Whenever Finals week rolls around, life is grim. Clearly the solution to not wanting to study is for me to aggressively send snapchats to everyone documenting my angst of not wanting to do work. Granted I’m probably a bit more sensitive and irritable than I am in a normal week, my recent epiphany materialized when I started becoming very irritated with the quality of responses that my boyfriend was giving to my snaps. He sent me a picture of a postcard I had sent him and circled a word that he couldn’t read. He then sent a follow-up to this a few hours later telling me how he was vexed all day about what the word said. I texted back telling him to send me a picture when he got the chance and I would figure it out. He then responded with a “well… I really don’t care which is why I didn’t bother figuring it out.”
This was the first domino of my irritability, but the apex of my irritation was my realization that I was telling him about how stressed and frustrated I was feeling because of my essays, yet the only responses he was giving me were random snaps of heavy books and orchestra stands. I told him that I was having a really rough day and wanted to talk and he responded with saying that he was excited to make my friends third wheel this week when I saw him.
I should concede first, that for all I know, he could be having a really rough time right now and simply not want to talk about. As a result, maybe he is externally projecting so he doesn’t have to deal with his problem. But when I started to tell someone this story amongst many other similar ones, I began to realize how dysfunctional a relationship this really is.
The one thing that I’ve always admired amongst successful couples that I know is their ability to completely be there for each other. At times, some of my friends will completely drop off the face of the earth if their loved one is going through something serious and difficult. This could be misconstrued as a negative trait, but I actually think it takes a tremendous sense of maturity to fully give oneself to someone and to emotionally be there for them.
How do we know when we have this ability? I believe that we can’t reach that level until we have cultivated a degree of self where we are finally able to fully love someone else and learn to put ourselves on hold. But how do we learn to put ourselves on hold for someone else? Is it a matter of how much we love someone? Or is there a threshold that we need to hit personally before we can learn to fully give ourselves? And just as a caveat, you don’t need to always fully put yourself on hold for someone else, but I do think that in certain situations, you need to have the ability to at least temporarily pause yourself.
When your significant other tells you that they’re having a rough time and wants to talk, you should talk to them. Hopefully they won’t have to beg you about wanting to talk and you’ll just know. But in the event that we can’t all be good people readers, I would hope that if someone tells you that they’re having a rough time, you would be able offer your time and a listening ear.
Oddly enough, although I am irritated, my main takeaway is the notion that we shouldn’t enter into a relationship unless we are fully ready to give it our all. Because when we’re not giving it our all, we are being unfair to our partners. It’s not fair if they’re giving it their all and constantly being there if we can’t reciprocate. And if we can’t reciprocate, we need to own up and either grow up, or leave.
I feel like people end up falling in love with the lust associated with a relationship and this relief of not being “forever alone.” We love the idea of being able to say and hear things like “I miss you” and “I love you” to someone, but we don’t understand that the real foundation of a relationship is not so glamorous. In our haste to simply be with someone, we neglect to actually be with them. What is a relationship if you aren’t ready to commit and give yourself? I don’t think one needs to completely discard their sense of autonomy in a relationship — after all, the people we choose to date should complement us, not complete us. But I do think that we need to take on the responsibility and remember that we are holding someone else’s hearts in our hands.
We may not be able to solve our significant other’s problems, but the least we can do is fully be there and try. Because at the end of the day, giving it all doesn’t have the power of fixing everything, but it does have the power of letting someone know that someone will be there when things aren’t okay.