This article is a reflection on opposites in a relationship… personal relations! The dynamics of two ends of the spectrum and everything else in between is what I believe gives situations energy and life.
So without further ado, here’s some food for thought…
Naughty but Nice
It’s great being nice, but as the saying goes, “Nice guys finish last!” …There’s a time for being nice and noble as there is for being naughty and nasty. The most important thing, is to do what’s appropriate for the situation, rather than trying to always be one type or the other.
Public vs Private
Some people in a relationship boast and brag about it. They’re happy, bless them, so they want to spread their love and joy for example pictures all over social media of them and “bae”. But relationships are like the weather, some days are sunny and other days there may be a storm. A maxim that’s never been truer is, “A private life is a happy life” …okay, so being private is not a guarantee of lifelong happiness, but it does give you some protection from the storm when it does hit. Privacy is like a shelter. We all know, and should remember, to keep all negativity behind closed doors. However I believe there’s something great in even keeping the good times private too. Doesn’t that make it even more special and intimate? After all, a relationship is between you and your boo, not the whole world!
Love & War
They say all is fair in love and war. This may spark controversy but I think the best relationships are a mixture of love & war; passions from both angles and extremes. We talk about the “battle of the sexes” and that “men are from Mars and women are from Venus”. Doesn’t if feel like we’re from different planets at times?
The worst kind of relationship is where the energy is dead. It’s truly the end when there’s no feeling, no emotion, no spark isn’t it? However if your partner gets your blood flowing or juices going, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons, it’s better than nothing at all. Better someone who knows how to push your buttons than one who’s clueless. If my life was a movie and I had an arch-enemy they might say something like, “Why tip toe through life just to arrive safely at death’s door.”
Don’t be afraid to fight, especially for what you believe in. There’s no greater intimacy than making up, or having your sparring partner lick your wounds! Just remember to fight fair and do it for love. No war crimes need be committed.
Boredom vs Excitement
We all get bored at some point. No matter who we are, how great we are, or who we’re with. This is especially true if and when you move in together with your partner. The wife of a good friend of mine has her Instagram bio as, “mother wife & friend...life's boring so I entertain myself” …I help with the entertainment as much as I can.
Risk and danger are of course great sources of excitement. As juvenile as it may sound, there is a great pleasure and thrill in pushing the boundaries and testing the limits of ourselves and others.
There is a cost to this of course. Get it wrong, or go too far, and you risk losing “everything”. They say trust is expensive as it takes years to build and can be destroyed in an instant.
As we mature, we can often become more boring. We strive for stability so we can build our lives with strength and confidence in the foundations that we have laid. Although this is one level of wisdom, I believe the extremely wise recognise the virtue and importance of taking worthwhile, considered and calculated risks.
A common reflection and regret of those in later life, that is the eldest generation, is that they wish they had taken more risks, not been afraid and seized more opportunities. Some say the good die young or live by the mantra “Live fast, die young!” …When we tie this into YOLO (you only live once) it sounds like the world is encouraging us to, “Just Do It!”
The fear will never go away, and if it does, that’s a problem (we need to face and conquer new fears). You know you’re truly living and thriving when you step up to the plate and feel the fear and do it anyway. You will not be bored!
Bring Life vs Cause Death
When people find something funny, amusing or entertaining, or simply just pleasurable, they often say that it, or the person, gave them “more life”. There’s a popular dancehall song by Kalado called “Bring Life” which sums up this concept nicely (please beware this is dancehall, so parental advisory explicit content!)
Life is of course meant for living, not just for surviving & paying bills until you die. To always be mindful of our end need not be morbid nor depressing. We remember loved ones who have passed and we celebrate and honour them. At the same time, by being mindful that no one is here forever, we are reminded to live life to the max. Carpe diem, or “seize the day”, is a good mantra to live by. It may be difficult to always live each day like it might be our last, after all there are real benefits of planning, patience and preparing for the future. However at the same time, we do not want to live with hesitation, too many missed opportunities or regrets.
Relationships are designed to bring life. However, taken to the extreme: jealousy, anger, rage and revenge can, in the worst cases, cause death… of the relationship if not the people involved!
