Arguments, fights, drama are all assumed to be part of a romantic relationship or marriage.
“Working it out” is considered “the norm”. People sing at the top of their lungs: “Love is a battlefield”. What a fucked up mantra.
Here’s the truth: relationships are not that hard. They’re actually pretty easy. It’s just that most people have NO goddamn clue what they’re actually doing.
And any situation where you have no goddamn clue what you’re doing is gonna be….well, hard.
It’s gonna be pretty “hard” to play a G chord if you’ve never picked up a guitar before and know pop diddly squat about the notes or music theory. But if you took even some basic guitar lessons, you’ll find the G chord to be one of the easiest chords to put your fingers on, pun intended.
So with even some basic knowledge of relationships you can eliminate a lot of the “hard work”.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I figure it’s the perfect time to spread the love to my awesome readers. Of course, I don’t have the time (nor the motivation quite frankly) to dive into all the intricacies of attraction and relationships in this article, but we are gonna hit some important fundamentals.
And look, I’m no relationship expert or one of these “break up coaches” or a freaking “love gurus”. I’m just a lazy dude, so take my words with a grain of salt. Nonetheless I think you’ll learn more here than in school
Because meanwhile in schools and its fucked up education system, you’ll spend zero hours on relationship skills yet an entire semester on learning how to calculate the inside of shapes.
You spend more time in school measuring the area of a freaking triangle than how to hmm...I don’t know, be an actual human being!
Speaking of Triangle, we’ll be covering the details of how a Love Triangle is the key to a happy relationship a bit down in the article.
Anyway, let’s dive into easy, practical, love advice brought to you by a dude who learned to love himself despite how lazy he is.
True love is not in war torn territory. True love is built on peace. However, it does get tricky. Because you cannot seek a partner in order to find this peace.
You need to be at peace with yourself before you can be at peace with others. You need to share love inwards, before you share it outwards.
Love is a diplomatic treaty to be vulnerable to each other and promise not to attack or cause pain. You each understand your true selves and expose it to one another, and focus on understanding rather than control.
Of course, to go as far as to say that a relationship can be completely pain-free is fantasy. That’s just not reality. Every relationship, no matter how good, no matter what stage it’s at, is going to bring some form of pain, some form of suffering.
Having that initial awkward first sex as you learn about the other person physically. Pain.
Having the honeymoon phase wear off and realising instead of being the perfect twin flames, you’re two actual human beings. Pain.
Having to pay bills and still budget in a date night. Pain.
Watching your partner grow old and sickly, relying on more and more meds as they age. Pain.
Breaking up. Pain.
No matter which stage you’re at or where you end up in the relationship, there’s gonna be pain. You basically choose the pain you want to put up with and so does your partner.
That’s not to say you should put up with toxic behavior, because a healthy relationship allows each person to set boundaries. It’s a co-op mission, not a competition, and you should never put someone else on a pedestal by allowing them to be shitty towards you.
It does, however mean, you put up with mistakes made by both yourself and your partner in a way that allows you both to learn and grow from them. Of course some mistakes (such as cheating) are not something that should be put up with ever, but that’s just like my opinion, man.
Sure a mistake might initially be painful, but at the end of the day, all mistakes are “meh”. You live and learn.
While no relationship can be “problem free”, it can certainly be “worry-free”. It’s all a mindset change. It’s not so much about creating a smooth sailing ride, it’s about handling the waves with a bit of finesse by staying relaxed and going with the flow.
Every relationship is going to come with its own set of problems, it’s own set of waves. There’s no such thing as the “perfect” relationship. Like anything in life, any time you chase for perfection, you wind up fucked (and not the pleasant kind of fucked either). Waves are gonna crash and you just have to handle it, calmly and steadily.
If you want a relationship to last, you must love the person for who they are, flaws and all, not who you want them to become, not how they make you feel, but who they *are*. And in order to do so, you must in turn love who *you* are as well.
You will see your own strengths and weaknesses as well as your partners and come to realize you’re just two human beings struggling to find their way in this sea of life.
See it’s not about finding someone who brings no struggle, it’s about finding someone worth struggling with. After all, we’re all flawed human beings.
