My friend, an affluent seventy-five-year-old man has a new girlfriend, who is two generations younger than him.
“Aren’t you worried that she may be with you just for your money?” I joked. He replied with a wonderful paradox:
“I certainly hope so! Because love for a man is fleeting but love for money is enduring.”
Few things in life are riddled with so many paradoxes as love.
Nothing else brings such extreme feelings of happiness and sorrow.
Nothing is further from romance than everyday relationship building.
Nothing is so complicated, yet so worth it.
When I was a young fool influenced by novels, I did not understand the paradoxes of love. I wanted to solve everything in a heroic, dramatic fashion. One day, devastated by the unfaithfulness of my first girlfriend, I wanted to jump off a bridge. A man passing by said: “Never kill yourself because of a woman, young one.”
– “She’ll just bring another man to your funeral.”
I am an old dog now. I am aware that the greatest paradoxes of love can help us build a healthy relationship when we understand them. What are my favourite ten paradoxes?
- We keep waiting for the love of our life, yet the love of our life can be anyone who builds a relationship with us
Love of your life. Kindred spirit. Soulmate. Some people spend their entire lives standing by the window waiting for their perfect prince charming. Others, who don’t believe in fairy tales, accept an imperfect semi-finished product and discover that almost any loving partner willing to work on a relationship with them can become their kindred spirit. Indeed, it is the power of love and dedication that creates prince charming, the same way people who make mistakes are slowly refined by experience towards flawlessness.
True love is not a specific person. True love is a relationship – between two people who want to create together and compromise on a daily basis. Yes, all wonderful relationships, just like other achievements in human, require work. In this case, it is about pair work. A successful relationship does not appear out of the blue, a successful relationship is built.
- Shared problems strengthen the bond
When a novice or a mentally immature person faces the first problems in their relationship, they tend to yell out: “I don’t need this, I would be much better off by myself.” A baby could have shouted this when we wanted them to learn to talk, walk, swim… This is how a person grows and a relationship grows in the same way. Indeed, a relationship grows with problems as both partners learn to overcome them. Success is overcoming problems.
When a patient is dissatisfied with their unattractive stitches after surgery, they could certainly rip them out immediately – the same way as you can rip apart a young bond in a relationship. This is very easy. However, this will make the problem worse rather than solve it.
Scars from resolved problems also remain in a relationship. However, this is not something we should hide and be ashamed of. We should be proud of the scars because they remind us of all the problems we have overcome.
Let’s appreciate shared problems. They test how strong we can (both) be.
- Let’s not blame ourselves for our mistakes, they help us move forward
When people argue, the dialogue is always difficult. Less smart partners argue because they cannot understand the basic premise of human nature – we are all different. It is due to different genes, upbringing, lives, and experiences we have gathered along the way that we often cannot understand the other person or even simply accept their opinion and entitlement to be right or make mistakes. Our viewpoint is no better than theirs and if we laugh at the other person’s faults, it is as if we are aliens who have nothing in common with people. People make mistakes. This is how you can tell a man.
Take the following as an example: When people argue, the right words do not always come easily or at the first attempt because we also make mistakes and learn from our mistakes. Despite this, we need to communicate. Words, feelings and thoughts that are left unspoken are the ones that damage relationships the most. Sometimes even the bad things festering inside us need to come out.
Indeed, it can be stormy in a relationship but all couples need to communicate – at the very least to check that the relationship is strong enough to endure another shower.
If you have something on your mind, communicate. Do not think that it will be easier for your relationship to hide something. It won’t be because you are a part of the relationship. If there is something weighing you down, the whole relationship is put under stress.
Please, continue to the 2nd page.