Monday, December 21, 2009

Trade

In any relationship, there are bound to be trade offs. It's wholly impossible for any two people, in any kind of relationship, to always be evenly balanced. Whether it's marriage or friendship, co-workers or siblings, someone always has to be the one giving more.

Though it would be ideal to get precisely the same amount of effort, love and trust out of every relationship that you put in, life just doesn't work that way. Instead, one half of the relationship is always giving more. The other side, needing more. I know that in my life, I've traded places with many.

In most relationships, that dynamic changes over time. Hopefully the parties switch sides, at least occasionally. Hopefully it isn't always one person expending more energy. Of course, each of us could probably identify relationships that we have like that. The ones where we are constantly reassuring, helping, fixing. Over time, relationships like that can drain the energy out of you. When it starts to become obvious that you aren't ever getting much back. When the relationship ceases to truly be a relationship. When it becomes a parasitic one rather than anything resembling a symbiotic one.

Even those parasitic relationships, some call them toxic, they serve a purpose for those of us in them. For if you are anything like me, and I'd suppose that some of you are, a part of you needs to help, to fix, to reassure. And in that sense, the relationship serves a very real purpose, even if what you need isn't coming directly from the other person at all. Even if you are really only getting what you crave from the relationship simply by being needed.

I think that we all have to feel needed. At least women, anyway. It's what drives us to motherhood. What makes us so desperately want a person to depend on us for every single thing. And that innate sense of helping isn't something that goes away easily. It remains with us, most of us, forever. It is a great strength, but also a great weakness. It leaves us vulnerable. Let's all hope that those who surround us can appreciate the beauty of that weakness, without ever taking it for granted. For if they do, they are doing a great disservice to us all.

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