It’s not about avoiding pain completely, It’s about how you handle the pain.
Do you let it tear you down? Do you project it and use it to tear down your partner? Or do you use pain as a motivator to move forward and evolve?
Can you ride the waves or will you wipe out?
You’re going to fight, no matter what, the question is: what are you fighting for?
Are you fighting to protect the relationship or are you fighting to protect yourself?
You must fight the good fight.
You must be responsible for your own emotions. You must fight the urge to lash out or act demanding. You must wrestle down the tendency to storm off.
You must embrace your laziness. Relax. And listen.
Listen to your own emotions without reacting to them.
Listen to your partner's emotions without reacting to them.
Just listen, learn, and slowly and gracefully respond.
It is instantly acting on emotions, giving into the self righteous Ego, that is the cause of most arguments between couples.
Often times a verbal or physical argument is the manifestation of an inner battle that couldn’t be resolved in one’s own mind.
Procrastinate. Take time to think and examine how you feel. Respond with poise and grace.
By not taking the time to Procrastinate with Purpose and settle down into your own thoughts and feelings and instead unleashing them vigorously, you are placing the responsibility of your emotions on your partner.
The minute you place the responsibility of your emotions on to your partner is the minute you turn the relationship from a peaceful treaty into a declaration of war.
The minute you blame them for how you are feeling or take any action to release your negativity (yelling, pouting, or even raising fists) is the minute you begin to prove you neither love them or yourself...at least in that moment you’re not showing love.
But if that happens enough times, the relationship will surely come to an end because there’s only so many times you can fail to show love in times of crisis that your partner starts to believe you truly don’t. There be only so many times yer ship can fall to the waves before it’s clear she ain’t seaworthy, yarr!
Now that’s not to say you shouldn’t express your negative feelings or disagreements at all. Bottling up is just as unhealthy as unleashing immediately.
What it means is you share your concern in an honest and gentle way. You open your True Self, rather than remain closed off in your Ego. Honest expression of yourself is the key to building a happy and healthy relationship,but that’s only half the recipe. The other half is your partner willing to give the same honest expression.
Integrity builds bonds.
You should never sacrifice your own self worth or dignity, nor should you expect your partner to. Part of being vulnerable, part of opening yourself up to your partner, part of sharing love is actually being honest, practicing your integrity. You must take off the veil and show who you really are.
If you are agreeing to make sacrifices that you aren’t happy about, then you are sacrificing nothing but your own dignity and integrity (and likely the entire relationship later down the line).If you are allowing intolerable behaviors to be tolerated, then you are not allowing your true inner self to shine through.
It is always better to tolerate your own exposure, your own vulnerability, then it is to tolerate a toxic behavior.
Being a “good” partner is much less attractive than being an honest one. A good partner typically is hiding from their true self.
And if you aren’t revealing your true self, then you aren’t offering true love. Instead, you’re offering “people pleasing” towards one person in exchange for approval.
Love is not an exchange or expectation to receive but a gift. You give yourself, fully, so the other person can give themselves and you can both create a relationship together in harmony. Of course, disagreeing or setting boundaries does not mean scrutinizing your partner. It simply means stating how you honestly feel in a calm yet confident way,
Now with that said, let’s dig in deeper into what I call the Love Triangle of a happy healthy relationship.
A strong healthy, and happy relationship has essentially 3 separate relationships.
1. The relationship you have with yourself
First and foremost is loving yourself. If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to? You must feel cozy in your own bed before you sleep in someone else’s. Be comfortable with being alone. Hunker down in solitude. Embrace your own presence with grace and appreciation before you go being appreciated by another. Give yourself the time and care you would offer to someone you truly love. Forgive your mistakes. Celebrate your successes. Empathize with your own flaws and compliment your strengths. Listen to your thoughts and encourage your dreams.
2. The relationship your partner has with him/herself
Your partner should be equally secure in him/herself as you are in yourself. If they don’t love themselves, then they can never really love you (or anyone else for that matter). A person who doesn’t love themself will either become overly dependent, needing you to fill the emptiness they feel inside or overly critical, pointing out your flaws in order to hide their own. On the flip side, a self-loved partner will give instead of take and compliment instead of criticize, build instead of destroy, and ultimate love instead of need.
