There’s a common thread that I’m noticing in relationship talk that I’d like to address. It’s not necessarily polyamory specific, but I’ve never let it stop me before, so here we go:
“Relationships are hard.”
I first ran across this in a Focus on the Family publication back in the 1980s when I started reading about sex, families and relationships. I was a teenager and was still in the David St. Hubbins mode of believing virtually everything I read. So I bought it.
Then as I got older and married, I was told a good marriage was hard from all sorts of quarters. Then when I started being involved with the online polyamory community in the mid-1990s, I was still being told relationships were hard with the added caveat that polyamory is hard.
I’m less inclined to go with this common wisdom these days. What’s hard is when you don’t know yourself well enough, haven’t yet developed appropriate emotional self-sufficiency, and are making decisions from wishful thinking rather than facts.
I just don’t buy that relationships are anywhere near the hard work that self-development is. Once you start focusing on the self-development part, the relationship part seems to be a pretty nice side effect of that.
Is self-development hard? I’m sorry to say I find it so. Perhaps others don’t. I’m even a little embarrassed to admit that when I realized (well into my thirties) that I was not being a grown-up, that it wasn’t about romantic relationships at the end of the day that got me to try to clean up my act. It was about setting an example for my kids.
The only thing that made relationships hard were my own foolish choices and expectations. When I cleaned that up, a great deal fell into place.
 Been there
 Done that
 Bought the T-shirt
 When my son was born, my father said, “Children will not pay attention to much of what you say, but they WILL notice EVERYTHING YOU DO.” I do find this so. It is also why I started eating my vegetables. No, seriously!