I don’t understand relationships. Not even in the least. Basically being in a relationship with someone is about dealing with someone else’s problems because you love them. Something like that, right?
Don’t get me wrong, relationships are wonderful. Being with Max has made me incredibly happy, happier than I’ve ever been. We’ve made all these incredible memories together, some so cheesy I could cry. And actually, I did cry. But that’s a story for another time. Today I want to talk about all the shitty stuff about relationships and communication, and try to figure out how to make that stuff suck less.
Talking is hard. At least talking directly, clearly and honestly is hard. And unfortunately that’s what you need to do with the people you love. In my truthful opinion, it’s what you need to do with everyone, but that’s probably not going to happen. I’ve only ever met one person in my life that has the ability to be absolutely honest with everyone he meets, and I love him for that. Unfortunately, I’m not quite there yet, and I think most of us aren’t.
Listening is just as hard as talking, probably harder. This is definitely something I need to work on, because I find myself constantly being told that I’m interrupting people. Obviously, it’s because I’m not a very good listener and feel like I need to interject even when it’s not my place (or time) to do so.
But listening is such a major key factor in developing good, healthy relationships. So I strongly urge you to find ways to be kinder, both with yourself and with others, and take the time to listen. Tell your brain to shut up for a second, because other people’s feelings matter too.
IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM
Once you’ve got the talking and the listening down to an art, it’s time to identify the problem. But oh dear that’s easier said than done!! Sometimes you think you know what the problem is when really that’s just a ruse. You’re upset and you can’t seem to think clearly, and you assume the first thing that comes to mind is the problem. Yet the real problem hasn’t been discovered.
I have no magic solution on how to figure out what the problem is, but I think that each person needs to find a way to identify the issues they’re having before blowing up and attacking someone else. Sometimes that means being quiet and thinking to yourself. Sometimes that means walking away to be alone. But most of the time it means arguing – err, I mean talking – until the real problem finally comes out.
This is the one thing I’ve really been trying to work on lately – finding solutions! What’s the point of having arguments with someone if you aren’t going to try to find a solution to the problem? Unfortunately, even though you want to find solutions, it doesn’t mean that you will.
Being in a relationship is challenging, and there are going to be many many times when you disagree with one another. I think the most important thing is that despite all of the disagreement, you still respect the other person and their decisions about the situation. You need to be compassionate and understanding, even when – ESPECIALLY WHEN – you don’t understand them.
I decided to start writing this mainly because I want to improve how I treat my partner and how I choose to react to the way that he treats me. I won’t lie, we fight, and I hate it. I wish we didn’t, but we do. Despite that, I still love him more than anything in the world and I want our relationship to grow, flourish and thrive. And that means doing some research, putting in the work, and admitting you’re wrong (sometimes).
Also, relationships are totally about convincing the other people to get a cat.