3. The relationship you both share.
You don’t complete each other. You are complete as individuals. Therefore, you are able to come together as two separate fulfilled people and create a mutual goal called a “relationship”.
This establishes the mindset of “Us versus the Problem” because no longer are you two Egos fighting to protect themselves, but instead are two True Selves fighting to protect a bond together. It also allows you to focus on creating lasting memories and stories.
A “break up” happens when one person stops investing in one of those three relationships and it stops growing.
If you stop loving yourself or building self-development then your partner will lose attraction for you, and attraction is the baseline for love. You can’t have love without attraction, just like you can’t have pizza without the dough, no matter how much sauce, cheese, and pepperoni you have.
If your partner stops loving themselves or stops evolving, then you’ll likely lose attraction for them or they’ll simply stop loving you (since they don’t love themselves).
And if either one of you stops putting in the time and effort to make the relationship a worthwhile experience, then that will lead to boredom and resentment.
You simply need to ask: Which of the Three parts of the Love Triangle do we need to put more effort in?
Which relationship do we need to invest in?
Minimize effort. Maximize results.
Are you spending so much of your time taking out your significant other on dates and spending time with them that you’ve neglected your own friends in hobbies? Invest in the relationship with yourself,
Are you cancelling dates to hang out with friends or working overtime and coming home too tired to give attention to your partner? Invest in the relationship you both share.
Now obviously only two of these relationships are in your control, well, more like one and a half. You are completely in control of the relationship with yourself and half in control of the one shared with your partner. Your partner is in control of their own relationship with themselves. The best you can do is encourage them to get back on track, if they are failing to invest in themselves, but you’re not there to fix them. You’re a tour guide gently ushering them in the right direction, not a work horse carrying all their weight. Lead by example rather than trying to force them to move.
One more note on Love Triangles before we wrap up. In recent years, there has been a sort of rise in popularity of poly-sexuality.
I fully support any sort of expression of sexuality and poly is no different. Quite frankly, I agree with a lot of their criticisms of monogamy.
For one, monogamy, in the traditional sense, forces people to behave in such a way where they become reliant on one person for their needs -- sexually, mentally, emotionally.
It is indeed limiting. One could argue it’s even a form of ownership, especially when people express things like “s/he’s mine!”
I do find, however, that ownership is only true if the two people are stuck in their Egos rather than openly expressing their true self. The Ego is a greedy bastard and takes pride in owning things -- it objectifies the person as something to obtain: an object of sex, an object of love, an object of feeling good.
Poly says “Hey you’re free as a person. You’re a rich and full human being. I don’t own your mind, body, heart, or spirit”. I like that attitude. Poly also promotes the one thing that makes any relationship work: open honesty.
However, monogamy gets one thing right in its approach to relationships: depth.
Like anything in life, I believe that extreme sides of the spectrum are almost always wrong, and this case is no different. So in summary, to put a balance on this equation:
What polygamy gets right:
You shouldn’t rely on any ONE person for your emotional stability, sense of meaning, or happiness
What monogamy gets right:
You can’t find emotional *depth* by spreading your love across a wide range of people.
Basically, the more width you have, the less depth you have and vice versa.
While I believe love is abundant, depth comes from connection and connection takes time, and time is certainly limited.
In other words, there is simply not enough time to build a connection as deep as possible by spreading the love to as many people as possible.
No matter how many partners you choose though, or who you choose, you always have to choose yourself first.
Many people make the mistake of using a relationship as a crutch to help themselves stand up, but a strong healthy relationship is two (or more) people that can stand on their own two feet and walk together, slow n’ steady.
People try to put in all this tireless effort to try and “fix” a person. Look, a person can only fix themselves. It’s not your job to fix them and doing so will largely lead to disappointment. Besides, if one person is broken in the relationship then the relationship itself is broken. If one slice of bread in a sandwich is moldy, then the whole sandwich is moldy.
Don’t eat a moldy sandwich. Don’t be in a relationship just to be in one. Find something meaningful and that starts with finding yourself.
Happy Valentine’s Day, fellow ProcrastiN8r.
Spread the love by sharing this with your partner(s)! :D