is not the primary source of our unhappiness--even though it often seems to be.
If we clear that hurdle, and dare to ask questions about our histories, we can not only learn a great deal about ourselves, but we can acquire more self-possession.
While we may have been unable to change our mate, we can learn to alter our own responses to certain difficult and potentially entrapping situations in our relationship.
If we change our own behavior, this highly interdependent relationship
system---our marriage---must change.
If we are different, our partner cannot remain the same.
There are risks in such an undertaking, and potential losses. If we brave the encounter with our own origins, our mate is likely to lose a certain power that he or she has held in our imagination. We stand to lose someone to blame, some to idealize, someone who promises that it will be all right. In giving up our childlike dependency on each other, we lose the sense of having a symbolic parent beside us.
We must then face our fundamental aloneness in the world, and
we must learn to take care of ourselves.
What we gain is a sense of ourselves, as at least marginally competent to bear the bruises and assaults of the world, and of having a fellow traveler to share the struggle with.
Our mate becomes someone like us--often scared, more than a little crazy inside, and a very human mixture of assets and liabilities. We love this person but sometimes we hate him or her too; we feel cheered when he or she comes into the room; somehow we always find something to talk about.
This is someone who will endure our irrational outbursts and our jokes, and who often knows what we are going to say,. This body is a comfort to us in the night, and though sex with this person may be less thrilling than it once was, it has more of the full power of our being together--angry, lustful, tender, melancholy, playful.
When we finally realize that this other person has stayed with us, just that "staying with" begins to permit more and more risk.
Maybe I can finally let myself love, and be loved back.
The Fragile Bond - Napier