My friend Greg does not like it when I say relationships between certain types of people can be “toxic;” some people may never have the person of their “dreams;” there isn’t always enough time to “fix” something; it might not be worth the effort.
“I want to believe that with enough work, enough understanding, enough knowledge, we can overcome problems in any relationship if there is love,” he said.
I would like to believe that too. But I have come to accept that sometimes the effort is counterproductive. When my tendency is to chase and resolve, my partner may just want a damn break. It is her right to have that break. Even if she is avoiding. Even if avoiding makes me want to try harder. Which makes her want to run faster. Etc.
What I was trying to say was not that it is always hopeless, but trying harder at what has not worked (except temporarily) in the past is unlikely to get us where we want to be.
We can’t change the response pattern of our partner through an act of our own will. All we can do is communicate. If she doesn’t see a problem in the relationship except how I behave, she gets to feel that way, regardless of how it makes me feel. Even if she doesn’t want to talk about it. She isn’t “wrong.”
“ ‘This isn’t working for me’ is different than saying ‘You’re not doing your part,’ ” an acquaintance pointed out the other day.
I was also trying to say to Greg there is a woman out there who may be “accessible, responsive, and engaged.” A partner as he defines it. Wanting that is not wrong, either.
It might be we have to look for her rather than think we can, or have the right to, make the one we want to be with want to want us. We have to be realistic about how much we put into it, how much time we have, what we expect in return.
We have to stop doing things because we are afraid of losing what we are driving away.