I’ve written in the past about abuse in a relationship and recovering from it.
And when today’s topic popped up on my calendar, it instantly connected.
When I got married, I believed that my husband understood me.
This belief is what ultimately led me to being abused. I don’t have a history of it, it wasn’t a pattern for me. It was simply that I believed when he told me something, it was from a place of KNOWING me.
Which is funny, because looking back, I didn’t KNOW me.
I didn’t know that I’m an amazing person with a big heart.
I didn’t know that some people consider me beautiful.
I didn’t know that I had value as a person, versus what I could do on any given day.
But I figured if all of those things were true, he would see those things and reflect them back to me, because he KNEW me.
Just like I would look for and see what was amazing in him and reflect those things back at him.
Because, like a mirror reflection, he was “my other half.”
Or, that’s what I believed.
And I thought The Cure was utterly cynical and sad:
I still do, actually (but the hair!). The lyrics say:
And this is why I hate you
And how I understand
That no-one ever knows or loves another
Or loves another
Ah. Well, I believe we cannot KNOW another, we can keep trying to learn and understand each other forever.
I don’t think that precludes love, though.
Which is kind of where the “between a rock and a hard place” of the belief comes in.
It’s a false dichotomy:
Either we KNOW and love each other or we don’t understand each other and hate (or don’t love) each other.
Sure, we want to feel understood. We want to feel heard. We need this.
No one person will know and understand and agree with and “grok” every aspect of who we are, and love can still flourish.
In fact, studies have shown that those who see love as a perfect unity self-report as being less satisfied with their relationships (source), and those who believe that sex is some sort of destiny (right person) have less satisfying sex and less satisfied sexual partners, versus those who think that great sex between people comes from learning and getting better together. (source)
So, now, I don’t expect to be understood completely.
In fact, I look for the ways in which I differ from the people I love, and how I can see them 100%, and love and accept them, even when I don’t understand or disagree.
And I search for the same from them.
As far as being understood intuitively? Nah. Not for me. I enjoy the time it takes to get to know each other. To share and battle it out over ideas. To find my places inside someone’s head, and the surprises that come from NOT knowing someone 100%.
And if you feel 100% totally understood, and that works for you. I’m so glad for you. I really am.
I’d say you are part of a very tiny minority. And the rest of us, well, we have to learn to revel in our differences to find happiness.
Or so it seems.