the western world, as many as one in three such matrimonies end in divorce. Even more, long-term relationships fail bitterly and result in unhappiness. People fall out of love and looks fade, but people rarely fall out of commitment.
Armed with this simple strategy, the choice was a simple one to make, and so I married a pretty southeastern Asian lady from the Philippines who I never tried to change. She was very familiar and happy to work at and establish a relationship built upon commitment. We always tell people we had an arranged marriage, which is partly true, although we generally omit the full facts and that it was us who arranged it. Love and a very interesting marriage, as well as our pretty little daughter, followed in quick succession. So did rowdy arguments on a daily basis. Initially, this startled me until I soon learned that because you argue and disagree doesn’t mean you have a bad relationship, it doesn’t. In our case, it simply highlighted that one of us enjoys heated debate and arguments as well as possessing a thirty-thousand volt, lighting fast temper. Generally, ours are friendly and loud mutual disagreements, and our commitment to each other and our family meant we quickly learned how to compromise and overcome such silliness and we settled into dysfunctional family life.
A good relationship generally commences with a collision of two good, well-matched individuals and someone of equal commitment to yourself, so please consider this carefully before accepting second best.
Please remember, no relationship will always be better than a bad one.