Loving on Life’s Terms means accepting Reality as it appears.
Hunter broke up with Ilyana. It broke his heart and it didn’t. He met her ten years ago. They enjoyed the same movies, music and comedians. They liked the same restaurants and had fun exploring new ones. Shopping was intriguing, especially when they made each other laugh with whispered observations.
He reached out first and she responded. He invited and came up with plans for them. This seemed okay, most of the time; except for those times that he wished she would text him on her own initiative. But then again, he was the guy and she was “traditional”. He didn’t feel like the burden of guiding the relationship was on him. Not necessarily. Her responsiveness helped him feel they had a partnership.
Within the year he asked her to marry him. She said yes.
Engagement meant planning and budgeting. Engagement meant talking things over and coming up with the best wedding for both of them. Except it didn’t. It seemed to become Ilyana’s Day. She did this through making decisions over things too small to bother him with. She did this by planning with her girlfriends and mother instead of with him. She scheduled the tasting event with her sister during Hunter’s work day.
Behavior speaks louder than words.
Attempts to talk about his worry were met with rationales. He encouraged her to include him, thinking this was a learning curve for her as they moved into the next stage of their partnership. When he adjusted his schedule to accommodate the tasting event he was met with an angry Ilyana who felt he was intruding on her time with her sister. After apologizing and trying to soothe her, Hunter was left with an uneasy feeling. Wasn’t the tasting event supposed to be for the two of them? Wasn’t the wedding reception a party thrown by the two of them to welcome others into celebrating their public promises to each other? He was the one to be at the tasting event. Not Ilyana’s sister.
Long story short: Hunter understood that his partnership needs didn’t match her partnership needs. He had explained her behavior away by blaming her family of origin, her work schedule, her upbringing, “The Rules,” her period. He told himself they would grow together and she would understand how to partner him. He hoped she would learn to be affectionate and initiate more than she did.
“The tasting event is a huge metaphor for me. I had this moment of clarity: something isn’t right. Instead of explaining it away or hoping she could change, I realized this taste, this feeling, was the important thing.” He broke up with her. He stayed single and dated enough to learn to see each woman clearly. Hunter did not explain anything to himself, instead, asking for clarity, talking with each woman about what he liked and didn’t like, what he saw and didn’t see, how he felt.
Hunter met Meg. Hunter married Meg. Meg shared the special day, including the tasting event. They have been married for 7 years. More importantly, they have related to each other for 7 years. They have asked questions, loved, explained and seen each other clearly, as clearly as possible. They are loving on Life’s Terms.