Love is not meant to be perfect, and running away is rarely the answer to any problem

I feel so bad that I haven't been blogging lately. I had a good streak going for a minute there, and then I dropped off the face of the planet for a few weeks. Even Twitter has not been graced with my magnificent presence (lol), and THAT is saying something, because I was addicted to it!

So what have I been up to in my absence? Well, the big piece of news is that I got back together with my partner of almost 13 years. If you follow my blog you know that we broke up in early February. There is so much I could say about that. There were so many different reasons that it wasn't working at that point, but I think it really comes down to communication. Every problem we had has been solved or at least smoothed over by honest and open communication. Ironically, breaking up gave us the freedom to have that kind of honesty, and that honesty is what brought us back together.

The door opened a crack in late March, and we've been gradually opening our hearts again since then. At first we had said that we would start over from scratch, date each other as if it were new, possibly date other people, etc. The trouble with that is that it's been almost 13 years. We've still got the "old married couple" thing going on even if we're only 27. There's too much comfort for this to be "new." Starting over feels fake. Starting right where we are feels natural. And not putting so much pressure on each other for everything to be perfect? That feels wonderful.

I've learned a LOT in the last four months, but the two biggest lessons are these: That love is not meant to be perfect, and that running away is rarely the answer to a problem.

About love not being perfect... Relationships are a daily thing. The gloss wears off and the comfort sets in. That doesn't mean it's OK to take my love for granted. I must put in the work, but I must do it with love. If I am unhappy, I'll change yourself, not try to change my partner. When I'm unhappy, I should say so, but I should also express when I'm happy! I learned at a young age to repress ALL feelings, to be as invisible as possible, to protect myself. That might have worked in childhood friendships but it does not work in adult relationships!

About running away not being the answer to problems... I'll give you the disclaimer with that one: If you're in an abusive situation, obviously running away might in fact be the be-all and end-all of answers! But in a relationship that has a strong foundation but just needs work in the present, there is a lot to be said (and that's an understatement) for honoring your commitment and communicating with your partner. I now feel that I should have spoken up about the things that I felt were killing our relationship, rather than just letting them build up and then leaving. I don't know if that would have saved things. Honestly I think it might have taken the breakup to save us, as messed up as that sounds. Regardless, I handled it badly. I'm ashamed of my cowardice and the damage I caused.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have another chance at this relationship. I am still as in love as I was on day one--in fact, it's much deeper now, as it should be. The good and bad years we've gone through have only made us closer and strengthened our bond. I think the kind of love we have is rare. I see how many struggle to find what we have, and I feel bad that we have messed it up so many times--but then I really think that's all just part of the journey, and that it's all normal and expected.

...and after all, we're still here. The storms come and rock us, whether self-created or swept in by nature, and yet when we get to our feet again we're always standing strong together. We've known each other for 20 years, and nothing has been able to keep us apart for long. I think that says it all, and I believe that in another 20 years I'll still be right here, writing about us and how we made it through.

photo credit: aussiegall on flickr

I'm "Obsessed" ;-)

On stagefright...