On January 19, I wrote of my confusion with people: what are people for? How do I connect to people and yet remain independent of them? How to foster mutual happiness without forcing a transactional exchange?
My people confusion extends deep into primary relationships. Specifically, how close can I get to another, or should?
Childhood loneliness impels me towards a tight connection with the goal of ultimately merging psychically with another. Can we share thought patterns for complete understanding?
Even contemporary relationship advice highlights communication and connection for lasting love. This one New York Times article suggests answering 36 questions with a partner – any partner – to deepen a relationship.
“Much of Dr. Aron’s research focuses on creating interpersonal closeness. In particular, several studies investigate the ways we incorporate others into our sense of self… I’ve begun to think love is a more pliable thing than we make it out to be. Arthur Aron’s study taught me that it’s possible — simple, even — to generate trust and intimacy, the feelings love needs to thrive.”
We seek to know and be known. If I lay bare who I am, how I think, and what I am about, then I may finally be understood, cherished, and at home.
So I’m attracted to sameness: same interests, same gender, same look, even the same big nose. Similarity facilities understanding and closeness, right? Difference means distance and discord. No way someone as different as a woman could ever “get” me?
Yet people are different. As I seek to break down the walls of difference, I dismiss every person’s unique separateness. Ms. Deb kindly sent me a quote:
“A complete sharing between two people is an impossibility, and whenever it seems, nevertheless, to exist, it is a narrowing, a mutual agreement which robs either one member or both of his fullest freedom and development. But, once the realization is accepted that, even between the closest human beings, infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole and against a wide sky! –Rilke”
So true, so confusing.
I grew apart from Greg because of our differences in temperament. We wanted different things from a relationship. We have different mood, introversion, and activities.
I stare now in utter bafflement, fascination and excitement at that divide. My life journey may not be to merge with another, but to investigate and acknowledge the different. So challenging, so fresh.