This morning I came across the initial, long emails where we explored the possibility of living our lives together. I knew we had lots of differences so I asked for a sharing of our fears and how we would overcome our differences. The emails were filled with confidence and love ... by communicating and loving each other, we would overcome the differences. So, we jumped in with both feet.
I had been wondering a lot about how I got into the relationship when the pitfalls were so clear from the beginning. Finding these emails eased a bit of the judgment I was feeling toward myself. I did hear the warning bells but we talked about them and thought we could work through them. I took a chance on love and I’m not sure that’s ever a wrong thing.
The error, I think now, was that both of us let our loneliness and life-long connection cloud our ability to see the reality of who we actually are as people, a reality that quickly became apparent in the every day reality of living together. We projected onto each other the fantasy of what we wanted in our lives and when reality started to tear through the fantasy, we both wound up hurt and disappointed. Then, rather than focusing on our common bonds and using those to weave a stronger relationship, we focused on our differences and pulled the fabric apart until it was in such tatters that it could never be whole again.
I keep trying to find the lesson in all of this. It has made me doubt my ability to see the reality of another person. How can I avoid projecting my self and my fantasy onto others? How can I know when they are projecting their fantasy onto me?
Perhaps part of the answer is understanding that the beginning of any new friendship or relationship is almost pure projection and fantasy. I see myself in you and feel like I’m falling in love. Perhaps it’s only when I begin to understand you as a real human, brilliant and flawed, separate from me, that I can truly choose to love you.
Until then, I’m only loving myself. So, perhaps, the big lesson in all of this is to learn to love myself more fully ... enough that I wouldn’t need to project myself onto someone else in order to fall in love. John O’Donohue says in Anam Cara:
"A friend is a loved one who awakens your life in order to free the wild possibiities within you."Can I befriend myself enough to free the wild possibilities within? And, by doing that, can I become more available to love the true person within each of my friends? I can, at least, keep trying.