the other day, a friend of mine told me that she would be changing her cellphone number. when asked why, she told me that the previous number had so many bad memories from so many broken relationships, that she wanted to move on from them all. this led to a series of txt msgs about the meaning, nature and purpose of love and the risk of getting rejected or hurt.
i told her that while the possibility of rejection was part of the risk of opening up to someone, most of the time we are actually unaware of the unspoken expectations we bring into the budding relationship. when we are unaware of these expectations, we cannot effectively communicate to the other person where we are coming from and where we wish the relationship to go to. if we fail to communicate, how can we expect the other party to respond in kind? all we would be reading from the other person's actions is how s/he did not go out of their own selves and reach out to us.
more importantly, if we do not get to the bottom of why our relationships fail, we are bound to repeat them again and again. we could end up with a litany of how people did not understand us enough, how this or that person wasn't that considerate enough, and so on and so forth. instead of timeless testaments to the healing and binding nature of love, we may become bitter and usually obnoxious prophets of woe.
from my own wounded experience, i have realized (thankfully, with the help of more experienced people) that the following questions are important to ask at any time in the relationship.
(1) why do we feel the need to enter into the relationship in the first place?
(2) are we aware of the demands we impose upon the other person?
(3) are we aware of how willing or unwilling we are to change ourselves to make the relationship work?
(4) is the other person aware of his/her own demands and (un)willingness?
(5) do any or both of us communicate effectively and honestly to each other?
believe me, these are not easy questions to answer. in fact, these are the questions that may take a lifetime to realize that they need to be asked in the first place. long after we have begun new relationships or ended old ones, these are the questions that stay with us.
and, no matter how many times we have replaced our cellphone numbers, these are the questions that are bound to remain.