Too many of us are stuck in unhealthy relationships. We always let the guy do something which upsets/offends us, suppress it, complain about it to our (often female) friend, who then agrees but also offers some kind of comfort, and then (maybe) talk to the guy about it briefly, and then let the same thing happen again and again and again and again.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I always thought a good relationship was one that brings more happiness than anxiety and depression — or at least the two should somewhat cancel each other out.
If you are living in a cycle that constantly creates inner conflict and stress, is this really a healthy relationship that you should continue?
Why is it that people do this to themselves? Ultimately, it is the lack of self-confidence and self-worth.
Let’s just be clear, self-confidence and self-worth are interrelated, though different things. Self-confidence is the self-assurance in one’s personal judgment, ability, power, whereas self-worth is the value of one’s self. I’m not going to go into self-confidence today but I do want to address the issue of self-worth.
I can’t emphasize enough that every single human being deserves, and is therefore, worthy of respect, love, kindness, etc. Granted, some people are just jerks and probably don’t deserve excessive kindness and love, nevertheless self-worth is something that everyone should internalize and embrace.
Too often we see guys and girls thinking that they should settle with someone because they do not deserve better, or that they can not find someone better.
This comes from the misconception that they are not worthy of their expectations or values. I’ve heard people say that it’s not like something better will come, I might as well just stick it out.
You are worthy of a decent human being.
I want to make myself clear that I’m not saying that we should all wait for Ryan Gosling’s face with Channing Tatum’s body, but I’m talking about realistic expectations and knowledge that there’s nothing wrong with these “realistic expectations.”
Yes, we should definitely acknowledge that nobody is perfect, but what I ask for is a decent human being. Someone who’s respectful, someone who cares, who’s thoughtful and considerate.
If your significant other does not think that you are worth the time he has to wait before passing out on the couch, is he really worth your respect and love?
My favorite argument from the guy my friend is dating is that he will always say: “I’m just a really chill guy, and you are pretty high-maintenance, but since I’m trying to make this work, why don’t you tell me what to do and I will do it.”
See how sneaky this bastard was? He:
A) Set up an overarching personality trait, “chill,” which allows him to free himself from social norms while maintaining a good social rapport.
B) Blames the victim of her completely reasonable expectations (such as staying awake to open the door for her at 1 AM) for being difficult and high-maintenance, therefore using her as a scapegoat for his faults.
C) Puts himself in a higher position by saying that “since he’s so nice and gracious to offer to make this work”, that
D) My friend needs to tell him exactly how to behave like a decent human being or else it’s her fault for not telling him how to behave like a decent human being.
And my friend is so touched that he’s willing to accept her high maintenance and change himself for her.
Effective strategy? Very.
With all this said, what should we do to get out of this cycle?
1. Distinguish between unrealistic expectation and decent human expectation.
I think most people are already aware of what is considered decent human expectation so I will skip to the communication part.
I find that a lot of people tend to overcompensate and make up excuses for their significant other’s behavior or remarks that are inappropriate and unacceptable.
They would deny the harm that those actions have caused and brush it off while internally accumulating until explosion.
How many times have we heard of arguments where the usually silent party explodes with 8 months worth of things that bothered them and enumerates them in such vivid detail that the other party is left astounded and speechless because they didn’t know this was happening?
Or that a marriage has fallen apart because of the faults that were there in the very beginning that one party thought she or he could accept but ended up driving him or her crazy?
Openly communicate with your partner, say the things that are really bothering at the time it happens. Don’t wait until 3 months later to bring it up and hold that grudge, it is unfair to both you and your partner.
Here, the really bothering you part is important, if the guy forgot to wash his bed sheets every 4-6 weeks, it’s probably not going to kill your relationship.
But if he promises to pick you up on a specific occasion and arrived two hours late or just forgets to show up, that isn’t something you can let slide.
Pick your fights and don’t expect to always win, but also stand up for yourself.
Stop settling, and just tell yourself that you are worthy, you are good enough!