It’s a wise idea to move away from those people who jeopardise your life and happiness. Those who stick out long-term relationships will tell you that it’s cyclical… relationships, like many things in life, go through a cycle that usually repeats itself and with any luck, develop grow and strengthen over time.
Some people go from relationship to relationship, often repeating the same or similar cycles and we hope learning and growing from each experience. Others have an on-off relationship with the same person for years and each time follow the natural cycle that the relationship goes through. The worst thing to do is resist, or fight, the natural flow of a relationship. When it’s time to let go, move on, or distance yourself from your other half, you must do this. Holding on when it’s time to let go is like going against nature and the natural force, energy & dynamic that the situation demands. It can backfire badly and the more you go against the natural flow, the worst the situation becomes… you get more of what you don’t want.
Pride vs Shame
When you’ve met your match and bonded with your soul-mate you feel immense joy and pride. Everything’s perfect. But alas, we’re human and we all fall from the pedestal of being the perfect partner, that our new love once saw in us. We all fall from grace at times.
Sometimes, we and our significant other, can cause us great embarrassment and shame. The best, most formidable and strongest couples go through everything that’s designed to tear them apart, yet still remain together.
This is not to say that some people or relationships are unbreakable… we are all breakable. However, even when the pieces shatter and it feels like the world is over, life goes on.
If you have the faith and fortitude to pick up the pieces together, even if your backs are turned away from each other for a time, you can eventually come back stronger than ever before. The best testimonies are from the couples that have gone through the worst ‘sheet’ you can ever imagine and yet are still here to tell the tale. They have a deeper connection and respect for each other than you will ever know.
Sinner vs Saint
Those who marry, or hook up in an exclusive long-term relationship (LTR), must know that they are with a sinner. Never go into a relationship thinking that you will always be honoured, valued, respected. Do not expect or demand loyalty, faithfulness, truth and all the other gifts, qualities and virtues that come from a perfect saint. Yes you can demand them if you want, but you know that the reality is, that you live in the real world and so does your partner. We are far from perfect and so are all the influences out there. There’s no excuse for badness, sin, infidelity, disrespect, heartbreak… but that’s life, deal with it! Are you going to run from relationship to relationship looking for the perfect man or woman who has all the values that only an angel would be able to maintain? Or will you take a vow to be single forever so that you can escape all the drama and pain?
Even in a marriage or LTR, there are periods where you need to be “single”. That is, for solitude, to be by yourself so that you can think, reflect and “find yourself”. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and this can be true. You may also come face-to-face with an ex and be like, “What was I thinking, was I drunk during the whole relationship?” …as if our eyes are now open and you’ve woken up from whatever dizzy voodoo/sando spell you were under.
However we feel, and whatever reflections and conclusions we come to, just know that it’s okay. There’s no right or wrong. If you can accept yourself, how you feel, and how you are, then you’re halfway there. If you can accept the other person, love them and/or hate them, as you should, then that’s nothing short of a miracle… and good for you! ..both of you!
Scandal vs Reputation
There are few things in life juicer than a good scandal! Except of course if you’re at the centre of it.
A good reputation is an asset that can carry you far in life: in your social world as well as profession and career. A terrible reputation can drive you to emigrate, leave the country of your origin and seek a new life, new people and a fresh start where nobody knows your past. The only problem with that, is that nobody knows your name, it can be difficult to know who to trust and somehow your past always has a way of catching up with you, or haunting you.
Also, when you run from your past, it actually makes you more likely to repeat the same mistakes that you were supposed to learn from. If you can accept yourself, your past, your mistakes, without running from them or seeking new pastures, you will find out who your real friends are and have deeper and more meaningful relationships with others as well as yourself.
As your life changes, so will your circle of friends and associates. There will be a time where you need to cut certain people out of your life, lest they be like a cancer, eating away at the healthy part of you that needs to grow.
However, as you are on your journey, you will also grow closer to old friends who are on the same path as you. It can be great to make new friends who may be there life long, but it is even sweeter to reconnect with an old friends as your paths in life cross again once more.
