Real Friendships

Bob was so happy to have me back. I have always liked beautiful clothes and jewellery. Whatever I wanted he would immediately buy for me. Fortunately, I new he was not rich, so I kept many of my wants to myself. I still had that longing for what I could achieve on my own but it was very much in abeyance in those first years because there were so many exciting things to do.

I have always liked change. I thought of my past as dreary and unhappy. What I was totally unaware of was how much I had learned from those early experiences. Neither did I know what lay ahead for me and just how many unawakened possibilities were hidden from me. I was not one of those people who blossom early. I had no idea of what it was that urged me never to give up looking for what I thought of as my great career. I have to laugh, when I look back, at how little I knew about myself and my potentials.

I was still not good at getting to know people. I still made no friends. This period in South America was a kind of healing process that I badly needed. I still had occasional thoughts that I should never have married Bob, not only for myself but for him as well. After two years of marriage I thought I must have a serious talk with him. Having got up my courage I asked him if we could have a little talk together for each of us to say to the other all those things we did not like about each other. He was astounded.

“I don’t know what you mean? There is nothing wrong with you. You are perfect!” He did not seem to have thought for one second, that I might have wanted to ask him what I found difficult in him. Gone was my hope of bringing my own thoughts into the open. What I wanted was to be recognised for myself as I am, not some goddess put on a pedestal. I am by no means a great beauty, nor would I want to be one. It was my inner self that mattered not the external appearances.

In a close relationship such as husband and wife, both need to feel that they know at least something of the inner nature of each other. More than anything I longed to be recognised for what I consider my best qualities and my worst. If Bob could not see the darker side of myself he was looking at a doll, not a real person. Only when both partners begin to understand each other’s real selves would we be able to have the closeness that would nourish both of us.

From time to time I thought it would be best to divorce, once the children were grown up, so that I might possibly find a relationship such as that I have just described. However, things turned out quite differently from how they seemed. Piece by piece as I get further into this book I hope to show my readers that there is no-one who will complement our needs entirely, nor is it desirable. Everything we need can be found within ourselves but not unless we learn how to relate with others in depth. Superficial encounters have their value but they do not do anything to strengthen long term relationship. If everyone understood this, there would be far fewer divorces. Bob was an only child. He thought our family was everything. When he died there was only one real friend who mourned him and knew the essence of his character. They met at grammar school and remained good friends.

“No man is an island” as the great poet John Donne told us centuries ago.