Stop Trying So Hard

Sometimes in our relationships, we take things a bit too far without even noticing the effects we’re having on the other person. Here’s how:

“Busy”

– Ex that word from your vocabulary. It’s annoying, and it can sometimes be offensive. When you constantly throw it around as an excuse instead of just saying what you’re doing, your partner will get the sense that he/she isn’t at all important to you; that you only have him/her collecting dust on a shelf like an unemotional object that you may use as you please; that all the effort you put into acquiring her/him was just for show; that by being your boyfriend/girlfriend, he/she is merely holding a meaningless title, which doesn’t make them privy to your ins and outs at all. Now this doesn’t mean you should disclose EVERY detail, down to the fact that you’re tying your shoelaces, but when you start substituting “busy” for something as simple as “Going to meet with XYZ, might take some time”, you start putting up an unnecessary wall.

Then your partner is going to feel like they have a huge hurdle to jump over, which prompts them to try harder to get some attention. It also builds uncertainty. When you’re vague about your actions, it spurs a myriad of scenarios in your partner’s mind. “Busy doing what? Chasing someone else? Going out/staying in with them? Starting a family behind their backs?” etc etc. Of course, to you who knows that that’s not what you’re doing [hopefully], this may seem like a slippery slope fallacy, but put yourself in the shoe of uncertainty and you’ll understand. Especially when a friend comes up and asks your partner’s whereabouts, but you’re clueless as to what to tell them. From the embarrassment comes the heightened feeling that maybe your partner lacks trust in you, and maybe not knowing enough about him/her is reason for suspicion, when that may not even be the case.

– Constant Communication

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Who has signed up for VIP texting/the Best Friend for Free [BFFF] offer by Digicel just to talk to that special someone? Yeah, you know you have. But why? Did you think that was really necessary? What on God’s green earth do you have to talk about so much? Yuh nuh have nutten fi do?

The idea of being able to talk to your partner everyday is nice, but a bit much. Yes girls, you might have the fantasy of having such an effect on the guy that he fawns over his phone daily, debating whether he’s weak for wanting to call, and yes guys, it may be a great ego-booster to know [think] that she can’t go a day without hearing your voice, but how much substance does that contribute to the relationship really?

Think about this – when you were simply Facebook friends/coworkers who only saw each other in the lunchroom, and you probably had sumn to talk about everyday, did you feel a strain that made it absolutely crucial to hear something from that person, or did conversation flow freely?

For some reason, at the start [and maybe throughout] the relationship, there is sometimes this strange urge that makes it an obligation to communicate about every single thing, but really, you don’t have to. This may just be a natural feeling, stemming from you wanting to keep that person interested so you don’t lose them, but maybe it’s better to fight it sometimes. Assess whether what you’re going to Whatsapp next is really relevant. Contrarily, maybe what you have to share [like a video/article] really made an impact on you and you just wanted someone to talk to about it, thinking since your partner is supposed to be the one you share everything with, then why not? But you don’t have to do that. When you keep this up, you continually neglect other friends. Then, if you don’t get an immediate response/at all/ the response is short [and bitter because short], you’ll probably feel lonely/unimportant.

– No Communication

Not sure which is worse, but considering that a complete lack of communication can also cause a lack of connection between 2 people, I’d say this is it. Not maintaining communication will mean that when you finally open his/her contact in your Whatsapp/when you finally meet up in person, you’ll have this awkward, uneasy, I-so-want-to-talk-to-someone-else-or-be-somewhere-else-right-now feeling. And that’s not a good sign. You’ll probably even question how this stranger came to be your girlfriend/boyfriend in the first place. And you won’t even feel like that object on the shelf that was collecting dust all this time. Instead, you’ll feel nothing. Nada. Zilch. Void. When you realize you don’t feel a connection, you’ll feel something after all – guilt. So it’s best to keep some communication going, just for communicating’s sake at least.

– Changing who you are to please someone

can be dangerous. This might be the most uncomfortable aspect of a relationship. For example, if your partner keeps reminding you that you’re too skinny/your belly is too big/there’s that ONE big bump in your face, then the newest feeling you’ll be feeling in the relationship isn’t burning desire, but burning insecurity. Next, you’ll find that just to satisfy his/her desire for the opposite of what you are, you’re already researching and implementing all the quick, and sometimes life-threatening ways of change. Notice too that these are all related to one’s physique. What does that say about them not focusing on your personality?

On the other hand, sometimes some changes are actually good for the both of you. Maybe them pointing out a supposed ‘flaw’, prompting you to make a change, could also help you feel better about yourself in the end. Maybe you were always lazy and they’ve given you a boost to get active. Maybe that big belly was a sign of a serious medical issue which could have claimed your life if you hadn’t acted at all.

But another thing to consider is the manner in which things are said. It’s always a good sign if your partner expresses their concerns out of what seems like genuine worry. That usually means they’d rather you change your ways so they can have you around longer. But if it’s a concern expressed in a snobbish, condescending way, then you have a problem. The phrase “take me as I am” is still relevant. When you’re attached to someone, you’ll realize that for some reason, all those things about her/him that you usually wouldn’t like, you actually do like, and you’ll be surprised that you haven’t even complained yet. But I also think that prodding someone to change is part of trying too hard to have the perfect relationship. Think about it – with your friends, do their hair, pimples, dress styles, weight, etc, really bother you that much?

These are just some things to note if you want to examine whether there’s a strain on your relationship. They’re actually easy to pinpoint yourself – all you have to do is note whether there’s a change in your behaviour as soon as you see or hear your significant other. If your reaction is mostly negative rather than positive, well, you need to do something about that. Talking openly and honestly about it is the best way to go.

A lot of these assumptions are also slippery slope – they don’t have to happen to your relationship, but that all depends on how well you know and relate to your partner, and how to solve the issues you might have. The biggest thing to remember is not to overdo anything, because that can cause the relationship to go stale before time.

*The drawing is one of my originals.

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