I hope you don’t mind if I give you a little sisterly advice about relationships? You may know I was married for nearly 12 years to a man that I respect and like but I have a hard time now saying that I ever loved him.
I knew that recognising love would be hard for me because my parents divorced when I was 4. It is difficult to imagine what love between two people would look like. Do they kiss often? Do they argue frequently? Do they communicate well? How? Is it a process or is it something that happens like flipping a light switch? How do you know it’s real? How does anyone know when it’s real?
When people asked me why I came so far to marry my now ex-husband I would say to them that I wanted to see what lay ahead – but the word “love” never escaped my lips. I can tell you now that I think I did love him at one point but it didn’t last long. He really wasn’t my type and although I know I shouldn’t have married him, I’m grateful now that I did. I learned a lot about what I do and don’t want out of a relationship.
Believe it or not I was married long enough for people to start asking me what the key to a long relationship was. I decided that the key is this: A relationship is created by two committed people. In order to get through the rough and the smooth you both must communicate well, respect one another AND have the common goal of staying together.
Between me and Ramman I can honestly say that I felt that we didn’t have common goals, he neglected me but we communicated well. Or rather, he told me what he thought and I usually went along with it because it usually sounded like a good idea. To be fair, I usually hadn’t been given enough time to think about what decisions should be made: we were always doing too much all at once for me to be able to think about what I wanted… You know that there was never a week that went by when we weren’t in the middle of some near disaster – house purchase, staying in a flat while the house was being sorted (which took 10 months and not the originally scheduled 6 weeks), damp problems, decorating, job lost, house falling down, law suit, extension, Ramman working between 60-80 hours a week and that’s just the things that I remember off the top of my head!
I wasn’t cut out for that kind of stress. So when I started talking to Helios about what I wanted out of life I was delighted to hear that 1) he wanted someone who he considered an equal, 2) he didn’t want a large property 3) he likes to cook and appreciates a good nutritious meal 4) he doesn’t consider himself ambitious and 5) he likes to leave work at work and insists on leaving work on time.
In short, I realised that he wanted what I wanted from life. So now all we need to do is remain committed and communicate well – which I find easy with him.
As for Ramman, I saw him recently and he looks absolutely awful. He has very dark circles under his eyes; he is still veggie and now also dairy-intolerant; his family reunion was ruined due to a stomach bug. He complained to me that it takes him too long to keep on top of cleaning the house. He told me that when the house is finally finished he wants to sell and buy a plot of land and build a house. Can you imagine? I told him that I was delighted I didn’t live with him anymore and that he was completely insane. I don’t think he appreciated it, but he is bonkers.
I told him that I was delighted with the flat and I thought that it was the kind of place that I would be happy to retire to: it’s near enough to town that I am near to the shops and civilisation BUT I’m also far enough away that I’m not listening to traffic all the time. The flat is on the ground floor and has its own entrance. It only takes me a couple of hours to clean the flat from top to bottom. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.
Where was I going with this one? Oh yeah. It takes two to make a good relationship and if one of the two doesn’t make the effort, the relationship is over sooner or later. At least I still respect Ramman as a person and I’m grateful we can still be friends because I don’t begrudge Ramman his success: money is all that he loved during the marriage and that’s precisely what he’s got now.