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Making Your Relationship Work For You

Real talk. The month of March was a total sinkhole for me. Besides the emotional toll of dealing with an aging pet (literally it is an all consuming stress), it felt like my current relationship was in a sinkhole too, which got me wondering about my relationship and relationships in general.

Besides the ones you have with your family (and even those are not guaranteed) you basically meet people out and about. There is some kind of spark or connection, and you invite these people to be a part of your life. It’s an interesting concept. I think what makes relationships extra tricky though is that we all have them and they all look different, and we are all getting different things out of them, and want different things in them and for them.

I am not thrilled to say that with my (at times) overly emotional self I almost single handedly dismantled my relationship last month. But hey, I’m human and I can own it. I think it is the Virgo in me that makes me so self-reflective but today, I’m using my powers for good and sharing a few key things I’ve learned through the missteps (and successful steps) in my relationship.

 

Know What You Want


Be honest with yourself and then be honest with your partner. Like, really, be honest. That way you both are in sync. The alternative is doing what I did: was not honest (chickened out), tried to manipulate the situation and casually force him into something beyond what he could do (didn’t work). That resulted in both of us being really frustrated and a complete communication breakdown (cue the emotional sinkhole that was March). Look, my dude and me eventually recovered and it almost feels like we have been able to hit the reset button, which is great! But what a f***ing hassle! And to think it could have all been avoided by just saying what I wanted. He asked, I didn’t tell.

If you are like me and sometimes really struggle to say what you want (even when you have the floor) think of it like this: You are not doing anyone any favors by not saying what you want. Take the time to really consider what you want, not what you think your partner wants, but you. Be selfish. Put your self first. You will never have a chance at being solid or in a good place with your partner if your partner never knows what you want.

 

You Don’t Have To Figure It Out All At Once


 If people evolve then it should come as no surprise that relationships would evolve too. Right? So take the pressure off of yourself and just enjoy each other in the moment. There’s no rule that says you have to define the relationship by this day, no timeline on when you have to say I love you. So relax. Feelings change, people change. If there comes a day that you both decide you want to explore things on a deeper level, do that. Likewise if there comes a day that things have evolved past where you both feel comfortable, adjust.

 

Don’t Let Most People Define Your Relationship


Example: Most people would define a hookup as making out OR having sex, two completely different things. Most people would also probably define my current relationship or whatever you want to call it as a hookup. See the chaos that could ensue from letting most people define your relationship. And if you asked my partner or me how we define our relationship you’d probably here something more along the lines of happily chilling in the grey area! Keyword is happy, because that’s what works for us. It seems to me as long as you and your partner are on the same page and happy and everyone’s needs are being met you’re good. You don’t actually owe anyone an explanation on what your relationship is.

 

Be Aware of Who You Tell What


 My brother is my bff, like really. But I made the mistake…during the month of March… of venting to him about my dude. I cannot think of anyone more protective of me than my big brother so when he started taking misguided jabs at my dude, I went into total defense mode and it was a really tense situation. The worst part of it all was the jabs my brother was trying to take really needed to be directed at me. But my brother didn’t know the whole story, he only knew the piece I shared with him, and then he formed an opinion (mixed with emotion) off of that piece. I’m not saying don’t share things, but be mindful of who can handle hearing what. People who love you will feel invested in wanting what is best for you and when you open up about your relationship, you also open your relationship up to opinions/advice (or judgment wrapped in advice).

 

Comparison Is the Thief of Joy


 Consider this: let’s say your partner knows roses are your favorite flower so they work really hard and make sacrifices to be able to afford just one single rose. You most likely would cherish that rose, because you know the effort it took your partner to give it to you, and that makes you feel special. Flipside: your partner is a rose tycoon (is that even a thing) and to gift you a rose all they have to do is have their assistant pick one and give it to you, which always makes you smile and feel special. Both outcomes are the same – you get a rose – but the partner’s level of effort may look different.

That is exactly why comparing your relationship to someone else’s is so counterproductive. Not only because everyone’s relationship is different, but also, you run the risk of missing those moments where your partner is doing something to make you feel special. Can you imagine the frustration and potential hurt you would impose on your partner?

 


There is no roadmap to a good relationship, no right or wrong, no one size fits all, but it is always nice to learn from others (it helps us all feel human). Are there any key takeaways you have had from relationships past or present?

 

(Feature Photo: shot by @erikadenhoed for @rachaelkazmier · Gray Garden Creative)

 

 

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