Friday, October 22, 2010

Learning Curve...

Learning Curve...

My friend Rena wrote this post recently, about how her recent exposure to feminism has helped her to learn some things about healthy relationships. She's a lovely lady, and I hope you enjoy! (Courtney)

Cross-posted from JMBL.

Having just ended a relationship, I thought it might be a good idea to catalogue what this relationship taught me. Well, I was also partially inspired by another blog post I read.

This relationship taught me a lot about what I like and don't like... and what I want and don't want. Aside from personal preferences though, I also learned a few things about what a good relationship should be.

Relationships are built on trust and communication.

Well, I've always known that, really. It was one of my keywords back when I was 18, before I got married. Yet, I think I didn't pay enough attention to it . This applies really to any relationship: friends, lovers, family... the quality of the relationship will depend on the level of communication and trust.

The confusing part for me this time around was attempting to figure out how to make this work with someone who had some rather fundamental differences in belief. Yes, I believe it's possible for two people to not believe in exactly the same things, or necessarily be passionate about the same things, and still have a healthy relationship. It's something I had no previous experience with though, since my only previous relationship was with someone who shared all of my fundamental beliefs. I think that hesitation and confusion led me to be far more forgiving of some things than I ought to have been.

Warning Sign #1: No respect for Boundaries

One of the things that this experience really drove home for me was that someone who can't respect boundaries is not someone I ever want to be in a relationship with. When they ask me about things that make me cry, and know that this causes me distress, yet continue to ask and to push, that's a sign that they care less about hurting me than about what they want. When they ask me to do something to which I clearly say no, and continue to ask again and again, until I finally say yes, that's a sign that they're going to push for what they want, regardless of what might be best for me. When I clearly state that something is not okay, and they try to do it anyway, then claim they have forgotten... it's more likely a sign that they care more about what they want than about showing me respect.

Warning Sign #2: Reluctance to Clarify

First, a really great quote about how to clarify what you want from someone else before you enter into a non-exclusive relationship (though I think some of these things would be good to talk about before entering into an exclusive relationship . . .


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