A "tweet" from a friend the other day got me thinking about something. Relationships and indicators that it's healthy or not. I think most of us can tell when a relationship has gone bad, but can we tell if it's about to go bad? I've had a theory, (sadly, not scientifically proved) that if you aren't able to be yourself, completely yourself, in front of your partner, you're heading into dangerous territory. One ascertains this by doing a very simply sophisticated test: The Fart Test. For more delicate sensibilities, "The Breaking Wind" test, or for those who love euphemisms, "Cutting the Cheese Test". For a relationship to remain healthy and dynamic, both partners have to be truly present in the relationship. To me, being present means being comfortable enough with the other person that should nature suddenly, and rudely erupt, or disrupt, during a conversation, it's no big deal. We can laugh about it and continue on with our conversation. There's no need to continually disappear into another room, or a balcony, to hide an embarrassing bodily function. Let's face it, in the long term, it's simply not practical! Not to mention, that the human body seems to have a plethora of embarrassing functions which it loves to team up with lousy timing.
I have to admit that it was my hubby that helped me with this, "relax and be yourself" business. We were spending a lovely afternoon reading. It was sunny outside and the sun was streaming in through the big windows in my room. Suddenly, my darling man, gets up and goes onto the floor with his book. Gluteus in the air. I found this rather amusing, but thought he might be stretching out his back. We had been slouching on the couch for most of the day after all. After a short while, there were the sounds of some gaseous eruptions followed by a sigh of relief from Prince Charming, who sat up and continue to read as though nothing had happened. I sat in stunned silence for a while and eventually made some kind of remark. He just shrugged, smiled and carried on reading his book. After the sixth time I saw him doing this (thankfully, not in the same day) I dubbed the gluteus up position, "The Farting Position." Naturally, teasing ensued, as it always does in any relationship where there is a good humor present. If you don't have humor, how on earth are you going to weather the many storms that blow in and blow out (hmmmm was that a pun?) You have to be able to laugh together, and yes, at each other. One of my hubby's favourite things to say to me when he teases me is, "I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing with you."
I guess the Flatulence Test really is a test of tolerance. If your partner cannot handle a biological "flaw" as it were, that often you have very little control over, then how on earth are they going to cope with all the other flaws. The ones that are just part of who you are as a person? Part of having a strong relationship is being able to accept the other person as they are. Where they are now not where you envision them to be after doing six months of your "Extreme Makeover: Wife/Husband Edition". No, it must be completely as they are. Good, bad, irritating and inspirational all at once. You have to be able to see that the "dark" is what makes the "light" shine so brightly in people's characters and personalities. If you cannot handle the dark side of a person, then you aren't able to really love that person, or yourself for that matter. You are only able to love a version of the person. And what a pity that is. It's our partner's "dark sides" that show us who we really are. Now, obviously if your partner's dark side is violent, harmful, dangerous and abusive, that's another matter altogether. What I am talking about are those things we like to hide from others. Whether it's our propensity for letting rip with a string of obscenities under pressure, or losing our tempers when things don't go our way, or maybe we're just a little self-centered when it comes to our careers and such. We all have these little flaws that can sometimes end up being big issues in our relationships with others. Yet for us to experience the real joy of being totally loved, we have to risk being honest about who we are with the people we love. Note, I didn't say everyone.
I have a friend. We have been friends since the first grade. We have been through all kinds of things together and it is my friendship with her that first showed me how freeing it is to just be yourself. She didn't have any expectations of me. She took me as I was. Nothing I have done or said has shocked her or caused her to withdraw her friendship from me. We haven't always agreed with each other, but we have always accepted each other. Having relationships where you can just be: no censorship of any kind, I think is really important for the human spirit and soul. I have been blessed with three such relationships in my life, excluding my wonderful family. But that is really rare.
So, when starting out in a new relationship, instead of developing the "new girl/boyfriend bloat", just let it rip. It will either be the start of a really great relationship or the end of a superficial waste of time. Either way you win.