It’s really important not to stop looking and to not stop seeing. Unfortunately, it is really easy to do. Things become so familiar that we stop looking at them properly. Things can gradually change whilst avoiding our notice and suddenly the landscape is a very different place.
It’s easy for those changes to sneak up on us and this applies to the landscape of our own feelings and desires as well as the physical landscape. In our very busy lives, it is hard to prioritise the time to properly notice the changes that happen.
When those changes are suddenly noticeable, it is often because they are suddenly jarring, uncomfortable and no longer a good fit with our perceived understanding of the landscape. The changes suddenly become a shock, or maybe a problem instead of something that has evolved.
In all relationships, we are responsible for how much detail of our emotional landscape we share. Some people share it all, some people only give a sketchy overview. Often the view we give them becomes more detailed over time. We are also responsible for keeping our partners updated with changes in our landscapes. I was going to say that being in a long distance relationship has made that very hard for me. However, if I am being honest, it isn’t easy in any relationship. Life is always busy with a multitude of demands and desires for how we spend our emotional time and energy. All of those can get in the way of that level of communication.
In my case, there is an added nuance to the problem. In my relationship, I was deeply honest from very early on. I laid myself open and shared my landscape and my fears. It was wonderful to trust someone and to let them see all of me. It was also deeply moving to be allowed to see so much of someone else’s landscape. So, that should be wonderful. Except there is a problem. I know that he knows me in a way that others don’t. I know that letting me in, gave me a lot to think about too. Over the intervening years, my landscape has evolved in hugely significant ways. Some of those have been obvious and impossible not to notice, both for myself and for him. Those obvious changes have held our attention though and I haven’t kept him updated with some of the subtler, more hidden changes. So, our views had fallen out of date.
Eventually, the differences have been highlighted by a stress on our relationship which has shone a spotlight on our personal landscapes. I am now needing to notice and understand my own changes and then share them with my partner. It isn’t easy. I have to stay positive that it is what we need and is necessary if we are going to have a healthy relationship future. It takes a bit of bravery and a stripping down of some of my defences. I can’t approach this as a problem, as that will make me defensive. I can’t be so worried that he will be disappointed to find out what has changed that I am reluctant to tell him. I have to be positive that having a relationship based on the present rather than the past is the only way to give both of us what we need. I want him to know who I am now as well as who I was then. The same is true for what I need to know of him.
Life gets in the way, but I think this ongoing reconnection and checking in on both our own and each other’s personal landscapes is something we have to do and we have to keep on going back to.