Over the past few days I’ve written about the importance of sexual values in relationships and when I explained about the questions you need to ask yourself before having sex, which are variations of the questions you need to ask yourself about your relationship in the wider sense, two of these questions served to remind me how easy it is for people to forget that everything in relationships is contextual:
Even if we are not ‘in love’ or have not said the ‘L word’, is there mutual care, trust, and respect?
Do I like how he/she treats others?
There were emails and comments that basically went along the lines of ‘He was really nice to every Tom, Dick, and Harry except for me’ as if this invalidates the notion of asking this question in the first place. But if you’re homing in on how they treat others and not how they treat others and you and whether there’s a disparity between the two, you’re missing the point.
Everything is contextual in relationships so anything that you think about someone needs to be related back to the context of you and the relationship.
The reason why I stress asking yourself about how you’re treated and how others are treated is for the very reason that we are inclined as humans that even when we are not personally experiencing something ourselves, to be riddled with self-doubt if we believe that someone else is. – What’s wrong with me?
There is no point in going on about how he’s kind to kids and animals if he is unkind to you. Are you feeling the milk and honey of his kindness?
There’s no point in going on about how everybody likes him if at the end of the day, he treats you with a lack of care, trust, and respect, never mind love. Do you like him? Does he like you? Do these wonderful characteristics filter their way to your relationship?
There’s no point in saying how he helps the old lady down the street – who cares? Yes it’s nice but you’d be surprise how helpful even the most depraved of people can be when they want to kid themselves for a few minutes! What does the fact that he’s kind to someone else mean to you and your relationship?
It’s great that he goes to church, is a pillar of the community, and claims to be a man of God but is he living congruent with his values? Or are you getting a Jeckyll and Hyde experience?
What’s the point in talking about his exes and how he was with them? You’re not in the same relationship, you weren’t there, and for whatever reason, these things are not a part of your relationship.
It is important to see the whole person – not just home in on the bits that suit you because it creates a distorted perspective.
Perspective means that you ask yourself all the questions and if one of them doesn’t stack up, how does it affect other things that you believe about them and the relationship?
So for example, if you ask yourself whether you’re treated with love, care, trust, and respect, and it’s a negative, but when you ask yourself whether you like how he treats others you get a positive, you know that:
1) You’re not getting that experience that others are. This doesn’t mean you make it your vocation to play Columbo and discover why and try to prove yourself and get validation, but it does mean that you use the disparity as a red flag that alerts you that something is wrong and opt out.
2) This person is not consistent or authentic because these qualities and characteristics are compartmentalised. Authentic people get authentic relationships and you need someone and also need to be someone, who is living congruent with their values. If you have ‘split personalities’, there are conflicts of interests and you (or they) will be doing actions that inadvertently undermine their efforts.
3) You’re probably not seeing them realistically. If you still want to be with them in spite of the fact that they treat you badly while treating others well, you have them on a pedestal, are cloaked in illusions, and potentially trapped in your own feelings.
You’re correlating other peoples experiences back to you believing that based on others, you can get it if you just do enough of X,Y,Z.
You’re here now and you’re not getting that experience – instead of looking at as a reflection on you, why are you not looking at it as a reflection of them and seeing them in a more real light?
Perspective and seeing the person and the relationship as a whole means that you relate your perceptions back to you and your relationship to see if these perceptions hold true and when they don’t, you use it as a signal to look closer at your relationship.
The boyf is well liked, an all round good guy, behaves with integrity, and respected by his nearest and dearest, but the fact is, if I didn’t feel the benefit of this, I couldn’t give a damn about any of these things.
Everything is contextual and you must see the wood instead of the trees instead of looking at individual aspects and not adding the pieces together.
Those things you admire? Unless you’re feeling the benefit of them, stop admiring and take them down off their pedestal so that you can get real.
Those things they do for everyone else or for their exes? Bothered-o-clock unless it affects your relationship positively. If it doesn’t, why latch onto it? It doesn’t exist in your relationship and in that context, it means that you’re holding onto something that isn’t real and are in denial – two things that make for a lot of pain. And remember, pain is not love, it’s pain whatever context you look at it.