A few days ago, I got up, grabbed a cup of coffee, and got on Facebook. The first post I saw was from an old friend who changed his relationship status to ‘It’s complicated’. My comment was ‘Aren’t they all?’
I got to thinking about relationships and how they are all complicated. My relationship with my old friend is complicated. We hardly ever talk to each other, yet he knows that I am here if he ever needs me. Relationships with friends are complicated, whether we admit it or not. These are people we choose to be our family, not the family we are born into. But, like our family, there are still things we will hide from them.
I can’t think on one friend, no matter how close the friend, that knows everything about me. Not one. We never show our complete selves because we are afraid of rejection. If this friend knew this about me, they would so disapprove! If this other friend who does know this about me, knew that about me, they would be shocked and maybe wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore. We don’t want our friends to disapprove of us, so we omit things about ourselves and our past.
It doesn’t matter how close the friend, we want to be liked and don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. It’s not lying to them. It’s not that we don’t trust them. We’re just unsure of what their reaction would be if they knew. Would they still want to be our friend if they knew this, or if they knew I was thinking this? Yet, you know in your heart, no matter what they do or say or think, you will be there for them. It’s complicated.
Family relationships are even more complicated. These relationships can hurt you so much more than friendships. You are willing to bite your tongue more with family, as you feel you risk losing their love. In the majority of cases, that’s not going to happen, but the thought still scares you. These are the people you grew up loving, the people who loved you first and who have loved you all of your life. Would you really lose their love? In some cases, which I could never understand, you might. Some people are like that. They cannot forgive and turn that un-forgiveness into hate.
I cannot fathom not loving my family and being there for them no matter what. I may not like something they’ve done, but I will always love them and always be there for them. Yet, sometimes I feel I can’t say or do what I really want around them because they all may not feel the same way about family as I do. I don’t want to risk feeling like I’ve lost their love, so I stay silent about certain things. It’s complicated.
Your relationship with your parents is bizarre if you were raised like I was. I was raised to respect my parents, and therefore always wanted them to respect me. There are so many things you don’t tell your parents because you don’t want to lose their respect. You don’t want them to be ashamed of you or disappointed in you. Yet, as I found out when my Momma was terminally ill, they know. They always know. They just don’t want you to know that they know. Talk about complicated!
And the most complicated of all? The relationship with your spouse or significant other. This is the relationship where you can tell they holding something back just by the tone of their voice. Or you/they don’t want to disappoint you/them so they want the other to make the decision, no matter how small that decision may be. What’s for dinner? Whatever you want. Want to go to a movie? If you want to. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Yes, sometimes it’s done to keep the peace, sometimes it’s done because we’re too lazy to make a decision, sometimes it’s done to not disappoint the other, and sometimes it’s done because we just don’t care. Oh yes, complicated.
Maybe I’m alone in feeling like this and maybe I’m not, but I need to put a stop to stupid thoughts like this. As Dr. Seuss once said: “Be who your are and say what you feel, because those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss was a genius.