A friend said to me the other day something that resonated with me greatly, when we were discussing relationships and the problems or non-problems thereof: “It is important to separate, in a relationship, your own personal issues and development from the issues and development of the relationship.” Well, she didn’t say it quite like that, but I was already getting drunk off some wine that I was drinking so I disremember what it was exactly, but that was it’s general import. It struck me because it was something I had been attempting to articulate to myself internally, but had not yet arrived at in the cusp of outside understanding, which of course is why we have friends, so that they can state the unstated for us.
This is an important insight, on many different levels. At its most obvious, we must pay heed to the distinction of restraining ourselves from blaming our own internal problems on our partners, or from projecting our insecurities on each other, or what have you. But at an even more fundamental and general level, think of this in application to our relationships with wider society. How often do we blame our own issues on the problems of our society?
But let me disregard the more abstract and generalist applications of this idea and bring it back to myself. I have discussed my problems with over-analysing my relationship in the past, and it is a constant issue with me because I have strongly defined myself based on long bouts of loneliness, self-sufficiency, and a lone wolf lifestyle. For me to be in a long term relationship is still something that I find to be a novelty at times. I thus almost automatically question it and challenge its presence. How essential is this to my self-definition? Is this restricting my ability to be myself? These are the terms by which I question things. But we must note that these questions are fundamentally skewed, when brought into the light of the original insight with which I began this post. Because I bring my own personal issues and stages of development and project them onto my greater relationship with my loved one, thus delimiting the capacity of my relationship on the terms of my own need and hubris.
Because the fact is that my relationship is quite beautifully stable in and of itself. It is only when I bring my own personal instability and lone wolfishness into the mix that I complicate and negate positive things. In separating my own problems and personal issues out of my relationship, and in learning to distinguish these issues from whatever issues I might share with my beloved, am I able to better appreciate what I do truly have before me.