When I got married, I settled for a relationship that was almost meaningless. I think we loved each other, but there was a certain quality that was missing. I married her because we got along well and I gave up on finding the one that had the sparks to make the relationship fly.
After a while, the relationship deteriorated into a depressing existence that was occasionally perforated by irrationally violent arguments. Later, she applied for divorce, which was another very nasty episode. I blamed her. I blamed her for the whole mess. She was responsible for the lousy marriage, she started the arguments, and she went out of her way to make my life miserable.
This is how I chose to view this entire disastrous chapter in my life for a long time after it ended. Looking back, I finally understand what was missing. She was a feminist, so what we had was an “equal” marriage, but it was more equal for her than for me, and I allowed it to be that way.
Before we got married, I had some idea of what I wanted, but I never expressed it for fear of losing her. Because of that fear, I have a gaping hole in my life that should have been filled with happiness and contentment. So, here is the real blame for the whole mess; I was too willing to bend, at the expense of my desires and needs. As a result of that, I became increasingly unhappy and crawled deeper into my cave.
Nowadays I have gone to the other extreme: I have become unbending and very demanding in the relationships that pass by me. My standards are far too high, and it's quite possible that no mere mortal can meet them. This needs to be tempered, but by how much? I wonder now how many relationships that I have trashed from a snap judgement of a minor human frailty that would have actually been good for me.
I am not looking for perfection in spite of my actions which say otherwise. I have gone from very low expectations to those that are excessively high. I need to bring these expectations down to a humanly accessible level. I struggle now with how low to bring them and still maintain a decent standard from which I can derive an acceptable relationship.