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Romantically Always Missing Someone Else
Not Relating to It
I have been married for 52 years and I've got bruises to prove it---that's how I can afford to joke in front of my wife without worrying that the joke might trigger a string of bad memories in her.
Yes, there have been those ups and downs just like in anyone's story, but they had nothing to do with the way we have been treating each other. Suffice it to say for now that we have never engaged in an argument in all this time. Disagreements have been many without ever escalating into name calling, accusing, lecturing... that stuff.
That may still not be a definition of a perfect marriage, although our two kids, now both in their late forties keep claiming how they haven't seen another relationship like ours.
So, what about the one from my dreams---does "she" intrude from time to time into this idyll to call me a liar? Quite honestly, no. That for a simple reason of both of us knowing from the very start what we wanted from life and from relationship, and ever since insisted on making our reality the one resembling those dreams.
Of course, a reader with a satiric tendencies might conclude that we simply lowered our standards of expectations, so that anything coming up would look good enough, including ourselves.
I am not completely denying a version of this possibility, because all my life I intuitively felt how aiming too high brings to people nothing but bitter disappointments. But no, I didn't just "settle for less" in order to avoid those disappointments.
While not aiming too high---I have aimed high enough, and with a good dose of mental and emotional discipline having been cultivated, I can say that even at this age of 72 life does look like the one from some old dreams, if not even better in some ways. And our marriage is a big part of it.
Bound to Spoil It
Well, as you can see, I have been around long enough to be a witness to all kinds of examples where it was obvious that those from couple's dreams were not the ones they were "stuck" with day-in-day-out.
From time to time they would even admit it, although trying to make it sound only as "hypothetical", how "that first love is the only true one". Then I would wonder whether it had perhaps been meant to be that way that the dream stayed unfulfilled, because people---almost as a rule---have this tendency to sabotage their happiness, and so they would have been bound to spoil it.
It's almost like we don't deserve to have our dreams come true including those romantic ones, so the "fate" is making sure that it doesn't happen.
"If only this-or-that had turned out differently, I would have been the happiest person alive"---so we say, not knowing that in all likelihood we would have mishandled that opportunity, ending up exactly where we are today.
For just a moment straying off the main topic, although not far off---look at so many examples of those celebrities whose fame and money merely brought them to a rude awakening of still missing something from life that no money and popularity could provide.
Isn't that the same that would have happened to so many of "non-celebrities" if they got that person of their dream in their life today?
For one thing, habituation may become such a spoiler, as we all know, because due to it every gain in our life quickly depreciates with time, and something else becomes the target of our dreams.
And isn't our nature mocking us by making so many other addictions pleasurable, but not our marriages? I remember my years of smoking, and how those first cigarettes almost made me sick---but then every later puff felt so good.
With romantic relationships it seems to be in reverse, although the example is not exactly right because I am not talking about anybody "being sick" at wedding anniversaries, LOL.
Love Is Not Enough
Not that all those folks observed bothered to compare their spouses to that person of their dreams. Many simply gave up dreaming long ago, having accepted their lot, maybe bitching about it from time to time, but still accepting it for a lack of stamina to make it any different.
Along with that belly sticking from that reclining chair, that messy hair or none of it, and the rest of a package that could be called "self-neglect after times of courting are over".
But then there are those others who just can't let go of that unfulfilled dream, thinking of that "greener grass" and secretly wondering what went wrong back there that this person they see drooling on the couch didn't end up the one that would qualify for their dreams.
Well, from my own experience, folks, I can tell you one thing, and you do with it whatever you choose---love is not enough. Life simply doesn't work without a good pragmatic attitude---and that stretches over every aspect of it, including marriage.
Back there I mentioned how both my wife and I from ever knew exactly what we wanted out of life and marriage. Well, then we went practical about it and never allowed ourselves to sabotage that what we wanted.
Did we do it "in the name of love"? That would be a good question, but I am not so sure about it. Much more I would say how we just didn't want to mess up our lives by straying from harmonious---while love was there one way or another.
In other words, it takes a pragmatic sense for organizing and nurturing. Let me give you some simple examples.
I still buy her flowers at this age at other dates than "social traditions" would require. Then, every morning we start with a hug in the living room after saying "good morning". (I usually get up first). Hugs are a good start of the day, you know.
Also, I regularly say "thanks for cooking that delicious dinner"---because, it's simply decent, not a "formal" gesture to express appreciation for her effort of standing there in the kitchen for hours. I'll also wash the dishes, and take the garbage out, because she cooked. We agreed never to discuss problems while we eat. Bad for digestion.
You see what I mean? You have to "make" it work, it won't happen by itself.
A Sheer Matter of Self-Respect
To me, making it look like in the dream is like riding a bike---to stay in balance you've got to do some pedaling, otherwise you are bound to tip over. There is one big difference between dreaming and real life, except for that obvious one---dreams may happen spontaneously, life insists on being nurtured.
One of the biggest mistakes people make in relationship is imagining that they have to be "who they are" and let it all hang out because the spouse's "duty" is to accept the spontaneous totality of us.
Relationship is a creation of "something third", not a free expression of the two participants. Why do we instinctively know that during the dating time, but then replace it with our "I am who I am, and if you love me as you say, you'd better accept the whole package of me"?
Dreams are also creations of our fancy, and then they become our reality when we keep creating. And creating is not to become a drag, but a token of our respect for ourselves and our life.
Indeed, how low our self-esteem must be to just "let the life happen to us" and then bitch about a bad luck and keep dreaming about someone else. I can't imagine myself seeing the same person every day in my life and merely "tolerating our individual differences".
And mind you, my wife and I are certainly different in so many ways that many of those who didn't know about "our little creation" must have seen a "total mismatch" in the two of us. Indeed, we are one example of not going "spontaneous", but nurturing the relationship.
Let me give you an example of what "spontaneous" would mean. I would be acting out my nature, and she would be doing the same, and neither of us would care about that which is between us, only about using each other for dumping ground of our emotional trash---while expecting the other to love it.
That, my friends, is not pragmatic, it's idealistic. Love is a wonderful thing, but people are only people, and no one's duty is to love "unconditionally". It may be like that in those greeting cards, in our holy books, and in the fancy of schizoid people detached from reality and pushing "moralism". But human nature and love don't mix until we make a conscious effort.
Living Our Dream
They say: "Dreams die first, then we die", and it's true. But what they forgot to say is that dreams should not be tormenting us by reminding us about how little we have. Sometimes it boils down to betraying our life, constantly putting it down, as well as the person we are sharing life with.
Escaping into dreams is a wonderful way to inspire ourselves, to seek those new possibilities to be pursued, and then doing our best to stay loyal to those dreams. But, it's also possible to make so much of what we already have feel like the décor of those dreams.
It takes a little of emotional discipline, of insisting on making some sense in the way we are emoting. As they say: "Mind is a terrible thing to waste", they should also add: "...and so are emotions". Learning to love what we already have even makes sense if we are to believe in that much talked about "Law of Attraction". That law is clearly stating that we just get more of the same that we keep focusing on---especially when we attach to it an emotional charge.
So, taking out from time to time that wedding photo album and refreshing those emotions may bring that person from our dreams right into our living room---and bedroom as well.
But first we have to want it. Wondering "why the one from our dreams is not the same one we see each day"---won't do the magic of living a dream.