I am sick of hearing the dating advice to “let things evolve naturally” or “what will be will be.”
Whether it is a friend you hope will be something more, someone who has yet to commit, a friends with benefits situation or a long-term relationship headed towards splitsville, it can seem flexible and easy-going to leave things up to fate. Things work out better when they happen naturally right?
But relationships are active, not passive, and therefore require participation, not you sitting on the sideline waiting for the universe to throw you a bone.
Relationships are a two-way street, in which you may not have control over the other person’s feelings, attitudes or actions, but you certainly have control over your own. Therefore you have the ability to set the stage for how you want to interact and participate in the relationship, you get to dictate the conversations you have, the things you say, the choices you choose, and the gestures you make.
I personally find this idea of “letting things be” to be a cop-out.
It is a way of distancing yourself from having to engage in something that might be vulnerable or scary or uncertain and inadvertently giving the other person in the relationship all the power. You are passively saying that they are going to direct the relationship because you either care too much or you care too little. That is not a relationship at all. Whether your actions facilitate pursuing someone or falling out of touch, they are up to you.
Unfortunately, I find myself doing this all the time out of self-preservation. I do not want to pursue someone who perhaps does not want to be pursued. I do not want to make a move. I do not want to bother someone, and so I alleviate the burden by making myself a passive member in the relationship and hand over the reins to the other party. This is both unhealthy and damaging to my own perception of how to interact in a relationship. Perhaps I keep my mouth and my heart shut in one too many instances and suddenly I have groomed myself to wait for someone else to do the work that every relationship undoubtedly needs.
Your voice in a relationship matters.
We view vulnerability and uncertainty in negative terms, as things to be avoided like the plague. We see women who pursue someone without reciprocation as pathetic, when in fact choosing to let your voice be heard, no matter the outcome is brave. Not only is it brave, but it prepares us to take ourselves seriously, to demonstrate confidence, to speak up and to make ourselves heard in a world that so desperately needs people to stand up and say what they think instead of being silenced. The idea that women should be “seen and not heard” is so primitive, yet why do we allow it to dictate how we oftentimes react in relationships? We want to remain passive in order to reduce our own vulnerability, yet this is damaging to our own ability to communicate. It downplays our needs in a relationship and instead teaches us to be timid and keep quiet when perhaps it matters most that we take matters into our own hands.
We pretend it is noble or oh so “zen” of us to relinquish control and say “what will be will be”, when in fact communicating on our own behalf teaches us more about ourselves and our relationship.
Our relationships are our responsibilities. It is not up to anyone to take responsibility for us, we have had enough of that in this world.