The ideal relationship is being completely understood and accepted – right? But mightn’t that be a bit boring after a while? Often we’re attracted to people simply because they are different from us, and if that’s the case, total understanding is unlikely. Your relationship can be great if there are parts of you that remain a mystery, as long as there is enough contact in the areas that matter.
Do you want to be totally loved and admired? Will you settle for nothing less than an ideal soul-mate, close in every way? Get real! Few relationships are like that, and the ones that seem to be may be repressing a load of stuff, or pretending. It’s very rare to understand everything about another person, and there are dark corners in the soul of each of us that are difficult to penetrate. In fact, if you’re honest, there are probably things about you that even you don’t understand! Be careful not to use a complaint about not being understood as an excuse not to do your best in the relationship. Maybe you really want out. If so, be honest with yourself. It isn’t necessarily your partner’s fault that you’re feeling distanced, and what seems like lack of understanding could be your own affections fading.
There is no reason to believe that you have to share everything with your partner. It is much healthier to have a circle of friends who have similar interests. Your partner may not understand why you love shopping, or football, or going to the opera, but there will be friends who get off on the same thing, so share with them. After you’ve enjoyed the buzz, with any luck you’ll come back to your partner all happy and loved-up, and it won’t matter at all that they don’t ‘get it’.
There are some things that may be very central to your inner being. These could include your creativity, your spirituality and your core values. It may indeed be a deal-breaker if your lover totally lacks understanding of these things, for it may seem they ride roughshod over your ideals. For instance, if you are passionate about animal welfare it may be very hard to watch your partner eating factory-farmed produce. Or if you are a writer or a painter and you need time alone to do these things, but you’re continually interrupted by your other half who thinks it’s a waste of time. Or you may have religious observances or meditation routines that your lover tends to sabotage. In all of these cases lack of understanding is not the only issue. Tolerance and respect also come into the picture. In fact a person does not have to understand what you’re doing in order to give you time and space to do it. If it matters to you and harms no-one else, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect tolerance and support, even from someone who hasn’t a clue what you’re about, if they truly love you.
One of you loves order and can’t comprehend how the other can live in chaos, while the messy person can’t understand why the other is so ‘anal’. One of you likes to keep a clear record of bills and budgeting and is bewildered by the partner who can’t see the necessity and finds it boring and restricting. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and experience their fears and worries. Using your imagination can be the key to understanding.
It’s really important that you keep the dialogue going. You can only do this if there is respect, and a willingness to work on things. You also need patience and a sense of humour. He or she might not understand you, but if they’re willing to try, or at least give you the benefit of the doubt, is it such a big deal? In the end maybe you can learn a lot from each other.
Sometimes you inhabit different worlds and it seems like a gulf has opened up between you. However hard you try, you’re left in a lonely place. Without understanding it can be hard to trust your judgement and to believe in yourself. That’s when you need the wise input from our empathic readers at The Circle. Why hesitate? Peace of mind is just a call away!
PUBLISHED: 3 November 2014