Behind Closed Doors – Real Relationships
Our perceptions of what constitutes a perfect relationship is distorted by such images. Our expectations are magnified a thousand times to reflect our deepest desires, our fantasies and dreams for that knight in shining armor. When we fail to achieve such expectations, our views of life, romance and relationships itself collapses, rupturing our sense of reality. We take these expectations aboard our relationship train, determined to ensure that the very fantasies and desires we have are fulfilled. We forget that our partners also have their own desires and fantasies packed aboard the relationship train, and often, these desires can be extremely different to that of our own.
As individuals, and as human beings, we interpret the world around us differently from others. What we see is not necessary what is being seen by another person. We each have our own in built beer goggles, or filters, which enables us to determine our sense of reality. The issue for many couples lie within the complexity and intricacy of deciphering what the other person wants, and then fulfilling these expectations. For couples, this entails revealing the very desires and fantasies that only exist in our own personal world, our world of interpretation and elucidation. This means sharing our thoughts, our wants and our feelings with the other. For many people, this can be extremely difficult. After all, our thoughts are exactly that, ours. Allowing another person to enter our mind, shredding our thoughts and feelings, and then re-interpreting them can be rather daunting.
Living by the images and the ideologies reflected in the media can cause mayhem in relationships. What we expect, and what we interpret does not always necessarily fit with what we experience. For some, this can cause distress and discontentment. We expect our other half to reflect the image of that knight in shining armour, and we fall very hard when we fail to attain this. So what does one do to gain a genuine understanding of relationships in a world so full of false images? How do we decipher what is normal, and what is unhealthy?
Firstly, developing a healthy perception of what is a normal relationship is important in ensuring that unrealistic expectations are not placed on your partner. People are different, and hold different values, thus learning to accommodate others is important when working through differences. Secondly, whilst the relationships or images conveyed of Hollywood couples appear to be ideal, it is important to gain a healthy perspective into what is real and what is fantasy. We all fantasize about having that perfect person, our knight in shining armour or our queen, but in actuality people have the capacity to be the horrible ogre or the evil witch. Learning to love your partner for not only the wonderful things that they possess, but for also the things that may irritate you is vital in ensuring a long and lasting relationship. Differences in relationships are important. It teaches us to negotiate, work collaboratively and to compromise, skills that are important to have in order to deal with the outside world. Giving and taking takes precedents. Sharing our feelings, and pulling apart our issues are important to allow the relationship to flow, to grow and develop.
Relationships are fluid, and are constantly evolving to accommodate our current circumstances and the world around us. Like a boat rocking on the ocean, you will encounter the momentum of going up and going down. There will be moments that will take your breath away, leaving you feeling blissful and content, and there will be moments where you will you will turn into the terminator, seeking to attack your partner. Nevertheless, relationships entail hard work, commitment and ongoing effort.
What we see in others does not always represent reality. We are all able to wear various hats in various social situations, allowing others to see only what we want them to see. It’s easy to hide our issues behind closed doors, and then step into the world as the idealistic couple, modeling the socially constructed representation of the perfect couple. It’s also easy to hide our issues from ourselves and from our partner in an attempt to maintain that false sense of perfection.
Overcoming our issues, and learning to identify problems before they arise takes hard work, and certain skills that can only be developed with time. Addressing problems together is important when seeking positive outcomes. Nobody knows what others are thinking. Unfortunately, we are not mind readers. We are not programmed to automatically understand what the other person is experiencing. Thus, we are required to express our thoughts, our feelings and our concerns openly and honestly. We have to be overtly obvious in our actions in order for the other person to recognise our efforts. Actions that are obscure in nature prevents issues from being resolved effectively. Seeing is believing, and sometimes issues are resolved with minimal effort simply by the attempts made.
Whilst appreciating the beauty of others, and the ideology of the perfect relationship can be fastidious, it is also important to maintain a healthy perspective of what makes a relationship. Differences should be received with enthusiasm, rather than repelled and resisted in fear. Actions taken to restore damage, or address issues should be palpable, and clear. Discussions should be honest and sincere. Lastly, expectations should be limited. Healthy relationships incorporate love and fighting, feelings of despair and feelings of elation, differences in values and beliefs yet compromise and negotiation. Whilst our need for the Utopian ideal of relationships to exist may cloud the lines between reality and fantasy, our experiences alone serve to replicate what is constituted as the real relationship.