TL;DR: Like the environment, your relationship is greater than the sum of its parts. When it conflicts with your other values, it’s time to decide whether to compromise or end it.
Remember when I wrote about my partner Phillip’s and my carpooling arrangement? He’d gotten a new job in the same city as my day job, and I was excited to start saving emissions while spending more time with him. I thought it would be a perfect concoction of environmental stewardship and romantic bliss.
Well, this experience became more or less a perfect storm of “Instagram vs real life.” In other words, I imagined a fairy tale and, in my mind, it crashed and burned like a meteor strike in rural America. I grew increasingly controlling, while he became more defiant.
I thought I could single-handedly put out our argumentative fires by transforming the catabolic (destructive) energy between us into anabolic (constructive) energy. (Sorry, I had to throw in some life coaching lingo!) I thought we would get along better that way.
But as I’m reminded time and time again, being in control can often mean releasing control, like Rose releasing Jack in Titanic. I was reminded again to have realistic expectations when it comes to love and relationships, since we’re all imperfect.
Anyway, I lost it when it was my turn to drive us one morning. On the way out of our gated development, we drove by a house with a broken sprinkler that was shooting water several feet high like a miniature geyser, and much of that water was landing on the street. Being a hardcore tree-hugger, I slowed the car and went nuts.
“Should we do something?! Should I ring the person’s doorbell to let them know this is happening?! Should I call someone?!” I watched the wasted water in panic.
“Nope, keep going. Keeeeeep goooooooing,” Phillip said with intense irritation. It was the last thing he wanted to deal with at 7 in the morning.
I was infuriated by his response, and every few minutes I questioned him like a crazy, passionate lady, “Why don’t you care?! WHY DON’T YOU CARE?!”
So, long story short, I complained to my parents a day or two later. Then the almighty powers of age and wisdom that are my mother and father gave me, a relationship coach, some simple yet powerful advice that put me in my place.
“Save your relationship over saving emissions.”
I had to sit with that for a bit. I care deeply about the environment, probably more so than most of my peers, so I had to absorb those words like a crappy, environmentally-unfriendly sponge. In other words, I had to let those words change my heart and mind about the situation. They invited me to weigh my values against one another.
How did it eventually translate for me? Well, like the environment, a rock-solid relationship is greater than the sum of its parts. Phillip and I are incredibly compatible like puzzle pieces, and I’d be insane to throw that away over a carpooling issue.
But it didn’t mean I could slack off in the sustainability department! Thankfully, I drive a Honda Civic (instead of something like a gas-guzzling Hummer), and he drives a Prius. So, while it could be better, it could also be worse.
I could drive a hybrid or an electric car, but I make up for it with other, plastic-free practices. (Feel free time ask me about sustainable/plastic-free living! Someone asked me about eco-friendly bed sheets about a month ago!) Anyway, maybe one day I’ll get that Tesla!
To take this home, we put up some boundaries by ending our carpooling experiment, so now our life looks a little more “Instagrammable” again (a comparison I hate to use, but hopefully you get the point).
If the time is right and you’re not sure if your relationship has long-term potential, then fill out the easy form at the bottom of this page. I’ll get in touch ASAP!
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