Reading the headline of this letter, you probably think this is not for you. Because you are good with limits. It’s just that in this particular relationship, you don’t seem to have many. Am I close?
You will not be ready to hear a lot of the things I want to tell you. You need time and space to experience, to make mistakes, grow, and embody the lessons. But maybe these words can plant a seed.
I know you have already started to notice that you are unhappy in your relationship most of the time. And that you tell yourself that those unhappy times are just moments. The happy times, sporadic as they are, are the essence of the relationship. Right?
That is the story you tell everyone. The story you tell yourself. Yes, the relationship is challenging, but that is how you both grow. And you have so much fun together, travelling the world, having adventures, working together. So much love.
You are terrified all of that will disappear if you are not good enough, if you are not open enough, fun enough, caring enough, useful enough. You’re terrified it will all go away if it turns out you have desires that don’t match theirs. Or limits for that matter. So you ignore those and marvel: isn’t it miraculous how your desires and limits match up so seamlessly to theirs?
When they speak of a desire you rush to fulfil it. This is your chance to show them you are worthy of their attention, their love. You are not going to spoil that with something as silly as limits, with something as disrupting as a ‘no’. You will just pull through and get your reward: being allowed to stay.
Meanwhile you feel lousy most of the time. You are so focused on being the Perfect Partner that you do not even realise you are constantly crossing your own limits, and letting them cross those as well.
You feel resentful, but don’t let yourself feel it. You cry most nights, but tell yourself you are just tired. And you are tired. So tired. But that is surely because of jetlag, work, or stress. It is certainly, absolutely, not because you are in a relationship where hardly any of your needs are met while you bend over backwards to meet theirs.