Relationships vs. individuality

By

Relationships vs. individuality

Lyz summarizes her point: “You should be in a relationship with someone who loves ALL of you, obnoxiousness and all. And that does happen. I've been with that guy for over 8 years.” In other words, if you sense that the other party disapproves of some aspects of your personality cut your losses and seek until you find another person that’s more accommodating. This actually sounds like a very rational and logical approach, but the problem I have with it, once again is that it is very centered on the individual. The subtext is something like “I am exactly what I consider as perfect, take it or leave it. It is out of the question that a relationship challenges the way I’ve been constructing myself.”
But the point is precisely that we get into relationships to continue constructing ourselves in a different way.

In my personal case, very differently from what Lyz describes about her marriage, I married a woman that on a matchmaking website’s scale, would qualify for “Very poor compatibility”: totally different social backgrounds, different beliefs, and very contrasting personalities. Moreover we met each other in a setting that was tension-charged, more likely to generate conflict than a romantic affair. However, against all odds we just happened to become totally smitten with each other. Typically, that kind of encounter is associated with extremely intense but short-lived love-affairs, and it could quite have been that if we didn’t have a profound willingness to change significantly in order to make it work… and so far, 15 years, it worked, notwithstanding very tough crises. I am not saying it was easy to change, quite the contrary, sometimes it happens in pain. Nevertheless, changing, giving up on things we used to think as somewhat important before we met each other didn’t end up making us unhappy and frustrated; it’s the opposite: it’s very rewarding to see how it has strengthened us both as a couple and as individuals.

What was important though is that it was not “Change coming from yourself and for yourself.” It’s teamwork, building an interactive dynamics that makes changing not only acceptable but wanted from both sides. It can’t happen unless you deeply feel that the entity “couple” goes first, above individuality. To put it simply, it’s love.