I’ve always been proud of being a low maintenance girl. In relationships, I ask for little. Just a little bit of attention. How I can find a way of fitting into their lives with both of us requiring minimum adjustments. Never asking for too much. No expensive gifts or grand gestures, thank you, as long as I can see you are making an effort, that is all I need. I don’t throw tantrums. I spend more time trying to understand why someone has acted a particular way to me than getting angry about the small things. I am not passive aggressive, in fact I would rather discuss my problems in a calm and cool fashion. I have had entire relationships that go without arguments or fights for this reason.
However, it is only recently that I have discovered the way I am is actually not good for my self esteem. The reason why I am like this is this: when you have been in a series of toxic relationships, you end up starting to expect less and less of people. You think, “If I ask for as little as possible, he won’t beat me, or rape me, or cheat on me. Because I’ll be the perfect girl, right?” And the truth is, I probably became like this at a young age and just thought this was the right way to be.
But it’s not. There is nothing wrong with having expectations of your other half. There is nothing wrong with having flaws. For instance, there is nothing wrong with asking for your boyfriend not to pay attention to other girls in front of you all the time if you feel disrespected. Or if he forgets your birthday, you aren’t supposed to be okay with that. Or if he is consistently late all the time for dates and dinners. Or if he is just emotionally neglecting you. You are a human with feelings. And you are allowed not to be okay with this. And you are allowed to tell the other person you are not okay with this. You can be a low maintenance girl but one with concrete boundaries of what you are and are not okay with. Otherwise you are going to be doing all the changing to fit someone else and that’s an awful thing to do to yourself and your relationship.
Here’s the thing. If he loves you, he will not be okay with you not being okay. If he is a decent human being, he will want to know about his selfish behaviour and how it affects you. If he is kind, he will not be able to see you being sad over something he has done wrong. You are doing both yourself and him an injustice by not trusting him with your true feelings in lieu of being low maintenance.
So if you are struggling with your self esteem and finding yourself feeling like you are the one doing all the changing, please stop. Please don’t allow yourself to hurt this way anymore. Instead, sit down and evaluate what YOU need from your relationship. And do yourself and your partner a favour and discuss your wants and needs together. He will probably surprise you with how much he understands and how much he needs you to be happy rather than low maintenance.