I think when people meet me, they see me as a friendly, upbeat person. I really try to be most of the time. Life seems to be more enjoyable when you approach it with a good attitude and people seem to like you more for it. But, anybody who read yesterday’s post knows that I’m not able to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It’s unfortunate, but I’m only human!
Sometimes I am wary of broadcasting any relationship troubles that arise because I think relationships can be challenging enough without any added scrutiny from other people. While I certainly value the opinions of my friends, at the end of the day nobody really knows what it’s like in my relationship except for Tom and me. On top of that, I feel like people on the outside of any relationship tend get a very skewed view because it seems easier to vent about what’s challenging than to talk about every good thing that happens. I think people tend to go to their friends when something out of the ordinary happens, so if having an awesome relationship is the norm, people aren’t going to go out of their way on a day to day basis to remind everyone that their relationship is great. It’s kind of sad how that works because people end up spending more time talking about what’s wrong than what’s right.
On top of all that, any time I try and talk about something really wonderful about my relationship, I start to feel like people are bored or disinterested. Maybe they think I’m bragging about it or even worse, maybe they think I’m trying to convince them that my relationship is better than it is. I don’t feel the need to make anyone think that my relationship is better than it is in reality, but I do think it’s nice for the people in my life to have a more complete view of what’s going on. I guess the people who really want that complete view will make an attempt to get it. People are going to think what they’re going to think no matter what I say, so I should just get over that.
Anyway, while I do think it’s important for your partner to understand your triggers and how to deal with them and for you to do the same, I don’t want anybody to think that I am on this quest to find the “perfect” man. For my entire life, it feels like I’ve been fed this idea that I should be searching for that one perfect person who “completes” me and I shouldn’t settle until I find my soulmate. The idea of a soulmate is a romantic one in theory, but it’s something I stopped believing in a long time ago.
I do believe that for each of us, there are tons of people in the world we could be happy with. If a monogamous relationship is what you strive for, it’s all about choosing one person to be with. Obviously there are a lot of other things to take into account (i.e. compatibility, geography, culture, religion, etc), but for the sake of simplicity we’ll take those off the table for now. I’m sure there are couples out there who have an easy time and stay together with very little work or effort. They probably exist, but they are definitely few and far between. If you are like most of us, being in a relationship takes a lot of work and it’s not always pleasant.
I think Tom and I are great together. On a typical day, we laugh together, we play together, we love each other, and everything feels seemingly perfect with very little effort. On other days, we fall into circumstances or situations during which we push each other’s buttons and we feed off of each other to the point where something completely trivial becomes a devastating ordeal to overcome. And this brings me to the heart of what I really want to discuss. It’s not about finding a person who’s “right” for you, it’s about the two of you working to be “right” for each other. I think this little article-type-thing explained it pretty well. I won’t summarize it because I think it’s worth reading and also because it’s been circulating around Facebook so you might have already read it.
From what I’ve seen, a lot of relationships fail because of unreasonable expectations. When things get too difficult or too complicated, people bail rather than work to find a solution. People promise each other commitments, but when solutions are difficult or time consuming to find, those promises are thrown out the window and people give up. That’s not to say there are absolutely no circumstances in which breaking up is the right thing to do, there absolutely are, but I definitely think there are a lot of couples who break up when they didn’t really have to. I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called Secrets to Love, and the common theme with all of these couples was that it took effort to keep their marriages going.
A friend of mine and I are both pretty big fans of Dan Savage. For those of you who don’t know him, he’s a sex advice columnist in Seattle who also has a podcast. I recommend checking him out, but be forewarned that he is not for those who are easily offended. Something that he talks about a lot is this idea that humans are not hardwired to be monogamous. He’s not saying that we can’t or shouldn’t be monogamous if that’s the kind of relationship we want, but since it’s not natural it takes work and effort to accomplish. You can read a little more about his ideas on this topic here.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a hopeless romantic. I love the idea of being with one person for the rest of my life. A wedding, a marriage, babies…I want all of that. I think that accepting the idea that we are not a naturally monogamous species actually makes it easier for me try to achieve all the things I want in a monogamous relationship because I have more realistic expectations. As with all worthwhile things in life, the relationship I want won’t just come to me if I wait long enough for it to appear, it’s something that I have to put in conscious effort to achieve. The “right” person for me is someone who is worth the effort and is willing to put in the effort with me.
Today I read this post on Thought Catalog called What Is It About Marriage That Keeps Us Coming Back? and it just solidified to me the reasons why I want the things that I want and why I am willing to work so hard to achieve it (and I’m not the only one!!). I love Thought Catalog anyway, but sometimes they post things that are completely applicable to where my head’s at.
I just saw this on Facebook and thought it was hilarious, so I’ll end this post with a little comedy 🙂