Barbara L. Green, LCSW



"Recently I Was Reminded"  

Recently I was reminded of just how fragile relationships are, including my own. I spent the weekend visiting my friend Margaret and her new husband Bill. I noticed qualities in Bill I found particularly appealing and that was unsettling for me.

When I arrived, Bill was repairing a broken lamp; Iíve always liked men who are skilled at home repair. Later, Bill mixed drinks for everyone, and while I rarely drink, I found myself admiring how comfortable he was in the role of bartender. Finally, when I was leaving, Bill noticed some adhesive tape marks on my car window; he spontaneously took out a pocket knife and scraped the window clean. While none of these behaviors is relationship sustaining, I am very embarrassed to admit that I was quite drawn to them. I would feel better if I were attracted to a manís deep sense of social justice or the loving way he spoke to his children, instead I found myself admiring adhesive tape removing skills!

Even more disturbing was that I found myself wondering what Peter, my partner, would do in those same circumstances. The lamp would definitely be put in the dumpster. Since Peter drinks as little as I do, I was pretty sure his bar tending skills would not hold up in a competition. I know Peter must have a pocket knife somewhere, but I donít remember ever seeing it, let alone seeing him scrape adhesive tape off of my carís window.

When I told Peter about my weekend, including my attraction to Billís unique combination of talents. Peterís response truly touched my heart. He said, ďItís hard for me knowing that sometimes I disappoint you. Iíd like to be everything to you.Ē When I heard the sincerity in Peterís voice, home repair, bar tending and adhesive tape removal suddenly seemed very unimportant. I remembered how much I treasure my own partner.

Relationships are fragile because there is always that part of us that wants to have everything and there will always be someone else who is better at something than our own partner. We can all too easily forget that mature love evolves from the mingling of pleasure and disappointment that is inherent in all committed love relationships.