There was a song by The Pretenders that my baby sister used to love. I’m not sure what the title was but it’s got a line that says ‘there’s a thin line between love and hate’. It took me forever to really understand what that meant but when it finally made sense, I realized that there is a thin line between a lot of things really.
It’s there all the time in relationships. The boundary of this thin line is most tested in crisis and how far we decide to push it solidifies or dissolves the line, neither of which are good. Relationships are a tricky thing to master. The only relationships we find ourselves in that requires more effort to pull away from is family relationship, anything else requires effort to REMAIN in it.
Someone said to me once that the older he got, the more defined his idea of ‘the one’ became and the more difficult it was to find her. I had asked him then if it probably was because he had become more critical and demanding with the passing of time and he assured me that it was the contrary. To a certain extend I agree with him. We learn from our experiences, certain experiences leave us wanting a replay, others leave us swearing never again, so yes, I suppose we get a clearer picture of what thrills or pisses us as we grow older.
However, I do not believe age has anything to do with common sense when it comes to deciding when and where to push our luck. Being in a relationship is all about decision. There is always the basic reason why we were drawn to the person in question and almost all the time, that basic reason has very little to do with logic, but it is good enough to make us decide we want to know them more, hoping of course to make them a part of our lives. But give it a little time and we’ll begin to see that this awesome person is human after all (full of flaws). Now this is the point where an important decision comes to play - do we want to hang around long enough to understand if the flaw if acquired and can be shed off or if it is an in build part of this person? And if so, is it something we can (or want to) live with?
Everyone has two lists of things to decide to stand or not - The list that is about the other person’s flaw - does he slurp his soup? Does he pick his nose? Is he good looking enough? Is he rude and crude…etc, then there is the other list, about this person’s flaws in relation to you. Does he criticize you all the time? Does he use you as his punch bag when something or someone else upsets him? Does he put you down to make himself feel better about his flaws? …etc
Sometimes we tell ourselves, I can put up with that even if I don’t like it because it will help me understand him better. That is just being in denial. There are a lot of ways to understand a person without putting up with their bad behaviour, ESPECIALLY if it is in the slightest disrespectful to you. If he starts off being disrespectful now, trust me, you don’t want to hang around to see what he’d do when he’s caught you in his net.
If he picks a fight with you because he is upset about something else that has nothing to do with you and you put up with that, no matter how understanding you think you are being (hey, we all get upset and misbehave and should be graceful to our loved ones when they get that way….right?), you are only helping in dissolving the line between respecting you and being able to be themselves and remain true to their emotions. What that does is, the offence will get bigger and more frequent until one day you cannot see the line at all…..on the other hand, you ought to be able to accommodate a person’s negative emotions. You don’t want him being afraid of showing his frustration before you because you’d take it the wrong way. The balance here is making him understand that as long as HE can see the line between being frustrated at something else before you AND still know it has nothing to do with you. He can break all the plates he wants.
Tricky situation isn’t it? What I am saying is that each boundary line is personal and each person has to decide for themselves what they are willing to put up with. It is important though to remember that when a behaviour gives you a bad feeling. No matter how small it is (compared to the bad feeling you got from it). DO NOT IGNORE IT. One day you’d pat yourself on the back and say “good job (Naan)”. Trust me, that’s a lot better than finding yourself in a situation that would require years of healing and possible therapy to be normal enough to cope again.
So look out for those thin lines and MIND THEM.