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Risk and Reward: Relationships

Love is a strange emotion.

Relationships are difficult and so many times we rather go at it alone. Isn't it easier to just worry about self rather than worry if our partner can walk the walk we walk? Having to adjust and learn a partner is, above all else, a difficult transition.

So many years I put my life on hold to help my partner build himself. In my last relationship, after I "prettied" him up for the world, he left. 13 years of marriage, gone. Down the drain. Hindsight being 20/20 I can see all the errors of my ways. I can't blame him for the failure of our relationship if I know I was not 100% honest with him, but more importantly I wasn't honest with myself. For all of our relationship, I held in all of my dreams and aspirations. I tell myself that it was okay to hold off on my dreams because he would support me when he had achieved his. I am reminded of Angela Bassett's character, Bernadine, in the book and movie, Waiting to Exhale. She put off her catering business to help her husband build his company. As soon as he had gotten to a place of power and comfort, he was already in a relationship with his secretary and was leaving Bernadine.

Though my ex was not doing something as large as building his own business, he did complete his bachelors and master degrees while I worked (that was large for him). And I worked! I left my banking job to work at the university he was getting his bachelors degree. Spouses got free tuition so it made sense for me to change jobs. And he did that! He earned his degree. All the while I suppressed my desire to start my own business just to see him through. And when I wanted to go "all in" with my business he was not supportive. He thought it was too large of a risk. What I have learned, and should have asserted, is that I will bet on me ALL DAY, EVERY DAY and I would have made that business boom. We will never know now.

After that relationship ended, I told myself that I would never swallow my true feelings. What would I be if I had not learned any lessons from my past? This part is such a tricky thing. In new relationships, how does one NOT use past lessons to gauge the health of the new relationship? How does one remain objective and treat the new relationship as if one had not been hurt in the past? When I let my guard down, would I be a fool for doing so? Had I not learned anything from the past relationship?

How do I keep the past in the past and move on? How does one abandon past experiences to embrace and risk letting go of the past?

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