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When Your Partner Tries to Stop you Growing

one of the great pleasures of
relationships is the sense that another
person knows us deeply while we are
either a can or door misrepresented by
most of the world in our relationships
we can thrive from a gratifying sense
that our identity has been accurately
tracked drawn and committed to memory
they know our favorite foods our
childhood traumas our quirks around
travel our morning habits and our
ambivalent feelings about certain
friends but it is the extent and overall
accuracy of this knowledge that can
provoke sudden moments of claustrophobic
irritation when our partners use their
privileged overview of our characters to
level a claim about who we are that
seems to reduce caricature or limit us
unduly and is blind to our evolutions
and aspirations for change don’t be
silly you’re not someone who ever enjoys
holidays they might assert with the
confidence and authority of someone
who’s shared our bed for close to a
decade or they might say that’s far too
late for you you’re always asleep by
10:00 or you’ve never liked dancing or
with real surprise when we come back
from the library but you don’t even like
books about politics or to the attendant
at the deli counter no no they don’t
like pickles the comments and the sure
manner of their delivery reflect an
experience of us built up over time
through the patient work of love but
they can also prove wholly enraging it
feels as if the authority that the lover
possesses has Malayalee been deployed to
fix us into a role that actually no
longer feels quite true they’re telling
us who we are the nicest thing in theory
but getting it rather wrong which is
about the worst thing in practice though
a particular trait might admittedly have
existed for many years we may beneath
the surface quietly be attempting to
change we are tentatively trying to
evolve we no longer want to remain who
we once were in every detail we have new
original aspirations we want to shed our
skins we’re trying to open ourselves up
two different experiences we maybe want
to give pickles ago and yet the partner
has set themselves up as the jealous
guardian of a self we no longer quite
identify with they insist that who we
are now claiming to be must be false
pretentious mean-spirited or an attempt
to hoodwink others all because it isn’t
who we have traditionally been it’s
clear that alongside physical
development we are all engaged in a
lifelong process of psychological
evolution which is far harder to spot to
discuss and to give room for in others
because we look more or less the same
from the outside those around us
naturally assume that we must remain
more or less the same on the inside –
yet we are continually on the way to
discovering new sides of ourselves with
shedding allegiances stretching
ourselves in unfamiliar directions and
clearing out irrelevant positions and
enthusiasms perhaps we’re gaming a new
zone of confidence at work or we’re
getting more cautious and circumspect
where we were once rather reckless we
might be discovering the beginnings of a
new kind of passion for the Arts where
we used to be quite judgmental or
perhaps we’re firming up certain
opinions around money or politics these
changes may not yet be very clear even
to us there are no birthdays to mark
them or public occasions to lend them
weight we can’t easily explain them to
our partner and may not be too sure how
to make them sound plausible and yet the
changes matter to us hugely they are in
a way the most important things going on
in our inner lives right now and we are
therefore acutely sensitive to anyone
who might sweep away or with a mocking
laugh destroy the tentative foundations
of our future selves children show us
most clearly the passions unleashed when
another person holds us too tightly to
an earlier version of ourselves at a
party a parent might explain of her
oh he’s five only to find the child
approaching them a moment later and
protesting in intense angry whisper
that’s not true at all I’m five and
three-quarters next Tuesday giving due
weight to our evolutions be they bodily
or emotion
can matter an awful lot that’s why we
can find ourselves in such intense
arguments when a partner makes a remark
that would have interested the person we
used to be back in the spring or they
make a criticism which could have been
very true of our outlook at Christmas or
buys a jacket we would have loved three
summers ago
what rankles is the static picture of
who we are that’s implied in what our
partner has done and that offends the
part of us that associates intimacy with
being given the space to evolve
despite their love our partner hasn’t
kept pace with our growth they failed to
be sympathetic to the impulse for change
they are fixing us too tightly to a
portrait that though it was perhaps once
satisfying is truly no longer accurate
the partner isn’t being mean change is
frightening because the one evolution
we’re all terrified of is the kind that
will take our beloved’s away from us the
reason we get stubborn about a new love
of pickles may be that it stands as an
awful harbinger of what might be a new
love for say another person the ideal
solution would be to develop a view of
the essential normality an unthreatening
nature of growth we will all over a long
term relationship be growing in a range
of ways which can undermine any settled
claim by one person to know the other
what we grasp of our partner can only
ever be partial and temporary and we
shouldn’t grow jealous or angry on that
score alone we’re not like books written
once and shelved in a static library we
are like continuously updated edited and
expanded online texts where a core set
of themes is daily enriched and newest
life before our eyes
true love requires us to allow our
partner to become someone rather
different than they were when we met
them and to welcome their evolutions
rather than use the portrait we painted
of them at the start as the fixed
reference point from which any deviation
has to be considered a disloyalty the
creature who emerges from the chrysalis
is as likely to love us more
intelligently and deeply as they are to
want to fly away to someone new
we should use the phrase I don’t really
understand you anymore not as a
despairing exclamation but as a hopeful
call to renew our sources of intimate
insight it’s common to accuse long-term
relationships of being a bit boring but
our tendency to evolve offers us a way
out of the limitations of monogamy we
are if we are correctly attuned to the
phenomenon only ever with one person for
a very short time in truth we cohabit
with constantly shifting array of people
who just happen to have the same name
and inhabit more or less the same body
and lie next to us in similar ways in
bed yet beyond these common points such
are the differences they may really just
as well sometimes be wholly new people
we can in one relationship without drama
enjoy an array of new lovers embracing
all the different versions of the one
our relationship reboot cards inspire
conversations that can help to rekindle
love between you and your partner for more click the link now
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