Friday, September 28, 2012

What should a relationship be? AKA Me expressing my anger in an unhelpful way

I have a confession to make. I realized the other day that I was unusually angry. I mean, all the time angry. And this scared me. I'll admit, I've used PMS as an excuse for being angry before. And it's true, when my hormones are going BLASDFKJLK;ASDFK, I do get angrier quicker. But I realized I had been this crazy bitch-psycho-lady for about an entire month. And that's not PMS. So I made a pact with myself, and my boyfriend, that I would work on being happier. Not forced happy--that's no good. But I mean, not letting the little things bother me. I realized that a pair of shoes being crooked or in the wrong spot would send me over the edge.

And that's not normal.

So I started letting things slide. It's a fine line - I don't want to lower my expectations and let my boyfriend/friends get away with walking all over me. But at the same time, not every little thing that everyone says has to send me to the point of wanting to jump off a cliff with 100 lb weights attached to my arms and legs.

Alright. That worked. For a day and a half. That's nice. And it's still kind of working, though I also feel the anger brewing. During my time of being happy, I had some time to consider what a relationship should be like. I shared my anger issues with my boyfriend because I trusted him to do a few things. I trusted him to a) not judge me, b) provide me with the support I need to try to be happy and c) be extra understanding while I work through these issues. But I mean, that should happen naturally, right?

So I started thinking about what people expect from a relationship, and why people get themselves into relationships. I mean, it's counter-intuitive, right? You finally get to a point when you're thinking, okay, here I am. I can take care of myself, I'm free from my parents and other authority figures, and now I'm going to...submit myself to another person on whom I will invariably spend money, and to whom I will invariably have to account for my whereabouts, at least some of the time. Someone who will call on me in a time of trouble and whom I will have to support, either emotionally, physically, or financially (likely a combination of the three).


Companionship. Love. Those were my first two thoughts. And then, to feel important. It's human nature, to my understanding, to want to feel significant. Like we matter to someone. And in a universe as large as ours, with so many "bigger things" going on, it's really easy to want to be everything to "one" person. Okay, maybe I can't be everything to everyone, but I can at least be everything to one person, and this will make me happy. And if that works out for a while, and we want to have a kid, then I can be everything to two people. Until the kid grows up. Then it's back to one. But do you follow my train of thought here? We throw away a lot of our own stability and independence to be with someone else, trusting that they will provide an adequate blend of companionship, love, and meaning, and if that doesn't work, TO THE CURB WITH YOU.


So I've been thinking lately as to how to tell when a relationship is "good" or "bad." And my first conclusion was to take sex out of the equation. Is it necessary for a healthy relationship? Yes. Should it be a deciding factor as to whether or not the relationship is good? No. Sex is like the icing on the cake. I'm talking about judging emotions, here. So I've come to the conclusion that, if you can live for a full three days on your own, without your significant other around, and retain the same amount of happiness/contentedness/companionship (with friends/family/etc), and overall feel just as good when they're not around, it's not a relationship worth saving. And that probably sounds a little harsh. But honestly, if you're not looking forward to coming home to them every day, then what ARE you looking forward to? If you're looking forward to seeing the Starbucks guy everyday more than you're looking forward to seeing your SO, then you have a problem. (Okay, bad example, the Starbucks guy gives me free coffee. Sometimes. But still!) A relationship has to be something you want. It has to be something that you're always excited about and happy with -- not just occasionally. It has to be the highlight of your day - every day. Otherwise, you're letting things impede your chance to bond with someone with whom you claim to want to spend a significant amount of time.

And it's hard to recognize this. I can probably talk my brain in and out of this about 50 times per day. But after a period of evaluation, you have to be honest with yourself, and ask yourself those big questions. Is this what I want? Is this fair and equal to both people? Am I getting what I want, and am I giving him (or her) what he (she) wants? If not, then you have a few options, only two of which are good. You can talk about it and try to mend things up (this is a good one - this can work, but isn't guaranteed), you can break up (this is also good - if things aren't working, you're better off apart), or you can ignore the problem, and not say anything at all to your SO (this is bad - this will inevitably create an even deeper schism and eventually things will become irreparable).

So I did some honest thinking, and we talked. I'm trying to mend things, at least on my part. I want to feel important, and meaningful - two things that I don't always feel, and that oftentimes lead me to question, like I was. I think that's why I was expressing my anger in such a negative way. I was trying to sort through things, and my brain saw things that I didn't want to see. I didn't want to see the fact that I feel like I could be a fly on the wall, and disappear for a week and no one would care. I didn't want to see that sharing is nearly out of the equation, that material things are kept track of to such a degree. I didn't want to see that our relationship isn't as strong as a past relationship - despite the fact our relationship is still relatively new, and hasn't had enough time to withstand certain tests. I didn't want to see any of these things that pointed to the possibility that our relationship wasn't good -- because I want it to be good to such a degree -- so instead of confronting my issues....

I got mad.


That's crazy. But, at least I finally realized what I was doing. I realized it, and I tried to catch it, hopefully before it's "too late." And I'm working on it. And, hopefully, I have support in working on this, from my boyfriend, friends, and so on. Because honestly, being angry for an entire month is exhausting.

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