Lately I’ve been thinking about human relationships. Last night while in bed I was trying to think of an analogy that would be easy for anyone to understand. It didn’t take long for me to come up with one that even I could grasp.
I’ve written about relationships and friendships before. Anybody who knows me personally, knows that I take both very seriously. That’s why when one or both goes south for me, it’s hard . I’m talking very hard. I’ve yet to figure out how to smoothly sail that ship and I don’t think there will ever be a time that the waters of a broken relationship will be completely smooth, but what if we could look at a “break”, so to speak, in a new light? One that could possibly make it easier to navigate while keeping most of our sanity intact.
I want you to think about a serious relationship in terms of a very important place in your home.
When you first move into a place, the kitchen is essentially bare. It usually holds the important things like a fridge, stove top and sink. We all bring things with us into a relationship. Baggage from our past whether it be good or bad. These three appliances represent the usual things that one might bring with them to the table when becoming involved with someone, such as:
- A child(ren)
- Physical disabilities or illness
So now you have your basic kitchen, or foundation of the relationship. This is you or rather what you deal with on a daily basis.
Now let’s say that you’ve grown closer and in metaphorical terms, it’s time to start adding to your culinary space. The person you’re getting to know has some of their own things to bring. Could be the same stuff, but to keep it simple, we’ll just say that they bring in an extra set of flatware, plates, cups and pots and pans.
Over the days, weeks and months as you both begin to explore each other’s intricacies you begin to fill up your refrigerator of feelings. Fresh produce, fruits and important things like milk, butter and cream. You run through these items quickly throughout the initial stage of lust. Face it, more than likely you aren’t in true love yet. You’re still exploring those late night trysts, early morning hello’s and candle lit dinners.
Things are still so new that replenishing these “groceries” is effortless and you actually look forward to it. Time consuming things are often effortless in the beginning of relationships.
Then something happens. Something that brings you closer together and not in the carnal way that you’re used to. Maybe one of the kids has gotten sick, or there is discord at work and one of you needs to lean on the other for support. Up until now it’s been a whirlwind of emotions, revolving around physical intimacy and some “sort of” secrets that you’ve both indulged. Perhaps now though an ex has re-entered the picture and now you’ve found it in you to divulge part of your dark and ugly past. We all have a bit of one, don’t we?
It’s important for the growth of a relationship; this sharing of the not so pretty side of yourself.
So here you are, now purchasing longer lasting foodstuffs. Pasta, potatoes, rice and the like. Things that will sustain you through the hard times. When there isn’t a lot of time or energy to go to the store. When things are so hectic that you don’t have time to use the fresh food before it spoils. And that’s OK. The non-perishables are comfortable. Easy and easy is some times what we need. Soon you’ve added canned goods too because that’s easy as well.
One morning though you wake up and you intend to cook a grand breakfast like the old days but when you open that fridge door an unpleasant smell greets you. It doesn’t necessarily make you want to throw up but you definitely wrinkle your nose and shut the door quietly. All the food has spoiled. You’re not ready to tackle the clean up yet. Not ready to face that another one of your relationships has failed.
Maybe your love notices it too. You both ignore it, knowing something needs to be done and just like in real life, once you do clean it up, you know deep down you won’t be buying fresh food again with the other person.
One day they don’t call or come over and you’re sitting on the edge of the bed wondering why. You never hear from them again. Poof. Just like that.
A few days later you’re driving and you hear a song on the radio that reminds you of what you had. You reach to turn it but instead you just turn it down. You’ve decided that you can’t hide from the memories. It’s like the day you reach up and go to put your lunch for work in one of the Tupperware containers they left behind. You eat from it, maybe sadly, but instead of taking it home you throw it in the trash on your way out of the office. Slowly you get rid of a lot of things like this.
And that’s how I think we get over love that has gone sour. We can’t just throw out everything at once. It would be too painful. Our cabinets and pantries too bare at once. We still need some of those things to go on without losing our sanity. We can’t starve ourselves by throwing out all the pasta and potatoes just like we can’t starve our hearts by throwing out all the memories at once.
We’d never love again if we didn’t remember the easy times. The good times.