The Uncomfortable Reality of Long-Term Relationships
In the beginning, relationships are awkward. There’s the first date, which is always paired with ample self-consciousness. It’s followed by plenty of doubt, as you wonder if you should text or wait. If you play it right, you eventually have to cope with your embarrassing humanness slipping out, like the first audible queef. If you decide you like each other enough, the first argument is inevitable. Like everything else, it will be weird because you don’t understand each other well, mostly because you’re both still hiding huge parts of who you are. During this tricky preliminary stage, most of us wish the relationship would just hurry along and get to a more comfortable and established place. And although you might get to the point of pooping with the door open, the discomfort of facing your true self and the realities of life are just around the corner.
Below is a list of eight ways long-term relationships are uncomfortable:
You discover that everyone is annoying, even yourself. When you are with someone long enough, you will find a benign little mannerism that bugs the shit out of you. It won’t even make sense, like the way their bag of chips crinkles or the way their ears move when they smile. But while you are busy getting annoyed by your partner, they’re getting annoyed with you, too. So even though it’s fair, it’s still kind of tough to digest. I never thought of myself as annoying before, but now I know the truth. (Don’t feel bad for me- you’re annoying, too.)
You are forced to see parts of yourself that are hard to look at. If you and your partner argue, you might think it’s a good idea to find somebody new. Guess what. You will probably have a lot of the same fights; you’ll just have them with a different person. It’s human nature to want to blame others, but successful relationships require us to examine our faults. I’ve learned so much about myself since I’ve been married. The knowledge has made me grow, but it hasn’t been easy to see myself under harsh lighting. It’s like looking at a bad picture of yourself and thinking, “That’s not really what I look like.”
You realize that you can’t rely on someone else for happiness. Everyone is struggling too hard to meet their needs, never mind yours. We are responsible for living balanced lives, and although relationships are an important part of that, they are merely a part. Relationships reveal our need to become emotionally self-reliant.
They require a special kind of multi-tasking. While you are working on yourself and figuring out how to make yourself happy, you also have to prioritize the happiness of your partner. You have to become both, self-reliant and dependable to your partner. You and your partner will often want and need different things, so compromise and problem-solving are necessary.
Your preconceived notions will be challenged. Growing up, my dad wasn’t much of a family man. He was into his world, which often didn’t go well with the wife and children he had at home. I grew up thinking that all men were dishonest, selfish, and shallow. When I married my husband, I had to learn to trust him and understand that he’s a different kind of person. He taught me that honest men and family-oriented guys do exist. Overcoming past hurts and rerouting destructive thoughts is necessary.
You have to accept things that you might not like. This is difficult because in our dating years, we are told not to settle. In reality, even the most perfect person will have some not-so-hot aspects. My man doesn’t make the bed, his underwear ends up on the floor, and he likes to sleep in on his days off. These aren’t worth fighting over; they just require non-bitter acceptance. Life requires acceptance.
The tide is always changing. There will be many blissful, easy-peasy, in-love periods, followed by many tough, I-want-to-punch-you-in-the-face times. It’s easy to be present for the good times, but can you endure the trying ones? Relationships sometimes make you want to run away, and it takes a certain kind of strength to stay and weather the storms. Walking through the rain in soggy socks is uncomfortable, but if you do it together, you will have someone to blow their hot breath on your cold feet when you make it back home.
Relationships require effort, which is especially hard when all you seem to do is work. You get in your car, fight traffic, deal with demanding bosses and difficult coworkers and come home beat-down to more people who want your attention. Once they are tucked into bed, you want to turn your attention to yourself, and this is understandable. But your relationship cannot go unwatered. It cannot take the backseat in a busy life. Your relationship must be nurtured.
Relationships make you see parts of yourself that you don’t want to own. They require you to love people when they aren’t lovable and to let go of everything you thought you knew. The obstacles they put you through though make you a better person capable of insight and growth as well as tenderness and consideration. You must be the best version of yourself you can be, even when you feel like rolling into a ball and hiding in a hole. The good news is that when you step up every day and embrace the discomfort that comes with enduring relationships, you become a kind of super human.
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This post was written by Amanda Elder exclusively for BonBon Break Media LLC.