By Carol Rood
My journey through life has been complicated. Much of the complication I have brought on myself by making less than stellar choices. However, some of it just is. I have been blessed with many great relationships, and some not so great. I was blessed with two children from my marriage to my ex-husband, and for that I will be forever grateful for the relationship and grateful to him.
The relationship I had with my husband was great for the first few years, but we had difficulties after that. Both of us made mistakes, and both of us did things and said things that were not loving to each other. I will never bash my ex and say that everything was his fault because that would be a lie. Could I have worked harder? Could I have stuck in there through thick and thin and stayed even when I didn’t want to?? Well, yes I suppose I could have. But I didn’t. I am not one to look back and regret my decisions. I try to learn from my past mistakes. I do not regret choosing to divorce my husband, but if I had it to do all over again, I am sure I would do things a little differently. I would have still chosen to divorce him because I was very very unhappy, and felt that it would not get better. But I think I could have handled things better. More kindly.
For the past 8 years I have been blessed to be in a relationship with an amazing woman named Karol. She brought herself and two children into my life, and that journey has been filled with joys, and sadness, difficulties, and fun! Everything any typical relationship goes through. I suppose the difference in this relationship than the other ones I have had as an adult, is the fact that I was finally ready for a committed, equal, loving, challenging relationship.
I know with all my heart that the relationship I am in now is the one I was meant to be in. My partner Karol is absolutely perfect for me. She completes me in ways I never knew were possible. When she is upset, I remain calm. When I am upset, she remains calm. I am horrible at fixing things, she can fix anything. I am great with numbers and budgets, she less so. There are a million ways in which we complement each other, and I am incredibly grateful that I have been blessed to have her love.
Now don’t get me wrong, this past 8 years has not been a rosy path that we have just skipped down holding hands. We have been bombarded by difficulties, and trouble. My brother died, my father died, her grandmother died. She has had cancer, and a brain tumor, and surgery to replace bones in her ear.
We have had countless arguments, usually about the kids. Blending a family is not easy. Some of these arguments have become screaming matches that ended with thoughts of leaving, yet neither one of us really had the heart or will to leave the other. Because at the end of the day, when the dust settles, we always realize we are meant for each other and going through the struggles together is better than NOT being together.
We still have arguments, although they are less dramatic now that the oldest two children have moved out. Many of our arguments have always been centered around our oldest child. Karol’s 22 (almost) year old daughter has been quite difficult due to her lack of good decision making skills, and need for risky living. Karol and I have spent many hours arguing about the way her daughter treated me, and Karol’s desire to enable her daughter.
Interestingly, even these arguments became less volatile as our relationship grew and we were better able to talk to each other and truly open up and be vulnerable and share our deep, honest feelings. But boy oh boy, is that freaking hard!!! It is quite difficult to stuff down that mother bear instinct, and really hear our partner say things that are difficult to hear about our children. Our instinct is to rise up and protect our young, when in reality what the person is saying is true, and we know it.
So I suppose, what I have learned is that it is not easy to maintain a loving, equal, honest adult relationship. Life is complicated and messy!! A good relationship requires yelling and talking. Compromise and conviction. Passion and tenderness. Laughter and tears.
And these are the things I want to do with Karol.
Until I draw my last breath!