I've always been a great believer that the past will pave the way to your future, that one should draw strength from their experiences in order to achieve their goals, and that, as my mother always told me, ‘what doesn’t kill you will make you stronger’. But now I’m not so sure. It’s not quite the same thing when the future you want is with someone you already share a past with...
At this time of year, amidst all the indulgence with food, drink and sleep, I like to reflect on the months past, the barriers I’ve overcome, the goals I’ve achieved, the balance of my bank account, and also contemplate how I can improve on these in the forthcoming year. But this year I have another experience to reflect on and contemplate – a relationship I can’t get away from.
There’s no question that we love each other and technically-speaking we’re made for each other. We’re both independent young men, self-sufficient, strong-minded and we have an amazing sexual connection that acts like a G-force magnet, yet we couldn’t be more different – we’re galaxies apart, never mind worlds. My friends are bored of listening to my frustrations and the reasons for yet another break-up, so I’m not overly keen to announce we’re back together again, but I can’t deny that I’m over the moon about it.
My concern now is that, inevitably, after several break-ups and reunions, there’s less and less expectation that it’ll work out this time round – especially from everyone in the parameter. I don’t really care what anyone else thinks; I've always been the type of naughty boy that needs to poke the fire to learn it’ll burn me – and that’s not going to change any time soon, which brings me to the point: what should I be prepared to change or sacrifice for the benefit of a relationship I've walked away from so many times?
We’re not stupid; we’re addicted to each other. We’ve learned the buttons not to press but we keep pressing them. If there were any more lessons to learn, surely we’d have learned them by now? Maybe I’m mad (and I know there are plenty of people that would agree with that), but I can’t help feeling that this is in our favour. Of course I have doubts, but they’re currently outweighed by my desires.
‘Wiping the slate clean’ is, let’s face it, impossible. I’m unfortunate in the sense that, in his eyes, I have more to prove, which means added work. Whether I accept it or not, I broke the all-important 'trust' and that’s a huge bridge that must be rebuilt – an issue that would not be so in a new relationship, and therefore a drawback I cannot draw strength from for the future.
Another issue is the comparison people make between their new and past partners. I hate being compared to an ex, it really annoys me and it’s something I just don’t do. I know what makes a happy relationship, I know how I should be made to feel, I know what I want and I know what I don’t need. And I don’t need to compare present to past relationships because I’m no longer there for good reason!
The more you change to accommodate another’s expectations, the more distressing the break-up will be – I guarantee it. In an ideal world, in the ideal relationship, no one should feel pressured to change themselves to accommodate another, and you shouldn't; not unless there’s substantial collateral and you’re going to get a good return on the investment, which is why we’re back together – the potential is enormous, but so is the risk.
You need to know yourself pretty well to take this sort of risk. You need to know your limits, your absolute rules and what is open to compromise. You also need to know the other person well enough to trust them to honour their word, because after all, that’s all you have. Only then can you be happy with any negotiation.
Yes, I played ‘away’ when I had no ‘home’, and despite what he may feel about that, I think it’s really sharpened my sense of what I want. I could have walked away and had nothing more to do with him, but here I am – my choice.
Like most people, 2010 has presented me with a fair share of adversities and struggles, but I’m ending it with incredibly good luck and high spirits – a sentiment I want to carry into 2011. I’ve grown and learned a lot this year, even as far as to say I’m a different person, so I’m going to choose to take an optimistic view of everything and hope it pays off.
Will I fulfil my New Year’s resolution to quit smoking? Will I learn to be more patient and to foresee the fruit of my labour, or ‘the light’ at the end of the tunnel? Will this 6th chance in love with the same man work out? Who knows, but one thing is certain - my mum is right, what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!