By Mariette Reineke
The other day I was at an event for work, where I had a lovely meeting with a woman and a man, both in their late twenties. I was asked about my personal situation, as in if I am married, do I have children or am I in a relationship. I shared that I have a partner who I met last year March.
Ah, the woman said, so you are still on that pink cloud and head over heels in love? It became quiet for a second or two. Pink cloud, I said, no, not at all. No pink clouds. There has not been any cloud. And head over heels in love? No, the relationship has actually been bringing up quite a lot of stuff lately.
Maybe it has to do with my age (44), but I don’t believe in pink clouds. Perhaps I once did, just as I once believed in Sinterklaas, God being a big man with beard sitting on a throne in heaven and that one day I would meet a man who would be my big love (and have a big wedding). Things change, I change. I don’t fancy clouds anymore, nor pink, nor any colour. I prefer to be with my two legs on the ground and to be real, honest, open and at times raw. When I met my partner, heaven did not open up and I did not think that I just ran into the man of my dreams. As my partner and I slowly started to get to know each other and decided to date, I was still able to eat, sleep and breath. Of course there was a psychical attraction and those lovely butterflies in my heart and stomach, every time we met. With each date, I was very much looking forward to see him (and I still do), but I wasn’t daydreaming or thinking that I met ‘the one’.
The conversation has made me ponder on what images we have, mostly when we grow up, when it comes to relationships and what we expect from them. The pink cloud is in my experience an illusion so we don’t have to deal with what is truly there. Relationships are not all lovey-dovey, pink roses and candle-lit dinners. A new relationship, but also one that has been going on for years, brings up stuff, asks us to have an honest look at our behaviours, patterns and our expectations, and is actually a meeting with yourself. Our partner is a great and beautiful mirror that shows us where we lack love, where we don’t let the other one in, where we don’t trust, where we hold on to our hurts, where we react and where we are in control. A control that shows itself in wanting to change, manage or manipulate the other. Can I let go of that control, do I express what I feel and do I appreciate what we have every single day? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.
For me a relationship, any kind of relationship, is the best school ever. It does not give me grades or a diploma, but it gives me a beautiful reflection, every single day (no holiday by the way). Sometimes I feel like running and giving up, especially when it gets challenging. But when the going gets tough, I don’t have to be tough. I can be tender and vulnerable. I always thought that a relationship has to go somewhere, but I am learning that there is nowhere to go. There is only a deepening and a surrendering, and an invitation to understand and appreciate myself and the other more and more. It can feel quite vulnerable at times, as I have experienced lately, but I am still sleeping, eating and breathing. So no pink cloud for me, as I prefer to walk next to each other, holding hands and just be.
Sounds simple, but living it is a daily practise.