Celebration vs Commiseration
Not all celebrations or commiserations need to be public. You can do both privately. However, regardless of how you choose, it is important to mark certain milestones and occasions.
For example, a couple who are separated and not talking, may still acknowledge and celebrate their anniversary, privately and individually, both knowing that they’re on each other’s minds. They may attend the same function, for example, on Valentine’s day: he with his boys and she with her girls. In life I see things happen like this in relationships and it only makes me smile.
Likewise, we acknowledge and mark solemn days as a time of reflection and remembrance: “Do you remember that time when we had a big fight about a year ago?” …hmmmmm. We forgive and forget, as we go about our daily lives, and we don’t let the baggage weigh us down. But we shouldn’t forget the lessons and how it’s helped us to grow.
Safety vs Danger
Whether we’re single or committed we will face both safety and danger. The single person may be safe from the dramas and headaches that can come with being too involved. But the danger is they may experience times of loneliness or they may miss a real or deeper intimacy that can be lacking in the single life.
For the committed, of course, it’s the opposite. The danger is that there are times your partner can drive you crazy. For some people it can be extreme, causing them to lose focus at work, or in other areas of their life. However, when the relationship is working, there’s no greater feeling than coming home to those safe and loving arms that keep you so warm and content all night long.
Staple Diet vs Healthy Varied Well-Balanced Diet
We all know it’s important to eat a healthy well balanced diet with food from a variety of sources. This way we get our entire range of nutrients to ensure, as much as possible, a long & strong life, of health & wellness.
However it’s much easier & convenient to cook the same regular foods that we’re used to. We get into a routine of buying the same groceries at the supermarket, and that store that sells our specialist provisions and ingredients. We pretty much have a staple diet and we eat something exotic, out of our usual range, on special occasions.
They say “variety is the spice of life” and I’m convinced that we (especially those from the Spice Island) live this phrase like it’s gospel.
Why then would you want to stay with the same partner for the rest of your life? Wouldn’t the whole experience get bland, boring and stale after a time? If not in months, then over the years? How depressing would it be, when you have to consciously make an effort to “spice things up” because the energy has gotten so dull and dead. The routine all too familiar and when there seems to be “nothing new under the sun” when it comes to being with your long-term mate.
What do you do? Do you try hard to make the best of the situation with your partner? Do you do all you can to reignite that spark and get the flames burning again? Or do you break it off with your ole boo, take a break, separate, so that absence makes the heart grow fonder, meanwhile checking if the grass really is greener on the other side?
I believe we get energy from a wide variety of moods, people and personalities. These can be all wrapped up in your significant other, as we respond and react, to different situations.
However, family, friends, colleagues/co-workers, acquaintances and even strangers can all give us a variety of energy and experiences that makes being social, and interactive, with other fellow human beings fulfilling and stimulating.
There are times when we just want to go wild and crazy and fete with a party animal. There are other times when we need to find meaning and talk to someone who is deeply spiritual and/or well grounded. There are times for being clean and having a spotless professional image. There are times for being dirty, rolling around in the mud, or the gutter, and playing jab.
We may need to escape to a world of fantasy with someone, so that we can, for a time, forget about our worries and let our hair down. There are other times when we need a dose of reality and we want to be with someone who will tell us like it is and always keep it real.
No one person, no one partner, can be all things to us, at all times. A grave mistake many couples deeply in love make, is to shut off the rest of the world or be like, “it’s me and bae against the world” (yes, I hate the word bae too, lol)
It’s important to remain social. And while some people, rightly or wrongly, may feel insecure about this (your boo may have chemistry with someone else and sparks may fly) the alternative of being isolated can be far worse in the long run.
The best thing you can do is to have faith and know that no matter what happens, everything will be alright. If you believe that to your core, then it will always be true.
Main vs Side
The “main-chick” and the “side-chick” and the equivalent for men… This is a highly controversial concept and is often relegated as ‘street talk’ for them ghetto people in the hood or shameless housewives of Atlanta, New Jersey or Cheshire.
Some people pride themselves in having a “side dish”. Others believe it’s very essential and that they wouldn’t be able to maintain a “main relationship” without it. Others still are completely disgusted by the idea and find it completely unnecessary, ignorant and selfish.
