Itís pretty obvious when couples have been together for a long time. The comfort and familiarity that is present in their body language. The way they donít need to speak sometimes. They have enough shared knowledge and understanding that words are not necessary. They know each other so well that they can almost predict what the other is thinking and what they would say. They are comfortable with silence and a look can say more than a thousand words.
Itís interesting to contrast that with the couple who have just met, who are perhaps on their first date. They appear over-eager. Wanting to please the other person, projecting the image they think the other will approve of. Keeping their guard up to keep some of their flaws or private thoughts at bay. Deciding carefully what to say and how to say it. Laughing nervously as they try to manage their excitement and nerves. Fidgeting and being aware so trying to stop the fidgets which can just make more fidgets come.
Relationships between people at all stages of their lives are fascinating to me. Reflecting on our own relationships and our response to different people, at different times of our life, can be really informative. Hopefully this kind of reflection helps us to learn about ourself and plan better to have successful future relationships. I have learned over time that at times my ability to relate to others has been affected by how Iím feeling about other things. This has meant that my capacity to be present, be there and value the relationship, has been limited. Itís no wonder then that these relationships have floundered, struggled and at times severed. Broken down to a point of no return. Irretrievable differences even.
Life is perhaps nothing other than a series of relationships. Relationships with self, with family, with extended family, with friends, with work colleagues, with strangers and acquaintances. It can also include relationships with objects, with food, with music and environments. It could be that continuing to work on those attitudes, beliefs and skills which help to us to relate to all of these people and things is what will help us navigate the complex world which we have woven for ourselves.