TL;DR: You’ve been told that relationships take work, but in reality, insecure ones take work. Secure ones take effort, sort of like your morning routine.
You’ve heard time and time again that relationships take “work.” But after being in this “relationship” thing long enough and getting advice from a dating consultant long ago, I’ve learned to reject that notion like rejecting a creeper at a bar.
Let me make my case. Think back to a time when you worked harder than you had ever worked before. Maybe you were in graduate school. Maybe you were organizing an event. Maybe you were caring for a sick family member until her death. Maybe you were working toward a promotion. Maybe you were working more than one job.
Whatever it was, recall how you felt at the time. How exhausted were you every day? How many all-nighters did you pull? How many headaches did you endure? How much money did you spend? How many naps did you try to sneak in? How many social gatherings did you miss?
The point is, that’s work. Now, imagine performing that kind of work every day, every year. That would be unsustainable, would it not?
If this were a relationship–one that wears you out like a single mother, gives you headache after headache like a shitty boss, makes you overthink everything like an insecure teenager, makes you choose your words carefully like a public figure, and makes you unhappy and anxious like a mid-life crisis–then you’d be out of there like a burglar triggering an alarm.
In other words, what’s the point of being in a turbulent relationship? Look for one that takes effort instead. Think of your morning routine. Think of your daily commute (assuming it’s manageable). Think of the time it takes you to prepare a meal. Think of gardening or cleaning. Think of taking your dog for a walk. Think of anything that takes some level of effort every day, and that’s essentially how a rock-solid relationship should feel (only hopefully more rewarding).
Yes, every rock-solid relationship takes conflict as well, but compare that conflict to something unsustainable, even brutal, like domestic violence, verbal abuse, or conversations that reveal your incompatibility. You’d probably take an argument about a mess in the kitchen or where to travel on your next vacation over something that could leave a bruise.
Here’s what an effortful relationship can look like (a partial list):
- You both pull your weight
- You actively listen to and empathize with each other
- You learn how to work through conflict
- You set boundaries and realistic expectations
- You make each other a priority
- You compromise where you can
- You both love yourselves as much as (if not more than) you love each other
- You’re more compatible than chemical
- You’re like complementary puzzle pieces
- You trust each other (as in you’re both consistent and deliver on your promises)
- You work as a damn team (you go down, the relationship suffers; you go up, the relationship prospers)
- You communicate upfront when something is bothering you
- You learn each other’s love languages
- You feel safe, heard, and understood
- You can agree to disagree
- You can tolerate each other more than most people do
- You were both probably not who were each expecting in a partner
If the time is right and you feel like your relationship is requiring more work than effort, then fill out the form at the bottom of this page and I’ll be in touch ASAP.