The response I received for posting my friend Theresa’s note yesterday took me by surprise. I had people asking if I was alright, others giving me words to inspire her with, and still others telling me how they felt about what had been written. While I think part of the response was due to Theresa’s poignant and sometimes blunt writing style in the note, I also think a large number of people can relate to what she actually said.
Relationships are clearly more complicated than finding someone you enjoy spending time with. Everything from a person’s family to a person’s dating history play a role in determining the outcome of future relationships, and with so many years of amassing ‘factors’, things can get complicated very quickly.
I think the most important thing to keep in mind when dealing with people who have ‘interesting’ histories, is how you feel when you’re with them. If you’re constantly thinking about his/her past, it obviously won’t turn out well for you even if they were to tell you that you’re “the one”. You’ll always have doubts, and rightfully so. I have never known anyone who had loose morals suddenly transform into a monogamous partner. I have, however, known people to stick to morals because they believe it is the ‘right thing to do’. I, personally, think that reason is insufficient. Let me tell you why.
Let’s say the moral is being faithful. That’s probably the most common moral discrepancy attributed to break-ups, and so an easy one to analyze.
Let’s say your significant other was in a situation where they might have cheated on you, but didn’t. This is good. Let’s say when they explained it to you, their reason for not cheating on you was “it would have been morally wrong.” This is still good. Let’s say you’re a nitpicker and asked why they felt this way. “Because society says one should not engage in relations outside of one’s own romantic relationship.” Hardly a pleasing answer. You’d want them to say “Because I wouldn’t want to hurt you” or “Because I wasn’t interested in them” or “Because you’re the most amazing person in the world, I’ll never find anyone better!” or some such sappy response. 😉
Society has morals for a reason. But it’s important to not adopt these as our own simply because society has set them. After all, at one time, it was morally acceptable for a husband to beat his wife under certain circumstances. And let’s not forget society’s views on slavery not even a full century ago. Society has been known to make poor decisions. (Incidentally, so do sheep.)
Make your own decisions. If you want to act a certain way, and you believe it’s morally acceptable, go for it. If those around you think you’re being immoral, find out why. The key is not to be so set in any one opinion that you are not open to new ideas, but to be flexible and take into consideration opposing views. If you still reject them, that will help you clarify your own thoughts so you can eventually be comfortable with yourself and how you act.
What I don’t understand is when smart people are inconsistent. Maybe they haven’t yet figured out how to be at one with themselves and be comfortable with their actions. Maybe they haven’t given thought to the moral repercussions of their inconsistencies.
The problem, as I see it, is not the person has poor morals and sticks to them. They have the potential to realize others may be affected, and to adjust their morals accordingly. They have the potential to mature, morally.
The problem is the person who proclaims a moral, either because society deems it so or because they have thought it out, and then breaks it. Once, twice, or repeatedly — it doesn’t matter. The idea that morality in a person can be swayed is highly disturbing to me. I would much rather the person admit to holding a somewhat ‘lesser’ moral stance as society might see it, than have them break consistency within themselves!
….. because breaking consistency within yourself breeds regret. And if you know me, you know I hate very little in life — but I hate regret. Regret means you’re embarrassed of yourself. Regret, to me, means more than making a mistake; it means falling beneath yourself, disgracing yourself with your actions or inactions. That’s why I consider it so important to live for the moment, as cheesy and cliché as it might be. At least if you try, you won’t hate yourself for not taking the chance. Anyway, I digress.
I think the worst thing in relationships is not rejection, but retrogression due to regret. There’s nothing that will humble you more than having the person you love insinuate you’re simply not good enough. This is my scar, and the deepest I’ve ever been cut to be honest. It doesn’t mean life sucks, or that I’m going to lose hope. I’m grateful to know my previous jaded attitude toward relationships was unfounded, and that my expectations for someone who met all my needs and hopes weren’t that unrealistic. And I’m grateful for the friend soul-mate I know he is. I just hope the next one who meets those hopes of mine will love me back.
That’s my story folks, and why I posted Theresa’s note. Happy Valentine’s Day, to lovers and singles and strugglers alike!