May 8, 2007

A Father's Love

I always knew that I had a "good" relationship with my father, despite it's problems and lack of normalcy. And tonight, after speaking with a friend, I realized something.

When I was 19, I found my father so infuriating in his sexism and lack of concern for my feelings that I stopped speaking to him. I held out for quite some time until he apologized, several months later.

During this time, I was mad. Indignant. Angry. Hurt. But, I never questioned his love for me.

I knew he loved me.

In fact, and I'm sorry to admit this to you fathers out there, it was my undeniable faith in his love that allowed me to rebel when I needed to do so.

Now, despite my parents' relationship, which was not a great model, I've been lucky enough to find and fall in love with E, my soulmate, and we've actually managed to create for ourselves a truly amazing relationship.

If there's one thing I've learned from this experience, a healthy monogamous relationship takes a ton of work. Sacrifice. Understanding. Biting your tongue (something, despite the name of this blog, that I don't do often enough).

And, most importantly, in my opinion, it requires that both people have a ridiculous amount of respect for themselves and each other. Both people have to be serious in their commitment to help meet each other's needs. And, both people have to trust that the other person is serious about being there for them. Which means that each person must be able to respectfully ask for what they believe they deserve while having faith that the other person loves them enough that they will find a way to make it work.

Tonight, I realized I have Dad to thank for my ability to trust that E will still love me when I stand up for myself. This is one of the main reasons why I feel completely and totally happy in my relationship.

What a gift.

(Oh, and of course, now that I'm not 19, I realize what an asshole move it was to give an ultimatum and the silent treatment until my exact request was met. I like to think I'm a teensy bit more flexible these days.)

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