You know the difference between an apple and an orange, right? They are nothing alike other than being roundish and fruits. They are different in color, texture, taste, and aroma.
Let’s say I desperately want to eat an orange. Every time I think about it, my mouth waters. So I go into the kitchen, and I find … an apple. I pick up the apple and eagerly bite into it waiting for the sweet orange juices to fill my mouth. It doesn’t happen; it’s crunchy! I suddenly realize this is not an orange. I’m angry now. I spit out the bite of apple and start yelling at it. Why aren’t you an orange! I told you I wanted an orange! If you cared about me, you’d be an orange!
That sounds pretty silly, doesn’t it? Why would anyone get mad at an apple for not being an orange? Guess what … we do exactly that in our relationships. We want our special person to be, well, an orange when they’re really an apple. We expect different behavior, reactions, and words than our special person has consistently given and shown. And we get angry at them for not behaving the way we want them to.
So how do we deal with apple versus orange issues in our special relationships? We look at choices that are within our ability to make, such as these:
Maybe we accept our apple for the apple they are; love and appreciate them for what they bring to the relationship as an apple.
Maybe we decide an apple doesn’t fit into our lives right now, and gracefully end the relationship.
Maybe we lovingly talk to our special apple person about behaving a bit more like an orange. We don’t know what changes a person may be willing to make for the sake of the relationship until we honestly and compassionately ask them.
Maybe we change our own behavior to be a bit more like an apple.
We can only change ourselves: our expectations, our perceptions, the people we choose to have around us.
If you’d like some help with your relationships, consider contacting a mental health professional, such as me. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it can make.