Whatever your view on the subject, know that this is not a new concept by far. The idea of a mister taking a mistress, or a wife taking a lover, goes as far back as the concept of marriage itself. A noble man may want a strong confident intelligent woman, but is also attracted to the submissive attractive young airhead. A virtuous woman may be with a gentleman who has everything going for him and who gives her the world, but she may be attracted to the young ignorant arrogant stud because he oozes confidence with his rippling six-pack abs, dashing looks, sense of danger and excitement. Enter the stereotypical gardener. Enter the office secretary/PA. Or the many other professions or attractions in this world.
There are many temptations and many reasons why people stray. None of them are excusable and yet the reasons are very real, even if they’re not fully understood.
What do you do? Scratch their car? Burn the house down? Leave, abandon? Fight for what’s yours? Show them who’s boss?
The best thing to do in my opinion is to find out who you are. Take the focus off the other person, and people, completely. When that bombshell hits, isolate yourself as much as possible while at the same time keeping your closet family around you. Your parents are your best bet, followed by any other close relations that you really value. However, be wary of friends if you can help it, especially those that get angry with you and help you seek revenge. Whatever hate, heat and shade you throw to your ex, imagine you’re doing back to yourself. Imagine it’s not your ex, but you, who’s “committed the crime”. Hopefully this will make it easier to see things from the other perspective and most importantly forgive them and yourself. Yes, you caused it too, but just because you were both involved in the downfall of your relationship, doesn’t mean any one of you can place blame. These things happen and it’s called life. Most, if not all, of us will go through it at some point.
We have much less control about how we truly feel about one another than we’d like to realise. Although we can exert control over our actions and impulses, we cannot master control over our feelings and our happiness. Oh yes, we can try! But ultimately we have to accept them, rather than control them, in order to be at peace and find the happiness we look for.
Security vs Freedom
“Haha… now you’re trapped!” …says your bridesmaid or best-man on your wedding day. You’ve given up your “freedom” because you’ve found “the one”.
A good relationship is one where you can completely be yourself. No pretence, no saving face, no acting, no performance, no putting it on… in a relationship this is the complete freedom that allows you to feel so loved and content for who you are. You feel secure to be exactly who you are, warts and all. Your partner takes you for who you are, the good, the bad and the ugly.
However, this often comes at a cost: no flirting, no privacy, no dating anybody else… which can feel like, “no fun, no enjoyment, no freedom”. Now if you’re deeply in love with your partner, you wouldn’t want to do any of these things, there’s no time for anything or anybody else, right? Of course! …but for how long?
Because relationships are cyclical, there will be a point in the natural flow and cycle of things where you just can’t stand each other and don’t want to be around one another. Those are the times we are, of course, most susceptible to “breaking all the rules”.
What do you do, to make sure you’re partner isn’t cheating or doing things they’re not supposed to?
My advice would be to do nothing. There’s a phrase that goes, “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you it’s truly yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.”
This can be easier said than done. But remember we don’t own anybody. Those days of owning people were abolished in 1833 when 700,000 West Indians became legally free. So I’m surprised when people claim “my man” and “my woman” like they have ownership. Remember a relationship is always 100% voluntary, every ‘single’ day, and even if you exchange rings, sign a contract and make a vow to have & to hold one another for life …you may find that cut short if you ever try to enforce or oppress another person’s right to choose. Love is a choice of the heart and we have very little control over those feelings, no matter how hard we try. So forgive your partner, and relax your ego, if you’re not always their first choice every day from now until forever. The best thing you can do is to improve yourself as a person and be the person they want to fall in love with again and again.
Marriage vs Slackness
In a marriage or LTR, slackness is essential. I don’t mean being completely reckless or immoral, but to have fun with each other and keep laughing & smiling. To joke, to frolic, to go out and to feel like you’re truly living!
Life is not worth living if you’re constantly holding back or feel like you’re unable to be who you truly are. Love is waking up every morning deciding to love your partner exactly for who they are. Why should you have only the best bits of them?
“If you cannot accept me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.”
Keep loving. Keep forgiving. Keep smiling.