I was talking with a coworker today about the lessons we learn in relationships, and one I learned a few years ago that I really, really, needed to grasp.
When my mother died I was involved with a man who didn’t handle that situation well. He was a very good man in many ways, but at that time he didn’t do what he “should” have done.
I knew it, my friends knew it, and eventually he knew it too. And he apologized more than once. Of course, apologies don’t turn back time and allow the opportunity to do the “right” thing. How many times have we all wished they worked that way? I know I have more than once.
Oddly enough, I wasn’t mad at him at the time. Because I had learned a lesson I needed – that people can only work with the knowledge they have, and if they don’t have the life experience to know what to do in a circumstance, they’re not going to do it. They simply don’t know, and they may not have anyone in their life who knows and can teach them.
So many of the “right” things in life are learned through experience. And if we don’t have that experience, we just don’t know. He had never lost anyone really close to him. He had no idea what was involved. He didn’t know how much simple things mean at a time like that. He didn’t know. And no matter how much I might have wanted him to act differently, he didn’t, because he didn’t know he should.
I needed to learn that lesson, and fortunately, I accepted it at the time. There was no point in being mad at him. I was the one who chose to be involved with someone who was considerably younger than me. By extention, in that case, I was the one who chose to be involved with someone who didn’t have the life experience to know what to do in that situation.
Before that I was not very understanding of the fact that everyone has to learn everything, much of it through experience. And even if it’s something I think a person should know instinctively, it doesn’t necessarily make it so. It was a lesson I needed to grasp. I wish I had gotten it sooner, in less dire circumstances, but for whatever reason I didn’t. But, I learned it then, and it has stayed with me..