06 January 2007

Alone time

So this isn't a post about ambulance stuff, medical school stuff, or any of the usual topics here. I wanted to write about something else on my mind right now. To those who know me personally, no, this isn't specifically about something going on in my household right now so please no panicked phone calls...

Why is everyone ending long-term relationships right now? Or just plain giving up on dating? The holidays stress everyone out, but this seems like something else. I know one couple that ended an 8 month relationship, one that broke off an engagement, two marriages on the outs, and three separate singles who've "given up" on dating for the forseeable future. I've never really done the "dating" scene so maybe it is just my inexperience which makes this situation confusing. Some days I feel like the only happily married person around. Other days I feel like the most miserable married person around. These changes remind me that probably everyone else feels the same at one time or another and that you really can't know a relationship from the outside.

Different people are willing to share different parts of their lives with me, depending on how well I know them and whether I'm just in the right place at the right time when they need to talk. I've gotten much better at being non-judgemental when hearing all sorts of completely crazy things about relationships. Obviously not about things like abuse, but about situations where I would've previously shaken my head and wondered how and why these people stay together. Everyone gets something out of every relationship or they wouldn't be in it. I don't claim to understand what that is in many cases, but if you listen carefully to people when they're talking about their problems they often give you hints as to what they enjoy as well.

Noticing this in others has made me pay more attention to the way I talk about my husband, my friends and people I care about. I want to make it clear when I'm just griping about someone I care about and when I'm really having a problem and I need help. But the thing I've never really understood is, how do people draw the line? When is enough finally enough? I know there are some things that are just intolerable, but when it is creeping unhappiness? Or that little voice that says "I don't want to go home to that anymore"? When are you just quitting on something worthwhile and when are you watching out for what is best for you?

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