Long-term relationship: The struggle

25 Jun

I’m of the opinion that my quest to be a better partner boils down to finding a riding the sweet spot between being a patsy and being a jerk. Straying from that range is a recipe for trouble. Being a doormat sucks for the walkee, and the walker loses all respect pretty quickly. On the other hand being completely self-centered and ignoring the needs of your partner makes both parties hard to live with.

 

What I’m struggling with is how to adjust my own behavioral GPS to keep me on the right track. I want to be sensitive to her needs, but not afraid to let mine be known as well. Sometimes the path is wide, offering a number of positive alternatives. At other times it seems like I’ve wandered into a behavioral cul-de-sac, where there is no way forward without backtracking.

 

It isn’t easy and the benefits aren’t always obvious. It doesn’t always seem worth it. I’m often tempted to just give up (like my parents and all of my aunts and uncles and a great many of my cousins and friends have). I haven’t yet for a variety of reasons, and I keep telling myself that they are all meaningful. Not yet willing to think about alternatives. Probably never will. I may be a bit like the frog in the bucket with the water getting progressively hotter. If he ever wakes up to what is going on he will hop out without first torturing himself with insecurity about what is on the outside of the bucket. So far I am focusing on keeping the water cool enough to be livable. Seems to be working for now. Hasn’t killed me in 20+ years so far.

Wish me luck.

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