Whether it's a friendship, colleague, family member, or intimate partner, no one said that relationships would be easy. I like to look at relationships like the colors of a rainbow. They are all unique and special in their own way. They are all guaranteed flaws, idiosyncrasies, talents, strengths, and weaknesses. As we evolve, so do others. As we deal with our messy stuff, so do they. I think, sometimes, our expectations are high, and we simply think that the other person "knows" or "should" understand. Well, that's not the case, most of the time. Most people are not psychic. ;) Communication is key to understanding.
I believe we should have expectations, for sure. If you didn't have expectations, you'd simply be a doormat to everyone. We must also have personal boundaries because we need to take care of ourselves. People can forget, get ornery, and lash out, but you have the right to assertively say something to maintain respect for yourself, and for the other person to learn where you draw the line.
I don't believe that we are a reflection of the other except in spiritual terms. Rather, I see humans as fragmented (because of our upbringing and hardships in life) and the other person in the relationship is that piece we are missing. That piece that we usually haven't identified with. There's a lot to learn about yourself and others when you interact with human beings. It's not straight forward and there are many angles.
Look back at your relationships from an objective perspective. Rather than criticize and blame, look to see what you learned from that relationship. Certainly, you must look back and analyze things so that you can learn to make better choices and do things differently. So, looking back is important to learn about what needs to shift or change, but it can also be to see what was amazing - what worked well.
My Own Experience
With my first husband, I struggled with eating disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, and dissociation. I was very disconnected to life. He taught me to see the beauty in nature: the color of the autumn leaves and the smell of a rose. He motivated me to be my own person and, even though my start-ups didn't come to fruition, he taught me that I had the potential to do what I put my mind to. It didn't work out, but I guess I'm old enough now to see the best in a relationship that went sour. There are always good things. Life's too short to focus on what didn't work all the time. Focus on the good stuff, too!
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