I’ve been going over this in my mind because it was a decision I made not too long ago, and while on the surface it might seem petty, I do believe it’s possible that people’s lives can be so vastly different, that the lack of camaraderie and understanding arising from those differences can ultimately doom the relationship.
In my case, I’ve endured a really long laundry list of hardships, difficulties and physical disabilities that very few people can relate to, and those experiences shaped my personality and perspective of the world in a very profound way.
It’s like going into combat. For those who have never seen combat, mentally you know that it’s full of hardships and can be a terrifying ordeal, but unless you’ve SEEN it up close and personal, you can never really truly understand what combat veterans have had to endure. It’s the same for drug addiction too, unless you’ve been a drug addict yourself, you have NO idea what it’s like to fight an addiction. This doesn’t mean people who haven’t experienced these things for themselves can’t sympathize, it just means that their understanding is merely theoretical in nature.
So I meet a girl, and she’s a nice girl. Grew with a large family, eventually graduated college, got a nice job, bought a house, joined a church. She’s active in the community and volunteers all the time. She has a wide circle of friends and family, an active social life, and lives a very healthy lifestyle. She also enjoys a nice inheritance and owns a large plot of land.
In short, someone who’s had it easy their whole lives. Their perception of suffering is entirely different from say, one who loses his home and spends a few years of his life as a virtual vagabond. One who has no inheritance to draw from because it was stolen from him. One whose nearly entire family disowned and abandoned him when he was a child. One who has to fight physical disabilities and prejudice that impacts nearly every area of his life. One who had to claw his way out of debt with no financial help from anyone. One who had no church or a social network of friends to rely on for encouragement and support.
And try as I might to explain my past to her, she didn’t get it. She couldn’t get it, because she never lived it. It wasn’t her fault either, and I would never begrudge anyone whose life has clearly been blessed and privileged. But that fundamental lack of understanding arising from our hugely different journeys through life was why I ended it.
Does this mean the only girl right for me needs to have lived exactly as I did? No, but I think it’s important that we share some similarities in that vein. Camaraderie and shared experiences are powerful factors that can deepen a couple’s bond with each other. Younger couples have a better chance of developing this bond because they start their lives together, so any hardships they face, they face together.
I just wish my life hadn’t been so unusual that I can’t seem to find ANYONE who could even remotely relate (except for one person, who unsurprisingly has been my best friend for nearly 10 years, though I suspect in part it’s because he’s a glutton for punishment). I didn’t think my experiences were THAT uncommon but apparently it is. It’s telling when I have to bury my past and make like I’m any old average Joe, just so I can avoid that deer in the headlights look when I start to tell her my REAL life story. It’s reaching the point that I just have to resign myself to the reality that the only way I can connect with people is to hide the past 30-odd years of my life in obscurity and mystery. Just the same old boring American success story y’all, nothing to see here folks, move along now.
Ah well. It is what it is.