Re­la­tion­ship ap­proval starts with your­self

QT Magazine - - RELATIONSHIP - WITH NA­DIA, FROM MAR­RIED AT FIRST SIGHT

Tra­di­tion goes out the win­dow

WHEN I was eight, my sis­ter and I would fol­low Mum to choir prac­tice, a choir that would sing re­li­gious mu­sic, mainly in Latin.

We started to learn sight read­ing. I went on to de­velop my skills at choir school, singing at wed­dings on week­ends. With clas­si­cal mu­sic so em­bed­ded in my roots, I used it as a way to es­cape and day­dream. I got a schol­ar­ship to the Ade­laide Con­ser­va­to­rium to con­tinue my learn­ing as a clas­sic vo­cal­ist. I al­ways thought clas­si­cal mu­sic was ro­man­tic and passionate. Through mu­sic, I imag­ined ex­actly how my wed­ding would look and what mu­sic I would have, I hon­estly en­vi­sioned love as fairy­tale.

A clas­sic day­dreamer through­out my jour­ney into adult­hood, those fun­da­men­tal val­ues sur­round­ing love seemed so far fetched and dif­fi­cult to find. My sis­ter and I grew up in a sin­gle-par­ent fam­ily with my mother and in to­day’s so­ci­ety, that doesn’t seem so un­usual any more. The lack of a father fig­ure made it more chal­leng­ing to fig­ure out what a good re­la­tion­ship should look like and how a healthy re­la­tion­ship should play out. Just like a ro­man­tic movie, show­ing all the fine mo­ments and amaz­ing stuff, I le­git­i­mately thought th­ese edited love sto­ries were what a func­tional re­la­tion­ship should look like. When I started to ask cou­ples how they met, how they fell in love, I was al­ways cap­ti­vated. But the re­al­ity is, many of th­ese sto­ries failed to men­tion the hard­ships and sacrifices that brought th­ese re­la­tion­ships to that tip­ping point to eter­nal love.

With much time to re­flect on love, I can see how love sto­ries have be­gun to take on a dif­fer­ent realm in to­day’s so­ci­ety. Tra­di­tion is out the win­dow. In fact the nor­mal con­ven­tional love I used to pine for as a tween, make me (now in my 30s) feel a bit un­com­fort­able, a lit­tle trapped and smoth­ered. As a sin­gle, I now see the key to love as be­ing pro­gres­sive, just like the kind of so­ci­ety to which I want to be at­tached.

I think it has been so em­pow­er­ing tak­ing time to get to know Na­dia and de­velop a re­la­tion­ship with her, rather than de­pend on another to ful­fil me or make me happy. It was a hard road to self-ac­cep­tance. push­ing through lonely nights, run­ning to the arms and com­pany of some­one to ful­fil that lone­li­ness.

Why do we find it so hard to look into our own heart and soul? If we are hard on our­selves, will that make us strive to do more, be more and not just set­tle? What if that lit­tle voice in­side our heads takes this too far with an ob­ses­sion to achieve and “be bet­ter” and “do bet­ter” that we al­most be­come too fo­cused on achieve­ment than opening the heart to love and re­la­tion­ships, “I will be hap­pier when…”

It is easy within a re­la­tion­ship to cast re­spon­si­bil­ity of our lack of con­fi­dence and lack of achieve­ment onto your part­ner­ship. What I learned from be­ing sin­gle is when you elim­i­nate fam­ily, friends and re­la­tion­ships, you have you and some­times in those hard times, you need to learn how to care and nur­ture your­self. This means you have to take con­trol of your hap­pi­ness.

Be­ing sin­gle in my 30s, I learned that run­ning to the arms of a man who has no in­ten­tion of a fu­ture with you is a waste of time. I learned how to check in with my­self and ask what does Na­dia want to do and what does Na­dia need, al­low­ing me to em­power my­self and some­times that meant choos­ing a night in, choos­ing a movie I loved and eat­ing what I wanted rather than at­tend­ing a so­cial en­gage­ment or go­ing on a date. Some­times it meant I would spend three hours on my bike in my own thoughts.

But now sum­mer is upon us and get­ting back into the dat­ing game is a thing. Letting go of the com­fort­able re­la­tion­ship I nur­tured with my­self means opening my heart and mind to con­nect­ing with men again. So as the nights get longer and warmer, the dresses get shorter, the gazes linger (at the bar that is), now is the time to get back into the game.

Time to let go of the trau­mas of your re­la­tion­ships past, there is no set time as to when you should or shouldn’t be in a re­la­tion­ship. When you get the dreaded ques­tion “when are you go­ing to set­tle down”, you can con­fi­dently say “when I am ready, thank you”. Re­spect your­self when dat­ing and con­tinue to nur­ture your re­la­tion­ship with your­self.

Fi­nally, on the topic of love, never loose faith in love – the ro­mance, lis­ten­ing to the twisted truths of love, the hur­dles many go through, their so­cial dilemma, clos­ing and opening doors. The com­mon thread is courage and trust.

Re­mem­ber, you can’t al­ways win at ev­ery­thing but you can laugh at ev­ery­thing.

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